Connecticut Lawmakers Reach Tentative Budget Deal

Gov. Malloy said the deal "will help Connecticut now and in the long-run."

Connecticut legislators have reached a tentative two-year budget deal with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Malloy said the deal "will help Connecticut now and in the long-run" and fund his transportation aggenda, marking the state's largest investment ever in transportation.

“Working with House and Senate leaders, we were able to come to this historic agreement where we fund transportation for nearly a decade and provide car tax and property tax relief,” Malloy said in a statement. “I want to thank our partners in the General Assembly for their hard work and commitment on these important issues.”

The tentative $40 billion budget deal reached early Sunday will raise corporate taxes and personal income tax on the wealthy, and will legalize keno gambling, the Harford Courant reported.

“With the transportation component to the agreement, this will truly be a historic budget. We’re able to make the biggest investment in transportation ever - and we’re able to achieve that without burdening the middle class," Malloy said. "When I took office, we had few shovel-ready projects, and our failure to invest over the decades has artificially held back our economy. However, the smart decisions we make in this agreement now will deliver a brighter future for Connecticut in the long-run. We shouldn’t stand for 100-year-old bridges and 42 hours per year in traffic on average for every man, woman, and child. Connecticut deserves better – and that’s just what this budget delivers. This is truly historic.”

The budget will devote billions of dollars to transportation by taking a half-cent off the 6.35 percent sales tax to help fund transportation goals like modernizing the state's rail system and rebuilding roads, according to Malloy's office.

“Governor Malloy’s transportation plan will modernize Connecticut, attract new residents and a new workforce, and ensure our companies can compete in a global marketplace. It is key to building and sustaining a thriving economy,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman (D) said in a statement. “I commend the Governor, legislative leadership, and the General Assembly for prioritizing transportation investment and positioning Connecticut for a strong future.”

Some key transportation projects include fixing Waterbury's "Mixmaster" and the Interstate I-84 "Viaduct", finish the Hartford rail line from New Haven to Springfield, railway upgrades in New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury to increase service and bike- and pedestrian-friendly upgrades statewide.

The budget also includes a $2.8 billion increase in infrastructure for five years and an estimated $10 billion will be used on transportation over the next decade in the budget, capital spending plans and federal funds, according to Malloy's office. The budget includes the addition of 161 new state Department of Transportation positions.

“The transportation plan is closely connected to our commitment to job creation and economic development,” Senate President Martin M. Looney said in a statement. “It is essential that we find a reliable revenue stream to fund this initiative over a period of years.”

Business lobbyists weren't happy with the tax on corporations and say it will set the state backward.

A vote on the fiscal package is expected Monday after a committee meets to adopt the revenue estimates from multiple tax increases.

"This transportation plan is an investment in the future of Connecticut's economy," Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey said in a statement. By investing in transportation projects, like the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail line, roads, bridges, and ports, we are encouraging smart growth and bringing sustainable jobs home to Connecticut.”

Legislators will vote on the budget on Monday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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