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Connecticut Finance Committee approves children’s trust fund

The Connecticut State Capitol Building in Hartford

In Connecticut, a key legislative committee has adjusted Governor Ned Lamont’s budget proposal to include a children’s trust fund. It would be created with budget surplus money.

The Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee voted along party lines to create the new Children’s Trust Fund. It would use about $320 million from the state's $3 billion surplus.

It would be an investment in programs for the developmental and health needs of infants and toddlers, particularly from poorer communities, said the committee’s co-chair Senator John Fonfara, a Hartford Democrat who sponsored the measure.

“There is a segment of our population that is never given a shot at being productive members of our society adequately. This would do that. This is an investment just as we would argue that an adjustment of the property tax credit is an investment,” said Fonfara.

The committee also voted to amend Lamont’s budget proposal to lower local car taxes.

The amendment would reduce the tax assessment on cars in high tax cities, said Fonfara.

“This would provide for passenger vehicles in municipalities with mill rates of 29 or greater. Those vehicles would receive a $5,000 credit or exemption on their assessment,” he said.

The governor had asked that the state’s cap on municipal car taxes be lowered from 45 mills to 29 mills. One mill equals a dollar in tax per $1,000 of assessed value. Wealthier towns have lower mill rates.

The committee also voted to set aside $250 million to reimburse cities and towns for the anticipated revenue loss. Lamont had asked for $160 million.

The governor said he looks forward to negotiating a final deal with lawmakers.

The General Assembly has to take action on a budget before it adjourns on May 4.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.