Connecticut may finally have a budget again! Even though our lawmakers are four months late to the party. But, it doesn’t matter anymore. Anything is better than Governor Malloy’s executive orders that basically strangle our schools.
CT Post reports that after 116 days, our lawmakers finally shook hands at 1:30 this morning over a budget that they both (sorta) agree upon. The problem is: what’s in it? Is this a good budget or a bad budget?
Well, you have to ask yourself “Do I live in Connecticut?” Because there’s your answer.
As for that car tax elimination that everyone hoped for, hate to break it to you, there’s no mention of that anywhere in this bill. But, if you smoke, you’ll have to pay 45 cents more for your fix thanks to a boosted cigarette tax.
Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz patted himself on the back for finally doing the job we elected him to do, represent us. And, also, work with other elected officials regardless of party affiliation.
“This really has been a historic moment in the state of Connecticut. Something that people have told me for many years they wanted to see happen, that both parties come together, compromise for the good of the state. This is a proud moment for the state and for me personally.”
Wow. I’m so touched. It only took our lawmakers, what, years… decades… to figure that out. Maybe because they realize elections are around the corner and residents are petty darn angry.
Republican Senate Leader Len Fasano also stressed that the budget was purely bipartisan:
“This did take a lot of time and I think patience is going to prove to be a reward in this budget. We’ve talked about a lot of things we never talked about before. I think it’s a budget that isn’t just a budget to get past the two years. It is a budget that has sound policy, which means it is a supportive document that can carry on with the message for years to come.”
Then again, how often were our Republican representatives kept out of these talks held behind closed doors?
Either way, proving that 2017 is, in fact, the strangest years of all – Republicans and Democrats finally came together in Connecticut to do their job. However, no one knows if this budget will pass Dan Malloy’s desk since our governor came up with a budget of his own.
One that further punishes teachers, I may add. It’s pretty obvious our Governor has an axe to grind against them. He won’t stop until they pay for the crimes of his old teachers: who didn’t understand dyslexia since motor and learning disabilities weren’t widely known back then.
And he says he has no grudges against them. Ha. Ask any teacher in the public sector and see if they agree with that.
Anyways, I digress…
Back to the bipartisan budget. Unfortunately, it does reshuffle the Education Cost Sharing Grant across the state with the poorer districts losing the least amount of funding. Also, Hartford retained $40 million in emergency funding to spare it from falling into bankruptcy.
I’m sure many have issues with that provision.
The budget also takes money from from energy conservation funds, which could close the Green Bank. Which, basically, explores other energy options beyond gas and electricity. Also, we may see more surcharges on our monthly consumer utility bills.
Thankfully, the sales tax rate will NOT go up this year or the next. I know that was a huge issue with many residents who already say they hemorrhage too much money. But, if you’re middle class or among the working poor – your income tax credits were reduced. So, there’s that.
Hospitals will also have to pay more in taxes. But, these taxes do open them up for federal aid.
One big win for us, though, was that our lawmakers implemented a tougher cap on spending increases. So, that might spare us future pain in the end. But, at this point, who knows anymore.
It looks like we have a budget. It may not be the budget we wanted, but we’ll probably take it because it wasn’t partisan and, more importantly, not drafted by our Governor.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides echoed that sentiment:
“When you have a governor that is not being helpful and a governor that is not working with us, and a governor that is trying to scare everybody in this state, it is not about working with the bipartisan budget that passed, it was about working from the executive orders, and we had to make sure that those draconian cuts did not continue to go through and continue to hurt our cities and towns, our children, our elderly, et cetera.”
Yikes. I think it’s safe to say that our lawmakers have lost total faith in our elected supreme leader. It only took them, what, two election cycles to figure that out? And, considering the animosity between our elected leaders and the Governor, it makes one wonder if that’ll come into play. As in, will the Governor veto the budget just because those mean politicians don’t like him anymore?
Considering he already spoke out against it… yeah, he’ll probably reject it.
But, even if he does veto it – our lawmakers will have enough votes to overturn his veto. So, either way, it looks like this budget will stay.
As for how our lawmakers feel about this new budget, allow Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff to explain:
We came out together, we stayed together, we worked together very hard and we have a product that with final caucus approval, we will vote on over the next few days that I think will make the people of the state of Connecticut proud.”
Do you think this budget is any good for the state? How do you feel about it anyway? Does this affect who you’ll vote for?