It’s after midnight and the Senate hasn’t even started debating a bill to overhaul Connecticut’s energy policy, but it looks as if progress was made on a 2011 budget agreement.
While no one will talk about the details of the plan, but the House plans on caucusing it around 10:30 a.m. today.
House Majority Leader Denise Merrill described the compromise with Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s administration as a “decision tree.” She said it’s safe to say details about the securitization or borrowing issue are being worked out.
She said they’ve come up with a plan to close the gap that pushes the borrowing or securitization as far out in 2011 as they can because there’s hope Connecticut’s revenue picture will improve. “We’re trying to figure out where you get the best bang for your buck,” Merrill said.
She said negotiations have been easy this time around because everyone knows where everyone else is at and where everyone needs to be.
There are at least two proposals one by the Democratic Finance Committee to securitize the surcharge on electric bills and Rell’s plan which takes money from 2010 and borrows $953 million to close the gap. Rell’s plan also uses a portion of the electricity surcharge, the Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency funds, and creates a quasi-public authority to run Bradley International Airport.
Other revenue streams mentioned this session include Keno, the lottery-type game played in restaurants, bars, and convenience stores.
While rumors that Keno was going to be part of the compromise mix, Rep. Cameron Staples, D-New Haven, said it wasn’t part of the negotiated plan.
He said he couldn’t say exactly how the rest of the mix of revenue is created before the House caucuses later today.
Rep. John Geragosian, D-New Britain, said the new plan cuts about $170 million and adds back some funding to a handful of programs, such as the Home Care for Elders program that prevents individuals from being placed in more costly nursing homes.
If the caucus goes well it’s possible the energy bill, where a consensus has yet to be reached, would be scrapped in an effort to get the budget done before midnight Wednesday.