Bedtime Budget Deal

A $1.2 billion budget plan has sailed through the House and, by early Thursday morning, the Senate, too.  The unanimous House vote (143-0) came down around 11 p.m. Wednesday after a long day of negotiating. 

"At least for a few days it's one big happy family," said Rep. John Geragosian, a Democrat from New Britain.

The final House version of the plan saves the Lifestar Helicopter Program from any cuts and restores money for local bridge projects and special education.

It also expands the bottle bill to include water bottles.   As a result, a case of bottled water will increase about $1.20.

The plan reduces expenditures by nearly $74 million.  It also relies on $281 million from the rainy day fund and $373 million from the federal economic stimulus package to cover the deficit.

Both political parties say it is a plan they can agree on:  "It’s a step in the right direction. As I said to the speaker, people aren’t tolerating partisanship and grandstanding. We have to find some common ground," said House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero.

The plan does not raise taxes or fees and also changes the ConnPace program. That change means $1,200 back in the pockets of 35,000 Connecticut seniors.

Next, the plan is headed for the Governor’s desk where she is expected to sign it.

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