Three Democrats in the State Senate and then five in the State House crossed the aisle to pass a Republican budget early Saturday morning that Governor Dan Malloy says he’ll veto which will force another round of discussions to approve a spending plan tardy since July 1.
Bridgeport State Rep. Steve Stafstrom explains why he voted against the GOP plan on his Facebook page:
I will be voting “NO” on the Republican Budget tonight. Here are just a few reasons why this budget is very, very bad for the people of Bridgeport:
— It causes a car TAX HIKE for Bridgeport residents (from 37 mills to 54 mills);
— Repeal of the MRSA program also means no future regional sales tax diversion funding to offset local property taxes;
— It CUTs education funding to Bridgeport by over $7M, yet gives Greenwich $1M more;
— City side funding is cut, whereas under the Dem’s plan it was set to increase;
— It imposes a 10% state admissions tax for ticket sales to events at Webster Arena and Harbor Yard. This will not help the entertainment venues thrive and bring folks into Downtown;
— It triples the cut to the earned income tax credit, hurting the working poor;
— Many, many, many of the social service, workforce development and youth services programs our residents rely on are decimated;
— The State Colleges and our local Independent Colleges (FU, SHU, UB) sustain massive cuts that will result in huge tuition increases and a reduction of access for less affluent students;
— Undercuts the efforts to encourage/force regional collaboration and sharing of services that is proposed in the Dem budget.
What’s in the budget?
See report here from Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie:
The Republican budget accepted the hospital tax increase that hospital executives approved as part of a deal with Democratic lawmakers and the governor. This part of the agreement fell into place because it is structured to allow for more federal reimbursements for the hospitals. The Republican plan also assumes the $1.57 billion in savings from the extension of the labor agreement.
… The Republican budget cuts about $45 million per year from the state’s annual grant for the University of Connecticut, and $75 million in the first year and $125 million in the second year from the grant for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities.
What not in the budget? The $40 million anticipated by the City of Hartford to avert bankruptcy. Also not in the GOP budget is money for the continuation of the state’s Citizens Election Program of publicly financed campaigns.
Among other issues raised by the Democrats early Saturday, the Republican budget would also eliminate the Citizens Election Program (CEP) while increasing the amount of money corporations could contribute to election campaigns. The CEP, which was passed with Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s approval following her predecessor Gov. John G. Rowland’’ corruption conviction, has been credited with creating a more even playing field for candidates to run for public office.
CT Mirror reporter Keith Phaneuf has this report:
Republicans said their two-year, $40.68 billion budget, holds the line in spending, which makes it an attractive template on which to build a bipartisan compromise budget.
It establishes strong caps on appropriations and borrowing, Republicans said, while sparing communities from major cuts in state aid and from the governor’s proposal to shift $280 million in teacher pension costs onto local budgets.
On paper, General Fund spending would increase 3.5 percent in the first year and another 0.6 percent in the second, despite surging retirement benefit and debt costs fixed by contract.