HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The state office complex in Hartford is reopening on Monday after being closed a few days last week to mourn the loss of a state representative.
Middletown State Representative Quentin “Q” Williams was killed in a wrong-way crash on Route 9 in Cromwell last week. The State Capitol closed on Thursday and Friday to let his coworkers mourn.
On Monday, legislators are back to business. Every two years, the state gets a new budget and this is one of those years. This season is going to be all about the numbers.
So far, those numbers look pretty good. Even without the gas tax for most of last year, other sales taxes picked up. That means revenues look good in this fiscal year and projections have them staying food for the next couple of years. That will mean some heated discussions about what to do with that money.
In Governor Ned Lamont’s State of the State address, he made it clear that he wants to give residents a ladder out of poverty. A big step on that ladder is more affordable housing and that seemed to get bipartisan support.
“Affordable housing is something the towns should be embracing,” said State Senator Martin Looney, Democratic Senate President. “It means more vitality for those towns. It means more families coming into those towns, something they should not fear. It’s something they should embrace.”
“They don’t have a first and last and they don’t have a good credit score, so they don’t get housing,” said State Senator Kevin Kelly, Republican Senate Minority Leader. “Our homeless shelters are overflowing. That can’t stand.”
Another idea that will probably get bipartisan support is tax cuts, specifically cuts aimed at the middle class. those making less than $150,000 a year. The governor urged caution last week saying that fiscal guard rails have to stay in place, otherwise the state could return to its old standard of permanent fiscal crisis.