House Approves Two-Year, $41.3B Budget, By 126-23 VoteOctober 26, 2017
State legislators have rallied behind the budget, which raises taxes and fees, makes small cuts to municipal aid, and introduces structural changes.
Today, Connecticut’s House of Representatives approved a state budget with a veto-proof majority, essentially ending the long-standing budget impasse.
Hailed by state leaders, the bipartisan budget deal has required significant concessions, with the Republicans playing a leading role in the negotiations:
Lawmakers have grappled with a multi-billion-dollar deficit and a practically even divide between Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate. But leaders, acknowledging that everyone has something to dislike in a compromise budget, heaped praise for the bipartisan product that emerged earlier in the week and easily passed the Senate.
The budget raises spending 3.8 percent in the first year, which started July 1, 2017, and then 5.1 percent in the second. The state’s new, two-year budget tops out at $41 billion.
The budget comes after Sacred Heart University (SHU) released a poll earlier this week highlighting some of Connecticut residents’ top concerns, including the rising cost of living and a crushingly-high tax burden.
The budget is almost four months late, thanks in part to the veto Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) issued on the GOP budget last month.
- There is less relief from the car tax in the new budget than previously discussed.
- The budget includes a $3.5 billion bond package.
- The budget would bail Hartford out of imminent bankruptcy, to the tune of $40 million, funnel millions to the XL Center, and provide state aid for crumbling foundations.
Along with more spending are various tax increases. State Sen. Len Suzio (R-Meriden), who was one of three senators to vote no on the budget, cited those tax hikes, saying he counted “17 tax increases” ranging from increasing the cigarette tax to a 25-cent fee on ridesharing.
The single-largest tax hike in the budget is the hospital tax, a provision included in the budget aimed to leverage increased federal Medicaid reimbursements. While the new budget ends the stalemate at the Capitol, a few state leaders have voiced frustration that the bipartisan budget raises taxes and fees for yet another year in the state.
Malloy was excluded from the budget negotiations but didn’t hesitate to hold several press conferences which blasted the budget outline.
The nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) released a “fiscal note” that shows the new budget narrowly puts the state in the “black” and closes the projected deficits of around $3.5 billion over the next two fiscal years.
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