It's worth your time.
This is from Forbes magazine. It paints a really bleak picture of the state's revenue problems, and of the income tax.
It's worth your time.
The Senate adopted a $19.76 billion budget for FY 2017 last night by a 21-15 vote along party lines.
You can read about it here.
We are still learning about what this budget actually contains, but one thing it does is reduce bonding for projects. You can read about that here.
It also allows municipalities to charge a local 5% admissions tax on a host of events and activities, on top of the state's 10% tax). You can read about that here. It's not mandatory, but it is a way for municipalities to recoup some revenue it won't receive in this state budget.
This budget also boosts CTNext, the state's business startup entity. You can read about that here.
Additional information about changes included in the budget approved by the Senate is available here as well.
There is also a very good analysis of what this budget does, and doesn't do, from the Yankee Institute for Public Policy here.
The House is scheduled to take up the budget today. Stay tuned.
The proposed budget, negotiated by Legislative Democrats and Gov. Malloy, is now available online.
You can find it here.
The Connecticut Business & Industry Association is urging businesses statewide to support this budget, which does not include any tax increases and does include some structural changes that will save money not just in this fiscal year but beyond.
You can read CBIA's reasons for supporting the proposed budget here. In a conversation I had with CBIA's Brian Flaherty, he said that while the current proposal is far from perfect (no surprise), it could only get worse if it's reworked. CBIA is concerned about calls by various unions in the state to raise taxes and reduce some cuts accordingly.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is less thrilled with the budget and would like to see some state mandates eliminated in exchange for their support of the budget. You can read about that here.
At the moment, the state Senate is scheduled to convene in Special Session on Thursday, May 12. The House has not yet said when it will convene.
Now, however, is the time to let your legislators know how you feel. The Chamber agrees with CBIA that this budget is likely the best we can do at this point and should be supported. Call or send an email addressed specifically to your legislator demanding they approve the budget as proposed.
Here's the contact list:
Contact Your Legislators:
Senate Democrats (1-800-842-1420)
Sen. Dante Bartolomeo: Cheshire, Meriden, Middlefield, Middletown
Sen. Joseph J. Crisco Jr.: Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Hamden, Naugatuck, Woodbridge
Sen. Joan Hartley: Waterbury, Middlebury
Senate Republicans (1-800-842-1421)
Sen. Rob Kane: Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Middlebury, Oxford, Seymour, Southbury, Roxbury, Washington, Watertown, Woodbury
Sen. Joe Markley: Cheshire, Prospect, Southington, Waterbury, Wolcott
House Democrats (1-800-842-1902)
Rep. Jeff Berger: Waterbury
Rep. Larry Butler: Waterbury
Rep. Theresa Conroy: Beacon Falls, Seymour, Derby
Rep. Mary Fritz: Cheshire, Wallingford
Rep. Geraldo Reyes: Waterbury
House Republicans (1-800-842-1423)
Rep. Al Adinolfi: Cheshire, Southington, Wallingford
Rep. Eric Berthel: Watertown, Woodbury
Rep. Anthony D'Amelio: Middlebury, Waterbury
Rep. David Labriola: Naugatuck, Oxford, Southbury
Rep. Craig Miner: Bethlehem, Litchfield, Morris, Warren, Woodbury
Rep. Selim Noujaim: Waterbury
Rep. Arthur O'Neill: Bridgewater, Roxbury, Southbury, Washington
Rep. John Piscopo: Burlington, Harwinton, Litchfield, Thomaston
Rep. Rosa Rebimbas: Naugatuck
Rep. Rob Sampson: Southington, Wolcott
Rep. Lezlye Zupkus: Bethany, Cheshire, Prospect
So, the 2016 legislative session ended at midnight with, essentially, nothing about the budget resolved.
If you're surprised by that, you haven't been paying attention. I know the presidential primaries have been distracting, to say the least, but what's happening in Hartford is worth your time. As a certain candidate would say, "it's hyuuuuuuge."
The Senate has set Thursday, May 12, as the date to resume business as part of a special session. The House has yet to announce when it will reconvene, but it will also return next week.
Here's what you need to know about the messy end to the session.
While the budget didn't get done, here's a glance at some things that did:
Several bills the Chamber supported during the session were approved by both the House and Senate, including a bill allowing for the creation of Brownfield Land Banks (HB 5425) and one expanding eligibility for the apprenticeship tax credit to S corporations and LLCs (HB 5636), and one supporting efforts to encourage students to consider manufacturing careers (HB 5423). A bill that would have helped reduce unemployment compensation tax costs for businesses, which the Chamber supported, was approved by the House by stalled in the Senate.
