Senate approves two-year, $43 billion state budget; Gov. Lamont expected to sign

From The Hartford Courant.

The state Senate approved a two-year, $43 billion budget Tuesday night with Democrats hailing the plan as fiscally prudent and Republicans blasting the package as a bad deal with too many tax increases.

The 567-page budget, which passed in the House of Representatives late Monday night, closes a projected deficit of $3.7 billion over two years and funds a wide variety of programs. The spending increases of 1.7 percent in the first year and 3.4 percent in the second year are lower than in some past years.

After nearly eight hours of debate, the Senate voted 20-16 with two Democrats — freshman Alex Bergstein of Greenwich and veteran Joan Hartley of Waterbury — joining with the Republicans against the package.

The budget does not increase the rates of the income or sales taxes and includes no reductions in state aid to cities and towns. The budget would also expand the state’s 6.35 percent sales tax to include parking, dry cleaning, laundry and interior design services, but coin-operated laundries would be exempt.

See the complete article from the Hartford Courant online.