Governor Signs Budget After Late Changes, Month of Negotiations

Following a late-night Special Session that eventually produced a final budget and implementer bills to support it, Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the budget in his office with top Democrats.

Malloy admitted that he had been more quiet than his usual self over the past few weeks as the details of the two-year spending plan were hammered out.

"It was a good budget but we could have made it better on the legislative side as they came to grips with changes ultimately we could agree on," he said.

In the end, the General Assembly approved some corporate tax increases that won't go into effect for a year, as well as increased taxes for the wealthy and several other fees that add up to more than one billion in new revenues for the state.

State Sen. Minority Leader Len Fasano, a Republican from North Haven, issued the following statement Tuesday after Malloy signed the budget:

"Gov. Malloy told us there would be no tax hikes, but what did he just do? He just signed the second largest tax hike in state history into law. Why did he go back on his word? Why did he break his campaign promise? Why won’t he just admit that he broke his pledge to the people? I hope that a year from now, when Connecticut will without a doubt be facing another deficit, the governor will have the courage to own up to the fact that this budget did nothing to change the structure of how our state taxes and spends."

Republicans have been critical of the budget process since the start as they were shut out of budget negotiations. They contend, along with non-partisan analysts, that the budget will be out of balance by more than a billion dollars in two years.

State Rep. Brendan Sharkey, a Democrat from Hamden who serves as speaker of the Connecticut House, said he's not sure the projections are accurate, referring to them as "conjecture."

Sharkey instead focused on some of the partisan politics that he said didn't contribute to the debate of how to improve the budget.

"It’s very frustrating to see the Republicans in this state who represent 40 percent of the residents in this state act so irresponsibly this month," he said. "They are trying to score political points without any regard for what it was doing to our economy and to the impact that had on both within the state and out the state. That is something that is very frustrating that Republicans are going to have to answer for over the coming months and years."

Malloy also focused on what he viewed as victories contained in the budget like a half percentage point of the sales tax devoted to transportation investments.

"It’s great on transportation. It’s great on property tax reforms. People will actually see property tax reductions. There will actually be more people seeing tax reductions than will see tax increases very substantially," the governor said.

On property taxes, the new budget caps local mill rates at just more than 29 mills starting in 2016 which will lead to reduced taxes to more than 54 percent of Connecticut taxpayers according to nonpartisan analysts.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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