Senate gives final approval to state budget
Senate voted to approve the two-year, $51.1 billion state budget agreement.
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Lawmakers in the state Senate approved a budget Tuesday evening.
The House approved the budget Tuesday morning.
The two-year $51.1 billion deal now heads to Lamont’s desk, where he intends to sign it.
The budget included the largest income tax cut for working and middle-class individuals and families in Connecticut history. Sixty percent of Connecticut taxpayers will pay less in taxes.
The budget also featured significant increases in funding for kindergarten through 12th grade and childcare programs, thousands of new housing units, and support for nonprofit providers.
More than $240 million would be invested in public school education, with a focus on increasing staff and retaining current employees.
Some folks will make out better than others when it comes to the approved budget.
The business community wanted more, but reduced taxes will help make Connecticut more attractive and competitive with other states. Connecticut has 100,000 jobs to fill.
Non-profit organizations would receive a 2.5 percent increase in total funding, and group home workers would get a 4.5 percent pay raise according to the agreement.
Group home workers have been striking up at the capitol building for a wage of at least $25 an hour, and the approved budget fell short of that.
“We get it, we understand that part of our job is everybody says you didn’t give us what we wanted, but I think we created stability,” said speaker Ritter.
Despite a huge surplus, state lawmakers had to work with fiscal guardrails put in place to pay down pension debt and limit spending.
Connecticut Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas raised some concerns about funding for early voting.
“I’ve said from day one, I would rather have no early voting than early voting that’s not well-funded and I still stick with that,” Thomas said.
Overall, there seemed to be a sense of relief as another legislative session approached its close. The House passed it around 1:40 a.m. on Tuesday.
House Speaker Matt Ritter, a Democrat, said he was proud of the budget agreement when Channel 3 spoke with him.
“We have a historic increase in education cost sharing which will help reduce property taxes, making it easier for our urban schools to retain teachers and paraeducators,” Ritter said.
Gov. Ned Lamont said he believes the approved budget is well-balanced.
“At the beginning of the legislative session, I promised that this budget would build growth and opportunity for all of Connecticut, and this agreement does just that,” Lamont said.
Republican Rep. Vincent Candalora was on the same page as Lamont. He said that bipartisan support was key to the deal.
“Ultimately, you have a budget that largely incorporates a lot of Republican policies,” Candalora said. “It’s natural [that] it’s going to get support.”
Lawmakers were expected to reconvene around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the state capitol.
The Senate planned to vote on the agreement prior to the Wednesday deadline.
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