HARTFORD, Conn. — Legislative leaders plan to vote on a two-year budget package Wednesday.
“We came up with a bipartisan agreement, a handshake, at about 1:25 in the morning, today,” State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) said Tuesday, in an interview broadcast by CT-N. “…We have bipartisan support for a budget. That has not happened in my recent memory. We have not had Republican votes for a budget in 10 years.”
“The wins are, I think, a substantial protection of municipal aid and also for higher education,” State Senate President Martin Looney (D-New Haven) said, elaborating that this budget offers “significantly higher levels of higher education funding” than the budget vetoed by Gov. Dannel Malloy, but declining to elaborate on the municipal aid issue.
Legislators have given up on eliminating the municipal motor vehicle tax in 2019, putting a placeholder in the budget to encourage reform later, Looney said.
Duff said he supports eliminating the car tax but, “We have to fight our battles as we can and I think that discussion is going to continue.”
A lock box for transportation funds will be on the ballot next year, which should clear the way for tolls on major highways, Looney said.
“I am hopeful that the governor will sign this budget,” Looney said.
“There are lots of things in there that I think the governor will like, and also our own caucus members,” Duff said.
“I think this has really been really a painful process, almost like having a prolonged tooth abscess that you weren’t able to get to the dentist to resolve,” Looney said. “But finally, we think that we’re at the point where it will be extracted, and what we will then have is a combination of exhaustion, pain, and relief…. But we are very pleased that we can say that the overall budget is something we can say is responsible one given the fiscal constraints.”