HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Just hours before the end of the legislative session Wednesday, the State Senate approved the two-year, $46-billion budget. The House passed it early Wednesday morning. It now heads to the governor’s desk for signature.
Governor Ned Lamont released a statement regarding the final legislative approval of the 2022-2023 biennial state budget:
The bipartisan approval of the 2022-2023 biennial state budget sends a clear message to all of the residents of our great state – this is the most progressive, transformative, and life-changing budget our state has ever seen.
We agreed across party lines that now is the time to ensure thousands of families have access to affordable childcare, the expansion of access to free and affordable healthcare will provide security to households, and investments in our future through workforce development will make our state stronger. The investments in equity will lift up our state for generations to come.”
Below is coverage on the state budget prior to the State Senate’s vote.
After months of negotiations, lawmakers at the State Capitol and the governor struck a deal late last week on the $46-billion state budget. The House voted to pass the budget overnight Wednesday, and the Senate is expected to take a vote later in the day.
The bill passed just before 3 a.m. The vote was 116-31.
Governor Ned Lamont released a statement following the House passage of the budget, which said,
“The Connecticut House of Representatives deserves to be commended for their diligent work in passing the biennium state budget in a bipartisan fashion. That is exactly the outcome the people of our state are looking for: they want our elected officials to work together across the aisle and craft collaborative public policy to the benefit of our residents. We have accomplished that with this historic budget. This budget does not raise taxes, while making transformative investments across our communities including: record increases in municipal aid, more funding for residents to access free and affordable early childhood education, healthcare with reduced or eliminated premiums and deductibles, investments in our workforce development programs, and commitments to our school districts to ensure our students have the best opportunities. I look forward to seeing the Connecticut Senate approve the budget and send it to my desk for my signature.”Governor Ned Lamont
The two-year budget on the table:
- No new taxes
- Is under the spending cap
- Increases spending by three percent
- Will increase the earned income tax credit for low-income families with children
- 30,000 more people would be able to afford healthcare on the exchange
- No health insurance tax
- Capital gains tax
- No consumption tax on the wealthy
- No digital tax
- No increase in the gas price because the transportation climate initiative is not in the budget
House Speaker Matt Ritter (D) said before the vote, “I know some are upset by revenues side, but that case was made and rejected by those in power…I think it is a great thing for the State of Connecticut. It’s not a budget that compromises values…Earned income tax credit, more money going into the pockets of working families, expansion of HUSKY Aid and healthcare. Not one town saw a reduction in ECS.”
House Minority Leader Vin Candelora (R) said before the vote, “Our caucus is very pleased that they have seen the light and are putting forth a no-tax-increase budget at a time when Connecticut residents are still trying to recover from the pandemic.”
Cities and towns are expected to be fully funded for education dollars. They will also get dedicated money from sales tax receipts.
A casualty in the budget negotiations, a state child tax credit – about $300/child. Lawmakers say a promise was made to bring that up in two years.
The flavored tobacco vapes were banned in this budget. However, menthol tobacco products will still be allowed in Connecticut.
A highway user tax on trucks was voted on in a separate bill.
No need to raise taxes. Lawmakers say they were very surprised the state’s economy came back so quickly after hitting rock-bottom during the pandemic.
“We saw a very rapid rebound, very surprising rebound,” explained Speaker Ritter. “We thought we would have a $2 billion deficit and we ended up with close to a $1.2 billion surplus.”
Lawmakers are smiling and somewhat agreeing, saying this is the first time they can remember since 2017 that both sides have really agreed going forward on the budget.