The House is expected to vote on a package of spending cuts Tuesday that eliminates most of the 2010 budget deficit. It’s a plan that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on and it’s a plan Gov. M. Jodi Rell will sign.
“Our plan is to make this a day where all parties get together and get things done,” House Speaker Chris Donovan said. He said there would be no attempts to run separate bills to increase the tax on wealthy estates or the gross earnings of hospitals.
Those two proposals may come up in the future, but won’t be up for discussion today.
“I have to be honest with you it was very hard to put that together trying to find things that we could basically all agree to,” Gov. M. Jodi Rell said as she left the Capitol Tuesday to attend a press event. “I have heard from the House and the Senate Democrats that they have not given up on the estate tax and that they would like to bring it back, but not today.”
When asked about the difficulty of the cuts, “we had to find that space between being unhappy and happy,” Donovan said. “We had to find that space where people would say, ‘I’m not unhappy, but I’m not happy either,‘ and we found that space on a number of items.“
House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said the deficit package, which was still being drafted Tuesday afternoon, “is the first step in a long journey.”
“We wish we could handle all the problems that we have,” Cafero said. “But we’ve been unable to get everyone to focus on handling the entire problem at once.”
While it doesn’t eliminate the 2011 deficit, Cafero said his caucus would be supporting the 2010 deficit plan because it does it without tax increases and without cuts to municipal aid.
The draft of the bill is not yet complete, but click here to download the spreadsheet which details the $323 million in changes to the budget.
It’s still unclear if the bill will erase the entire 2010 deficit because there won’t be any certainty about what the actual deficit is until after the April 15th tax filing deadline. At some point next week lawmakers should know exactly how much of the deficit they actually erased.
Another bill that will be raised Tuesday extends the timeframe the General Assembly has to react to a Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision on campaign finance reform.
Currently the state would only have seven days to react to the decision before the entire system reverts back to the way it was before the Clean Elections law was passed in 2005. The bill up for a vote Tuesday will extend it to 30 days.