Democrats say a state budget deal almost ready for a vote; Toll vote ‘highly unlikely’ during session
HARTFORD — Democratic legislative leaders say they’re close to approving a two-year state budget agreement with Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said Thursday he’s optimistic the Democratic-controlled General Assembly will pass a deal reached with the Democratic governor before the regular legislative session adjourns on June 5 at midnight.
In a press conference, Gov. Ned Lamont said that he was proud to announce the budget deal in advance of the end of session. “We’re going to have an honest budget done, on time,” said Lamont.
He said he was proud of the fact it was balanced without raising tax rates, that the sales tax system was modernized and the rainy day fund was not tapped.
Aresimowicz says it's "highly unlikely" the Connecticut General Assembly will vote on an electronic tolling bill before the regular legislative session adjourns.
The Democrat's comments on Thursday come a day after Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont's administration expressed optimism that a tolling bill could be passed before the June 5 deadline. Lamont had previously suggested lawmakers focus on reaching a two-year budget agreement and tackle tolls in a special legislative session.
Colleen Flanagan Johnson, Lamont's senior adviser, tells WTIC-AM that Lamont is pleased with the progress that's been made on the budget and believes "now really is the time to get moving" on tolls.
Adamant in their opposition to tolls, legislative Republicans would likely debate any bill at length during the final hours of the session.
Unlike the previous two years, when Republicans held more seats in the House of Representatives and Senate, the GOP has not been part of the final budget talks. Aresimowicz says he has "missed that exchange" with the minority party this year, saying it was "really cool" when bipartisan budget agreements were reached.
Republicans have been critical of the spending and tax increases included in the Democratic plans that have advanced out of the budget-writing legislative committees.