Following are highlights of the $19.7 billion budget bill and related legislation up for debate in the Connecticut Senate on Thursday. Senators are meeting in special session. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Friday on the same legislation.
— The $19.7 billion budget is a revised version of the second year of a two-year $40 billion budget passed by the General Assembly last year. It reduces spending in the General Fund, the state's main account, by $821 million.
— Baby diapers and feminine hygiene products will be exempt from state sales taxes as of July 1, 2018.
— The revised budget, the result of negotiations between legislative Democrats and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, marks the first time since 1973 that spending levels have been decreased from the previous year.
— State grants to private, nonprofit agencies that provide mental health and addiction services are reduced by $8.7 million.
— State funding to hospitals across the state is reduced by approximately $43 million, a figure that ultimately results in a $150 million cut because the hospitals won't receive federal reimbursement.
— A new subsidiary of Connecticut Innovations, the state's quasi-public venture capital agency, is created. CTNext will help entrepreneurs, start-up and growth-stage businesses incorporated for no more than 10 years with mentoring, technical training and other services. CTNext will create and maintain a website that advertises Connecticut start-up businesses seeking crowdfunding or investments from angel investors.
— The maximum burial expense the Department of Social Services will pay for certain state welfare clients will decrease from $1,400 to $1,200.
— Pensions for nonunion state employees will be capped at $125,000 for anyone initially hired on or after July 1, 2016. Nonunion workers will also pay higher medical copays.
— A scheduled 3 percent increase in salaries for judges and family support magistrates and per diem rates for family support referees and judge trial referees is delayed from July 1, 2016 to July 1, 2017.
— The General Assembly's six legislative commissions that study issues relating to women, children, the elderly and several minority groups are eliminated. They will be replaced with two consolidated organizations: the Commission on Women, Children and the Elderly and the Commission on Equity and Opportunity.
—The Department of Transportation permit fee for overweight vehicles, including trucks and trailers, will increase on July 1. A single trip permit will climb from $23 to $30.
— Sales taxes on non-metered parking at seasonal lots with 30 or more spaces, including state and municipal parks, will be eliminated when the bill is signed into law.
— Events at the Dunkin' Donuts Park, the new minor league baseball stadium in Hartford, and at the New Britain Stadium, will be exempted from the 10 percent admissions tax. Municipalities also will be allowed to impose a surcharge on admission charges.
Source: Connecticut General Assembly, Office of Fiscal Analysis