Republican budget passes state Senate with help from three Democrats

Republican budget passes state Senate with help from three Democrats

The House began discussing the budget at 9 p.m.

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, said that he asked two of the three if they'd made up their minds shortly before the Senate convened, and was told his colleagues were going to wait and decide after the debate finished.

The Republican-backed $40.7 billion two-year plan, which includes no tax hikes and large spending cuts, passed the upper chamber Friday afternoon on a 21-15 vote.

Three moderate Democratic senators then announced they would not be voting for their party's version of the state budget, which contributed to a shift in majority support over to the GOP.

Following debate, Sen. Paul Doyle conceded, "People won't be happy with me but I think it was the best decision for the state of CT". "It sounds naive, but that's the bottom line". Speaking on the Senate floor, Doyle said he had to do what he thought was right. It now heads to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to fail.

CT lawmakers went home early Friday without approving a two-year, $41 billion budget that would have created new taxes and fees but wouldn't have included increases in the sales or income taxes.

"We can't just keep churning out defective short term budgets", she said.

The GOP plan relies heavily on changes in state employee pensions after the current state union deal ends in 2027. L. Scott Frantz of Greenwich, the committee's Senate Republican co-chair, who said the proposed increases would undercut already sluggish job growth in the state. The Office of Broadband, which is part of the Office of Consumer Counsel, would be eliminated.

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The governor sharply criticized the Republican plan. "It relies on too many unrealistic savings, it contains huge cuts to higher education, and it would violate existing state contracts with our employees, resulting in costly legal battles for years to come".

The budget that emerged from the Senate includes $20 million in annual bonding and a $2.7 million payment from the banking fund that would finance a new program for crumbling foundations.

In a surprise move, the Connecticut General Assembly has voted in favor a Republican budget proposal. Lawmakers expressed a desire to get a budget in place by October 1 to avoid municipal aid cuts under the budget.

State House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said afterward that there needs to be bipartisanship in trying to craft.

The plan before the legislature Thursday included a new tax on cellphones, reduced credits on the state income tax and higher tobacco taxes, officials said.

Paul Doyle, D-Wethersfield, Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, and Joan Hartley, D-Waterbury, all said the Democrats' $41.4-billion budget would have been bad for the state at a time when its economy continues to struggle.

Since July 1, state operations have been funded by an executive order signed by Mr. Malloy that has slashed funding for cities and towns across CT.

Larson noted that should the House adopt the package, and Malloy veto it, it would force the state to be run under the governor's executive order that brings massive municipal cuts.

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