(Updated) The House was behind closed doors Tuesday morning talking about how it will decide to borrow and pay back $955.9 million in Economic Recovery Notes. That’s $301 million less than the Democrats and the Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell had initially agreed to last year. And it resolves the last piece of the 2011 budget disagreement.
The worksheet lawmakers were given says it will make annual $136.4 million payments on the debt over eight years and it will take a bulk of the money from consumers’ electric bills.
It plans on using the $28.7 million or 35 percent a year of the Conservation Load Management fund and none of the Renewable Energy Investment fund, which helps fund investments in alternative energy like solar and wind. The Conservation Load Management fund comes from a surcharge on consumers electric bills and it helps fund energy efficiency audits that residents and commercial businesses use to lower their energy costs. It’s also the fund that’s helping create green jobs in Connecticut.
Jesse Stratton of Environment Northeast estimates that taking a portion of the fund to pay off the debt will cost the state 1,120 jobs a year.
The plan released Tuesday as a compromise between the Democrats and Rell also uses $107.7 million in annual surcharges set to expire for consumers of Connecticut Light and Power, United Illuminating and municipal electric providers.
By continuing the surcharge at 33 percent annually for each of the three utilities will help the state pay back a portion of what it intends to borrow over the next eight years.
Lawmakers didn’t seem happy with the compromise budget because of the decision to use 35 percent of the Conservation Load Management fund, while proponents say the amount will be offset with an $18 revolving loan fund for residents and businesses seeking to increase their energy efficiency.
The 2011 budget also sweeps $9 million from the Banking Fund, $8 million from Connecticut State University reserves, $5 million from the Citizens’ Election Fund, and $5 million from the Community Investment Act. It cuts about $171.6 million from the $18.93 billion budget adopted last year.