Despite 'Arm Twisting,' Reed Votes to Support Republican Budget

The House passed the GOP state budget early Saturday morning

The House passed the GOP state budget early Saturday morning

Doyle called the vote "the most hard decision of my career", but said he felt that avoiding more $1.5 billion in tax increases was the right move for state residents, and he didn't care if it meant losing his Senate seat.

Feeding off momentum created by three Senate Democrats who surprised their leadership Friday by voting for the Republican budget, five House Democrats also crossed the aisle in support of the GOP plan early Saturday.

Doyle said he was not swayed by Democratic House and Senate members arguments over the past week that a vote against the Democrat-sponsored plan was an endorsement of Gov. Dannel Malloy's executive order that mandates hundreds of millions in spending cuts to cities and towns on October 1.

Paul Doyle, D-Wethersfield, Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, and Joan Hartley, D-Waterbury, all said the Democrats' $41.4-billion budget would have been bad for the state at a time when its economy continues to struggle.

The Republican budget got early praise from state business leaders at the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

Officials said the new budget plan includes a 49-cent monthly tax on the estimated 3 million cellphones in CT, a cigarette tax increase of 45 cents a pack and a decrease in the personal property tax exemption on state income tax forms, from $200 to $100.

Republican lawmakers objected to the tax and fee increases, but promised with hours of debate ahead of them to keep their commentary and questions short. "My leadership is furious with me and is churning out one amendment after another, hoping that one gets approved so that the bill has to go back upstairs to the Senate".

Senate Democratic President Martin Looney of New Haven warned that passage of the Republican bill will add to the state's budget woes because Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy has vowed to veto it.

Lawmakers were at the State Capitol until the early hours on Saturday
Lawmakers were at the State Capitol until the early hours on Saturday

"I just wish they at least had the decency to let us know prior to going out on the floor", he said. They say they were putting personal principles above their party. The plan is for the fiscal year that began July 1 and the year beginning next July 1.

With no budget in place, Malloy is now controlling state spending under his limited executive authority.

Connecticut Democratic Party Chairman Nick Balletto released a statement after the budget vote.

"Republicans worked so hard, producing a almost 1,000-page document of cuts, prioritized spending, and structural changes", she said in a press release.

The budget that emerged from the Senate includes $20 million in annual bonding and a $2.7 million payment from the banking fund that would finance a new program for crumbling foundations. The budget would eliminate part of the office, not the entire agency. The GOP proposal passed by 21-15 vote in the Senate.

Debate, meanwhile, continued in the House late into Friday night and early Saturday morning.

State House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said afterward that there needs to be bipartisanship in trying to craft.

The budget "appears to be a balanced and responsible compromise", Mr. Malloy said.

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