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Democrats want to spend Connecticut's surplus on relief for housing, tax and energy costs

Hartford is home to the Connecticut State Capitol and state legislature — as well as to major U.S. insurance firms. In 2019, those insurers spent what it took to defeat Connecticut's version of a "public option" in health care, despite strong support among the state's lawmakers.
Jessica Hill
/
AP
Conn. Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff of Norwalk

Connecticut Democrats are taking advantage of the state’s current fiscal buoyancy to push a legislative agenda that includes a number of socially liberal programs this year.

The agenda would help boost the state’s economy by making it more attractive for young families, said Bob Duff, state Senate majority leader.

Top of the list is affordable housing, which has been a difficult issue in the state because of local zoning regulations that are outdated.

“They have roots of racism in them. And we need to put dollars to build more affordable housing and to ensure that housing builds our economy,” Duff said.

The agenda also includes expanding the state’s debt-free college program.

“Think about parents and others who want to retrain themselves for the technological world that we live in, we need to make it so that they are able to do that and not put another mortgage on their house or go into so much debt,” said Duff.

Some middle-class tax cuts and taking advantage of federal infrastructure dollars to improve transportation and the environment is also on the Democrats agenda.

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.