The 2021 legislative session featured many wins and losses for Connecticut residents. It’s also one that’s headed into extra innings.
“Preventing any type of tax from being imposed on the state of Connecticut - the residents," said House Leader Vincent Candelora. He believes that was the biggest win for his caucus this year.
Lawmakers had billions of dollars in a rainy day fund and nearly $3 billion in American Rescue Act Funds from the federal government to spend. That federal funding will dry up in two years.
“That’s also one of the reasons why I think it was important to pass the gaming bill this year that will have a new future revenue stream, also the cannabis bill will have a revenue stream going into the future,” Senate President Martin Looney said.
The cannabis bill didn’t get a vote before the legislature adjourned Wednesday, but it will be part of the special session agenda.
Sports betting and online gaming was something the state has been trying to do for nearly a decade and got accomplished this session.
Democratic lawmakers touted the session as productive.
“I’d say more than productive,” Looney said. “I think this has been an extraordinary session given the fact that we were sworn in on Jan. 6 outdoors in the cold. We didn’t know when there might be another spike in the pandemic or whether we’d have to shut down if someone got sick.”
Pedestrians were also winners this year. A bill that removes a requirement for pedestrians to step into the road in order to signal their intent to use a crosswalk is headed to the governor's desk.
However, there were also some losses.
Environmentalists who were hoping to cap carbon emissions saw their legislation die in the last few days of session.
But truckers and by extension, consumers, were not as lucky.
A piece of legislation will levy a mileage tax on heavy trucks driving on Connecticut's roads.
“Just absolute disgust. That they’re calling it a fee, a user fee. It’s not a user fee, it’s a tax on every single person in this state,” Kurt Lindeland of Connecticut Mulch Distributors said.
But Gov. Ned Lamont believes the big trucks do the most damage to the roads and should have to pay.
“You just can’t put off paying your bills and making investments you got to do,” Lamont said.
Lamont said it won’t be passed along to consumers if the market doesn’t allow for that to happen. He says he’s not losing sleep over it. He is expected to sign the bill.