Connecticut’s lame-duck General Assembly meets Monday to begin to address this year’s state budget deficit.
While there’s a lot for the legislature to agree upon, there also are parts of Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s deficit reduction plan where they won’t.
Part of Rell’s budget reduction plan includes $13.8 million in unclaimed bottle deposits. Rell thinks that the nickel deposits consumers pay for soda and beer bottles, many of which are never redeemed, belong to the state. Currently, the money is collected by beer and soda distributors.
The lobbying firm Sullivan and LeShane, which represents the beer wholesalers and soda companies, has been fighting to allow their clients to hold onto the unclaimed bottle deposits for almost two decades. The legislature debates taking the money back every year, and every year the bill is defeated.
However, this year is different. The state is running a large budget deficit and it also is the first time lobbying firms were unable to use their influence in campaigns under the state’s new public campaign finance laws.
Shortly after the special session is convened this morning, Democrats will caucus the proposal in private.
Stayed tuned …