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Connecticut Democrats Pass Two-Year Budget Amid Resistance From Lamont, Republicans

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Two key legislative committees in Connecticut have approved a $46 billion two-year budget plan proposed by Democratic lawmakers. Democratic Governor Ned Lamont and Republicans have pushed back on the plan.

The plan would spend more money on social service nonprofits, local health clinics and school districts and workforce development than had been proposed by Lamont. It’s paid for with some new taxes including a 2% surcharge on capital gains.

Representative Toni Walker is co-chair of the Appropriations Committee that approved the plan. She said it’s an attempt to address economic equity issues that came to light because of the pandemic.

“When we look at the number of people that were unemployed, and we look at the number of people that weren’t in school, the number of people that were losing homes, it became very clear that we are at a critical cliff in our communities,” Walker said.

Lamont does not see a need for new taxes.

“I think we have a very good budget that makes commitments to people, makes commitments to workforce, without raising taxes,” Lamont said.

Senate Republican Minority Leader Kevin Kelly said the capital gains surcharge would be a burden on middle class families who pass their homes on to their children.

“That’s kind of what the middle class depend on. And that’s going to go right after their wallet,” Kelly said.

The state’s final budget package will now be negotiated over the next six weeks. It has to be approved by both chambers of the legislature and the governor.

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.