HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The top leaders in the General Assembly are feverishly working to put the finishing touches on their budget plan aiming for votes in the House and Senate later this week. The Governor remains out of the loop on this plan as the leaders continue seek a veto-proof majority of Democratic and Republican lawmakers to support the plan.
The plan is for the State Senate to take up the budget plan in formal session to debate and vote on Wednesday. Both Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats met in closed caucus this afternoon to discuss the details. The plan would then move to the House of Representatives on Thursday.
Rank and file on both sides say they don’t like a lot of what they have to swallow in this, but feel they have no choice.
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One of the things they don’t like is that the plan takes some of the money that is paid by you in a fee on your monthly utility bills to encourage renewable projects like solar.
“The amounts that are currently being proposed to be cut from the regional greenhouse gas initiative, the energy efficiency fund, and the green bank are going to put our clean economy at risk,” said Atty. Claire Coleman of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment.
And the Governor contends by diverting part of this clean energy fee from your utility bill and using it for the general fund amounts to imposing a new tax on Connecticut residents, saying, “It’s a tax that’s being had under the….a bait and switch belief.”
Legislative leaders say tough choices have to be made so that cuts to the disabled and others won’t be too deep. City and town leaders are hopeful that if this final deal passes, their municipal and school funding checks will flow quickly but there is mounting opposition to the plan to abruptly end the car tax next year.
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The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities notes that 20% of the residents in a city like New Haven do not own a car and they would likely see their rents go up when the landlord has to pay more in Property Taxes.
C.C.M.’s Joe DeLong stated, “Some of the people they’re trying to help, I think are the people that might end up getting punished the most in this proposal.”
Several sources, including Democratic Senate President Pro tem Martin Looney, have told News 8 that the car tax plan is undergoing change and that a total elimination in one year now seems unlikely and that it might be phased in, but some are still pushing to end it next year.