Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and state legislative leaders are expected to meet again on Monday to continue negotiations on closing a projected $5 billion deficit in the state’s next $40 billion two-year budget.
Connecticut House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, a Democrat from Berlin, says one proposal lawmakers have dropped since they adjourned their regular legislative session a couple of weeks ago is for the return of highway tolls as an immediate revenue option.
“We always had the hope of having tolls available to us for transportation funding here in the state of Connecticut. That process is going to be a little slowed down. We did the lockbox, but we are going to have to come back next to do some sort of action to get the tolls moving.”
Aresimowicz says lawmakers are considering a sales tax increase from 6.35 to 7 percent. He says the proposal is to distribute the increased revenues to municipalities. But he says if this makes it into the budget, local officials should be careful how they spend the money.
“Here we are in the state of Connecticut cutting, year after year, asking our state employees to make sacrifices, and we open up the paper and see municipalities getting raises at a time when they keep saying Hartford please send us the money.”
Lawmakers have scheduled Thursday for a possible budget vote, even though they have yet to reach an agreement. Governor Malloy takes over state spending by executive authority if a budget is not passed by June 30.