Democrats, Republicans pitch new budget proposals - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Democrats, Republicans pitch new budget proposals

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(WFSB file) (WFSB file)

On Friday, Democrats and Republicans pitched new proposals for next year's state budget.

The legislature's Appropriations Committee met Friday to consider the Democratic budget, which essentially updates the second year of the two-year, bipartisan budget lawmakers approved last fall.

Lawmakers missed a committee deadline a couple weeks ago, but now they're trying to come up with a plan before the regular session ends on May 9t  Friday's vote was to come up with a General Assembly proposal. 

"A balanced responsible budget that avoids the rainy day fund is the best option," said Governor Dannel Malloy. 

The proposals come as tax collections are coming in ahead of projections and the news that the state's rainy-day fund could grow to $1.2 billion.

"Equalizing education cost sharing, grants, so that towns and municipalities have a clear structure on where they stand,” said Democratic Senator Cathy Osten.

The Democrats proposal included an additional $216 million in spending, about $146 million more than Gov. Dannel Malloy proposed in February, with focus points on restoring cuts to state aid to communities and offering free college tuition to low-income students.

"So we also have in the budget an additional $5 million to begin the start of free tuition to people who qualify,” said Democratic State Rep. Toni Walker.

"The free tuition is a good idea. We just can't afford it at this time,” said Republican Senator, and Senate President, Len Fasano.

Republicans fired back with their own proposal citing next years projected $321 million deficit and saying the Democrats’ proposal would require tax increases.

The Republicans had a $20.4 billion proposal. 

Malloy criticized the Republican's budget saying it under funds critical programs. 

"Now, what they're trying to do is steal money and lessen their obligation to fund this long-term obligation," Malloy said. 

"We have to figure out where our money can be spent the most effectively and efficiently,” said Republican State Rep. Themis Klarides.

The final agreement on the revised budget must be approved by the General Assembly and Malloy.

Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.