September 14, 2017

Lawmakers align for possible budget vote today

PHOTO | HBJ File
PHOTO | HBJ File
The State Capitol in Hartford.

After weeks of inaction, legislators could address Democratic and Republican budget proposals today, though the schedule extends into early evening.

The Connecticut General Assembly's calendar for the day includes a 10 a.m. special session in the House of Representatives, followed by an 11 a.m. meeting of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. The state Senate is poised to meet at 6 p.m., according to the state's online legislative calendar.

As noontime approached, the House still hadn't convened and any possible action looked like it would extend late into the night, spokespersons for the governor and lawmakers said.

Now in its third month without a state spending plan, Democrats and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy have been working down to the wire in recent days to finalize a budget proposal, while Republicans revealed a revised plan earlier this week.

Malloy's plan includes a major increase in the state's hospital tax to leverage more federal Medicaid dollars for Connecticut. He's also proposed raising cigarette and real estate conveyance tax rates and would also impose a modest income tax hike on middle-income and working-poor households by reducing tax credits.

A new proposal from Malloy could restructure skyrocketing contributions to the teachers' pension program — potentially inflating and then shifting billions of dollars in expenses onto a future generation.

For their part, Republicans have said once the Democrats' plan comes to a vote, they would offer their own plan in the form of an amendment. The GOP plan includes a stronger cap on borrowing, required votes on union contracts, and changes to pension and benefit costs at the end of the current union contract.

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association on Wednesday supported the Republican plan.

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