Latest News

Sales Tax Hike Possible

Legislative Democrats are talking openly about the possibility of raising the sales tax as a means to balance this year's budget.

The discussion comes as the two main budget writing committees near their deadlines and as the legislature as a whole faces $3 billion in deficits over the next two fiscal years. As part of the discussion on new taxes, the House Speaker is now saying the return of tolls to Connecticut highways is "inevitable."

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Second Chance

A new survey says Connecticut employers are overwhelmingly in favor of hiring workers who have been previously incarcerated. The poll findings are being released as the legislature debates whether to more forward with Governor Malloy's "Second Chance Society" reform measures.

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Malloy Standing by His Budget

Despite legislative efforts to find alternatives to Governor Malloy's budget, Malloy says he is standing by his original proposal to enact a new formula for school funding. He also says he will not allow the legislature to balance this year's budget using gimmicks.

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Business Incentives

A proposal to require outside review of state incentives used to attract businesses to Connecticut is once again up for consideration.

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Budget Debate

There is talk at the state capitol that many members are trying to plan their summer vacations around the idea that they may be stuck into special session to complete work on the state budget long after the regular session has concluded.

The challenge of producing a balanced budget this year is so difficult, political observers suspect any final deal will be crafted and agreed to behind closed doors in negotiations between the governor and legislative leaders.

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Open Data

A legislative committee is considering whether to put into law an executive order requiring state government agencies to make certain sets of data open and available to the public.

Codifying the practice into law would likely improve data sharing by state government and make it easier for the general public, watch dog groups and policymakers to take advantage of large amounts of electronic data the state controls - which could in turn lead to new ideas to more efficiently manage state and local government.

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Toll Debate Open

The legislature's Transportation Committee has advanced a bill that would bring electronic tolls to some state highways.

Tolls were eliminated from state roads in the late 1980's over safety concerns and the legislature has been reluctant to bring them back because they are seen as an new form of taxation. The state's chronic shortfall in funding is driving the debate to reconsider the issue. Some lawmakers believe tolls are the only way to raise the revenue needed to maintain Connecticut's highways and bridges.

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Tolls?

In the middle of a legislative session dominated by debate over the state budget, the influential Hartford Business Journal editorial page is arguing in favor of the re-institution of tolls on Connecticut highways.

The paper says it is the only way to re-build the state's roads and bridges and invest in the transportation projects of the future.

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Time Running Out

In an op-ed on the CT Mirror's Viewpoints page, David Walker, the former U.S. Comptroller General, says he sees positive signs as Connecticut considers its budget. But he also says, time is running out on sensible solutions.

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Extension

For weeks there have been rumors at the state capitol that the depth of Connecticut's budget challenges may force the legislature into a summertime special session. Any delay would make it difficult for local governments to plan their budgets.

There is word today that the governor and legislative leaders may pass a special act to give cities and towns more time to complete their budgets while they wait for the legislature to determine local aid formulas.

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Is It Time for Regionalism?

With few good options available to balance budgets, necessity may force the legislature and Connecticut cities and towns to embrace regionalism.

The concept of cost sharing between local governments is one of the founding principles behind CT21. Veteran reporter Tom Condon looks at the issue for the Connecticut Mirror.

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Budget Forecast

Comptroller Kevin Lembo says the state budget remains "marginally in the black."

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