No shortage of controversial issues in 2018 General Assembly session

Politics

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Tolls, taxes, and more spending cuts are among the topics Governor Malloy will highlight in his final Budget Address on Wednesday to open the 2018 General Assembly session.

Recreational marijuana, paid family leave, and online sports betting are also expected to be on this year’s agenda. It’s the opening of the session and it’s also an election year that will decide a new governor and who controls the legislature. This election is likely to overshadow every issue.

When the governor enters the hall of the House for his final address at 12 noon on Wednesday, he knows that one of his major proposals, the imposition of electronic highway tolls across the state, will at least get a vote this session.

“It’s something that will happen this session. We will be voting on tolls. Where that vote goes I don’t know,” said Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) the Speaker of the House.

Even if it passes the narrowly divided House, the fate of tolls this year in the evenly divided State Senate is doubtful. The governor’s proposal for a 7 cent hike in the gas tax will be debated in committee. A powerful committee co-chairman has also proposed a 4 cent hike.Related Content: Malloy has plan to out smart new federal tax law but not everyone certain it will work

“We’re not going to be able to afford 25, greater than 25 percent of our total expenditures going to local government,” asserted Governor Malloy in announcing his budget proposals.

He’s calling for a cut municipal aid to the state’s more affluent communities that was rejected last year, and he’s trying again.

He’s also again proposing extending the sales tax to non-prescription drugs which was also rejected last year. In addition, Gov. Malloy wants to eliminate the $200 property tax credit and extend the bottle bill to wine and spirits at 25 cents per bottle.

“We are going backwards. He has tried this ‘progressive’ agenda for six years and it’s failed,” said Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven), the Republican Senate President Pro tem.Related Content: Capitol Report: Malloy proposes tolls, gas tax hike

Other topics coming up include recreational marijuana and the taxes it would generate, a proposal for paid Family Medical Leave, and banning “bump stocks” like the one used in the Las Vegas shooting. Online sports betting may come up because the nation’s highest court is expected to rule on it soon, and Tesla is expected to renew its push for direct to consumer sales that is vigorously opposed by Connecticut auto dealers.

There will also be an effort to allow MGM to bid on a casino license for Bridgeport. The Assembly approved a third casino for East Windsor to be operated by the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans, but construction has not yet begun.

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