Lawmakers are expected to return to the Capitol Wednesday afternoon to finish the longest budget battle in state history.
The General Assembly is expected to begin deliberations on a state bond package, a plan to reduce the number of probate courts from 117 to 50, and a plan to offer some relief to municipalities by delaying unfunded state mandates.
The House is expected in a 3 p.m. Wednesday and it was still unclear if the Senate will join them or wait until Thursday to convene.
Few details regarding a handful of bills being drafted by the legislature’s Democratic majority were available Tuesday afternoon.
Republican lawmakers and Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s budget office were not included in conversations about the bills because Democratic leaders felt the Republicans didn’t vote for, or in Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s case, sign the $37.6 billion budget which became law on Sept. 8.
Republican lawmakers, who did not support the bill, called on Democratic lawmakers last week to allow cities and towns to delay unfunded state mandates like in-school suspension.
Kevin Maloney, spokesman for the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, said Tuesday that the municipal lobby is pushing lawmakers to delay three or four unfunded mandates. He said delaying things like in-school suspension, which municipal leaders support as a concept, won’t add to the deficit.
Sources say there is continued discussion about how long the in-school suspension delay should last.
The thing that’s scaring local leaders the most is the bond package, Maloney said. He said it’s already late in the year to begin doing road construction projects.
Also Maloney said local leaders would like to see the state make the municipal conveyance tax permanent. The tax is levied when a person buys or sells a home and it raises about $40 million annually.
“It doesn’t come out of state revenues and it helps the towns maintain services,” Maloney said of the tax. The Connecticut Association of Realtors oppose the tax and would like to see it sunset next June.
Check in tomorrow after 3 p.m. for the latest on the budget debate.