Connecticut Legislature going overtime to approve budget

From Transport Topics.

Knowing that they wouldn’t be able to approve a budget before the midnight May 4 deadline despite reaching a tentative, $19.75 billion agreement with Gov. Dannel Malloy the previous day, Connecticut lawmakers voted to schedule special sessions to do so. The Senate will reconvene May 12. The House has yet to set a date to vote on a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

“As a matter of democracy and fairness to all the members of the House, it is not possible to do a budget this evening,” Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) and Senate Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz said in a joint statement. “The time it took to reach an agreement, combined with the challenge of staff to physically get a printed bill to the floor, and then achieve passage, would likely require a cutoff of discussions.

“That scenario would not be fair for the purpose of allowing a complete and reasonable debate, and at this point would be a disservice to House members and the public they represent to move forward tonight.”

Joe Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, told Transport Topics that his group opposes the Legislature’s proposed $50 million cuts to the state’s transportation fund.

“The governor had pledged that taxes and fees would not be increased until we had a [constitutional] lockbox, and we don’t have one, but there are increases in oversize and overweight permit fees [for trucks] in the budget,” said Sculley, who added that Connecticut devotes the lowest share of its highway user fees to roads than any other state.