HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The state budget negotiations are moving too slowly for the Speaker of the House.
The legislative session is winding down and a state budget must be passed by May 4. Time is ticking on getting a $24.2 billion state budget agreement.
State Rep. Matt Ritter, the Democratic House Speaker, said the pressure is on.
“We really need a deal in the next 48 hours.”
Ritter said the delay is from the Governor’s office.
Paul Mounds, the governor’s chief of staff, said they were given two new proposals in the last 24 hours and are vetting them. In a statement to News 8, he added: “The Governor will sign a final budget that reflects the principles and priorities that has guided our state, that has created a substantial rainy day fund, paid down long term liabilities while investing in the communities that need us most, and the families and small businesses that power our state.”
For the first time in 30 years, Republicans have not been called in by the Governor during budget talks.
From the Republican perspective, two topics have put a wrench in the wheel; the nearly $2 billion deal including bonuses for 46,000 unionized state workers and what type of tax relief and how much will be provided to residents.
“We are going to be spending over $2 billion on this contract for 43,000 workers. To me, that’s very disproportionate to the $180 million of tax relief that Democrats are only willing to give our residents. We want to see more,” said State Rep. Vin Candelora, the Republican House Minority Leader.
Sources say the Child Tax Credit remains on the table, as does a cut in the car tax and an expansion of the earned income tax credit for the working poor.
A big election year priority last time and this time for Governor Ned Lamont, a property tax cut, is said to be off the table.
Candelora expressed disappointment: “He could have brought us in the room to have a conversation about broad-based property tax relief. And it looks like that proposal is going to fall by the wayside. And he’s allowing that to happen because he refused to talk to Republicans.”
“The clock is not on our side. And the parade of horribles of what a special session could bring, I don’t even want to imagine what that could look like.”
The parade of horribles means you open up the floor to every bill that died during the regular session.
Each party has conventions to endorse candidates for the November election.
Every lawmaker running for re-election wants to start campaigning. Timing for a special session becomes a nightmare.
State Senator Kevin Kelly, the Republican Minority Leader, reminded his fellow lawmaker there is already a budget in place and adjustments should be focused on returning money to the people.
“We have a budget. It’s bipartisan and balanced. It has a surplus of nearly $3 billion and is exceeding revenue projections. As a result of inflation, the state is overtaxing its residents, with nearly $1 billion in windfall revenue above projections from the sales tax and gas tax alone,” Kelly said.
“Connecticut now has a choice. Are we going to return these tax dollars to struggling families to provide immediate relief? Or are we going to spend them on growing the size of government to unsustainable levels? CT Democrats are rushing to spend when we should be rushing to provide relief. Families are struggling and they need relief now. Let’s put families first and help them now, not grow the size and cost of government.”
There are only two weeks left in the legislative session.