HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– State lawmakers are meeting Thursday, many of them hearing details of a new state budget for the first time.
Top lawmakers from both parties met with the governor Wednesday. Thursday, the rest of the members will hear about the budget plan crafted by the leadership. They have a week to think about it before they have to vote.
That up or down vote on the budget is now scheduled for one week from today, June 29th. The fiscal year ends at midnight on June 30th. In previous years, democrats could have pushed through a plan without the republicans, but democrats have a much smaller majority in the house now, and the state senate is a tie, so the thinking is, this will have to be a bipartisan effort.
Leaders of both parties said Wednesday’s meeting was the best they’ve had. They sound optimistic, but there are tough decisions to make. They have to solve a roughly $5 billion deficit in this two-year budget. If they don’t get that done by the deadline of July first, Governor Dannel Malloy says he will run the state month to month by simply cutting 17% from every department. There is one exception…he will not slash state parks and beaches right away.
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“They will be open at least the early part of July. Revenue; parking revenue, the reservations, all of that covers the seasonal costs,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy, (D) Connecticut.
That’s one detail of the governor’s contingency plan. As for the budget deal leaders are presenting to the rank and file Thursday, we know virtually nothing. The one thing we know is that there had been a plan to lower the state cap on much property tax cities and towns can collect on cars and other vehicles. It’s 37 mills now, it was supposed to go down to 32. That tax cut is no longer going to happen. That mostly affects larger cities with higher mill rates.
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So again, legislative leaders have a plan. Rank and file will hear that plan, with a vote on the state budget scheduled one week from Thursday.