Christine Stuart photo
Speaker Amann and Senate President Williams (Christine Stuart photo )

Democratic leaders announced Friday afternoon that they will reconvene for a special session June 11 to extend the real estate conveyance tax for two-years.

Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said the scope, at the moment, will be limited to the conveyance tax.

Speaker of the House James Amann, D-Milford, said the chairs of the General Administration and Elections Committee will meet next week to see if they can reach an agreement on ethics reform. But ethics will not be included on the June 11 agenda unless there is agreement, he added.

A dozen realtors urged Democratic leaders Thursday against a special session to extend the real estate conveyance tax.

“God Bless the realtors. This is not an anti-realtor bill,” Amann said Friday. He said until the state finds another way to raise the revenue it receives from the tax, it needs to continue. And Amann said he’s certain he has the votes in the House to get it passed.

Amann and Williams dismissed requests from the minority Republicans to reopen the budget, however, they conceded that if Gov. M. Jodi Rell gets on board they would be willing to address the growing 2008 budget deficiency by making some technical changes.

Meanwhile Republican leaders like Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Southport, are unhappy about a special session to extend a tax.

“To raise the conveyance tax and flatly reject viable tax relief proposals is to ignore the struggles of families and small businesses whose incomes are not keeping pace with the rising cost of living and working here,” McKinney said Friday in an emailed statement.

McKinney’s statement went on to say that “Republican leaders have put a solution on the table that will lower the conveyance tax rate for homeowners while keeping our municipalities whole. Our proposal is a win-win for everyone and deserves serious consideration from Democratic lawmakers.”

Shortly after the Democratic leaders met with the press Friday, Rell announced an executive branch hiring freeze and asked other branches of government to join her lead.

“Rising energy prices, food prices and health care costs and increases in everyday expenses – the same pressures that Connecticut families face – are affecting state government, and we must respond to them in the same way that families do: by cutting back and spending only on the necessities,” Rell said in a press release. 

“This week my budget office advised the Comptroller that personal income taxes and other tax revenues are continuing to fall well behind projections,” Rell said. “The bottom line right now is that we will need to pare down spending by about $53 million to break even when the current fiscal year ends on June 30.”