Budget deal expected on Senate floor Wednesday

- FILE - Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford (WTNH / Mark Davis)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Governor still has not seen the detail of this deal but it is expected to come up on the State Senate floor late Wednesday afternoon or early evening then move to the House on Thursday.  News 8 has confirmed that legislative senior staff has briefed the Governor’s senior staff on the plan.

When the state’s top legislative leaders from both parties emerged from their final negotiating session early Tuesday morning, the one thing that did not emerge was the plan to eliminate the car tax. City and town leaders had made the point that the abrupt ending of the car tax next year would leave them scrambling to generate the $700 to $800 million the car tax raises for municipal budgets. So the idea is dead in this budget, but leaders would like to revisit the idea next year.

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There is no increase in the Sales Tax but many low income residents will lose the Income Tax Credit and the Property Tax Credit will also affect far fewer people.  The 45 cent a pack hike in the cigarette tax remains. That will bring the cigarette tax here to $4.35, the same as New York.

Teachers will face a one percent hike in their pension contributions and education aid to the cities and towns will be almost as much as last year with the lowest performing districts like New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport getting the most.

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The state hospital tax goes from 6 to 8 percent in exchange for a new Medicaid formula from the feds that should result on the plus side for the hospitals.  The city of Hartford gets a bailout to avoid bankruptcy, but will be required to refinance much of its debt.

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Republicans got something they have been fighting for for years; a cap on future spending and borrowing.  “It’s a budget that isn’t just to get past the two years. It is a budget that has sound policy,” said Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven) the Republican Senate President Pro tem.

Getting it done this week was imperative because the harsh cuts of the Governor’s Executive Order begin in November.  “We had to make sure that those draconian cuts did not continue to go through and hurt our cities and towns,” said House Republican Leader Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby).   Senate Majority Leader Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) adding, “We have a product, with final caucus approval, we will vote on over the next few days that I think will make the people of the State of Connecticut proud.”

Related Content: Legislative leaders push for votes on budget plan this week, Malloy still out of the loop

We don’t know details of all the spending cuts but we do know this plan cuts UConn by about 120 million over two years which is a little more than they said they could handle.  The Roberta Willis Scholarship funding has been restored.

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