HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The end of the state legislative session is at midnight next Wednesday.
As that deadline nears, there are hundreds of bills that need to be voted on, including the state budget.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle told News 8 the 2024-2025 biennial budget is a top priority and they are optimistic they will vote on it before the deadline.
Connecticut Democratic House Speaker Matt Ritter and House Majority Leader Jason Rojas provided an update on the process in the Connecticut State Capitol.
“In terms of do we have a deal? We do. At some point, pens go down. Realistically, that budget document could be ready as early as Saturday or as late as Monday,” Ritter said.
The state budget is around $51 billion dollars with the exact figure and details still being finalized.
“We should get those [numbers] today make sure we’re in balance and under the spending cap in both years,“ Ritter said.
Republican House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora says there’s been a lot of bipartisan cooperation in this budget.
“They’ve incorporated a lot of our proposals. Whereas in years past, it might have been more of a compromise. I feel as if we have contributed to the actual outcome of this budget,” Candelora said.
The state budget includes one of the largest state income tax cuts in decades for the middle class, providing relief to individuals earning around $65,000 or families earning $100,000 per year.
Democratic Senator Martin Looney, who represents New Haven and Hamden broke down the numbers by tax tier.
“Those who are taxed at 5% of their income will go down to 4.5 on that tier. Those who are taxed at 3% will go down to 2%,” Looney said.
More money will go toward education, to schools K-12 across the state as well as higher education – approximately $290 million dollars.
“I think the biggest piece is the education reform, putting the additional dollars into our schools at a time when they are still recovering from covid,” Candelora said.
Lawmakers say the budget rollback that stands out is Governor Lamont’s $40 million dollars in cuts to Metro North: Shoreline East and the New Haven line due to dwindling ridership.
However, the state is ending the fiscal year in the black with a sizable cushion.
“We have a built-in surplus of 300 million dollars before we even blink,” Ritter said.
Lawmakers may come in this weekend, depending on how much they get done by the end of the day on Friday.
Many expect to see the final budget up for a vote early next week.
The next fiscal year begins July 1st.