Some bills we opposed also failed to pass, including paid family and medical leave (SB 221) and the bottled water bill (SB 422).
Unfortunately, the bill creating a state retirement security program (HB 5591) was approved when Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.
OK, so while my sources were confident the GOP leadership would allow a vote on the budget tonight, it turns out the Democrats won't let that happen.
Read the latest here.
Here is Gov. Malloy's statement:
Wednesday, May 04, 2016
Statement from Governor Dannel P. Malloy
(HARTFORD, CT - Governor Dannel P. Malloy this evening released the following statement:
"I want to thank members of both parties in the General Assembly for their work this session. The budget agreement is honest, sustainable, and adjusts to Connecticut's new economic reality. It adheres to our principles that we will balance the budget without raising taxes, without raiding the rainy day fund, and without borrowing to cover operating expenses. It is based almost entirely on recurring, structural reductions in spending.
"It's a good agreement. If it happened too late in session to finish on time, and this delay is about giving members more time to understand what they're voting on, that's fine and even admirable. I said in February that we should not pass a budget on the last day of session.
"However, if this delay begins a discussion about re-opening the agreement in order to find a way to avoid difficult decisions, that's unacceptable. I will not move from the principles we've agreed to. I want to reassure the citizens of Connecticut that if we don't take the necessary action together, I will take whatever steps necessary to bring our budget into balance.
"I urge the General Assembly to pass this budget as soon as possible."
You do have to chuckle at the governor's attempt to save face. Yes, he did say in February that the legislature should not pass a budget on the last day of the session, but does anyone believe this is what he meant?
That's the word from sources at the Capitol.
While there was some talk that GOP legislators might try to block a vote on the budget, it now appears unlikely that will happen.
As you can read here, leaders in the House and Senate say they have the votes to pass the revised budget,which they say closes the $960 million deficit without raising taxes or fees.
If you want to look through the proposed revisions yourself, you can do so in the document below:
State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, who was the keynote speaker for the Chamber's Legislative Dinner in March, has issued his latest take on the status of the state budget.
It isn't pretty. By Lembo's calculations, the budget will end the current fiscal year nearly $260 million in the red.
Meanwhile, it is beginning to look more and more likely that the legislature won't complete a budget before the session ends at midnight on Wednesday, and that a special session will convene on Thursday.
The claim is the special session will deal only with the budget and related issues. Here's how Rep. Jeffrey Berger, D-Waterbury, explained it to the Hartford Courant:
Rep. Jeffrey Berger, a Waterbury Democrat who co-chairs the tax-writing finance committee, says the goal this year is for only one budget implementation bill."It's only going to have items that are budget driven,'' Berger told Capitol Watch. "There's not going to be any bills that didn't make it out of committee and are put into it. It's not going to be a potpourri of dead bills resurrected.''
If you would like to look at Gov. Malloy's latest proposal, here's a "cliff notes" version courtesy of CTNewsjunkie.com. This latest plant got a lukewarm reception, at best.
Needless to say, the governor and legislature have their work cut out for them.
For those unfamiliar with the song, the headline is from a Van Halen (well, at the time they were often referred to as Van Hagar) song called "Runaround."
it came to mind as I watched the state legislature struggle with the budget this weekend. The cycle seems never-ending: Gov. Malloy issues his proposed budget; the Democrats in the legislature reject it and produce their own, but it's not balanced; the latest budget numbers come out and the deficit rises; the GOP issues its own budget that is balanced but gets promptly ignored. Repeat.
So, today, Gov. Malloy offered the Democrats -- members of his own party, mind you -- yet another proposal. Word is that it is now in the hands of legislative Democrats, and that the gov's offer tries to appease them by putting more money toward education, but doesn't budge on more money for hospitals. Apparently this is his bid to restart negotiations, which hit a very public impasse over the weekend.
Regardless, the possibility of a deal being struck and sent to Malloy's desk for signing before the end of the session at midnight on Wednesday is pretty much gone. You can expect a special session to commence on Thursday.
As Ken Dixon of the CT Post notes, that's putting tremendous pressure on Democrats in the legislature, because it delays fundraising for the fall election campaign.
No one knows what the final budget will look like, but expect it to be ugly -- filled with one-time gimmicks and other temporary revenue enhancers.
Which, of course, will mean the runaround will continue, because they aren't really dealing with the HUGE budget holes in the next two fiscal years, they are only focused on the current budget.
So here we go around, 'round, 'round ...
Public Policy & Economic Development Director, Waterbury Regional Chamber