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Democrats propose spending increase for state budget

HARTFORD — Democrats took the wraps off their state budget proposal, which spends more than 100-million more than Gov. Lamont.

Spending in the budget totals 43.3-billion. The Democrats say the spending increase is mainly because they’re continuing to fund education in areas where Gov. Lamont proposed some cuts.

The Democrats budget calls for a 1.9 and 3.6 percent spending increase over years 1 and 2. Rep.

Vincent Candelora, the House Deputy Republican Leader said, “Here we are Groundhog Day all over again. The Governor proposes a budget, the Democrats come out and propose a budget with more spending.”

Democrats say the budget was negotiated in good faith across the aisle.

Sen. Cathy Osten, a Democrat and the Co-Chair of the Appropriations Committee said, “This has been a bipartisan effort.” “We did not approve this budget,” rebutted Rep. Gail Lavielle, the Ranking Repubican on Appropriations.

The budget puts more into a well trained workforce, and youth employment. It funds a new class of state troopers and would reopen state visitor centers and rest areas.

It also maintains some of the Governors major initiatives like paid family leave, the minimum wage, a healthcare public option and communities footing part of the bill to fund teacher pensions.

But when it comes to teacher pensions, that was left out of the draft. Democrats say it was a mistake. “We planned on having it in the budget documents that municipalities would have to contribute toward teacher pensions. There was an error in the documents that we noticed this morning after they were already printed,” explained Sen. Osten.

Gov. Lamont weighed in with a statement that read, in part, “I applaud the Chairs and the entire Appropriations Committee for their leadership in putting forth a budget that seeks to improve education, protect Connecticut’s workforce through policies such as minimum wage and paid family leave, and grow our economy.”

Senator Looney called on Republicans to put together their own budget. “The only way to take into consideration Republican budget priorities is to see a fully vetted document that indicates where they seek to raise revenue or cut spending,” he said.

Republicans told us, “I personally have no interest in having a discussion on budget talks,” said Rep. Candelora.

What we saw Tuesday is really only half of the budget. It’s the spending proposal. Wednesday we’ll get to see the revenue projections.

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