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Democrats cite accomplishments as Connecticut legislative session ends

The Connecticut state Capitol building in Hartford.
Danielle Wedderburn
The Connecticut state Capitol building in Hartford.

Connecticut lawmakers ended their legislative session at midnight on Wednesday. Democrats said it was a productive session in which they funded many programs and passed the largest tax cut in state history. Republicans said more could have been done.

Democrats are confident that they are leaving Hartford with the state in good financial shape even after spending $600 million on tax cuts, said House Speaker Matt Ritter.

“The public should understand, right, $3.3 billion in the rainy-day fund, we paid off almost 12% of our pension debt this year alone. That creates a lot of spending cap room next year. We are not sacrificing the future. We made responsible investments,” he said.

Lawmakers tackled a lot more issues, said Jason Rojas, the House majority leader.

“We’ve been really productive, we took on the environment bill, mental health for youth on a really solid budget that makes lots of investments in Connecticut. It’s been a good session,” he said.

The session was productive because of issues pushed by Republicans, said Vincent Candelora, the House minority leader. That includes a juvenile crime bill, government accountability and tax cuts, which he said should have been as much $1.2 billion.

“We have a $4.8 billion surplus, and the Democrats were only willing to give back to the residents $500 million. A lot of that money came in through Wall Street. We should have given it back to Main Street,” said Candelora.

These are likely to be campaign issues for lawmakers, as they seek re-election this year.

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.