By KEN DIXON
Republican leaders of the General Assembly on Tuesday offered an alternative budget that would exempt retirement income from Connecticut taxes and restore the $200 property-tax credit.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides of Derby and Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano of North Haven said they intend to introduce their proposal on Thursday.
Democrats, facing an October 1 deadline to avoid the extension of the governorâ€™s bare-bones executive order, intend to debate and vote on a two-year, $39-billion-plus budget to avoid a fourth month without a spending-and-tax package in place. Republicans want the chance to offer their own, as an amendment that would include ways for towns and cities to save money.
â€śWe need to allow towns more control over their destiny,â€ť Klarides said. â€śWe have a no tax increase, balanced budget that we want to run on Thursday. None of us want October 1 to come with the governorâ€™s draconian budget cuts.â€ť She said that spending caps, limits on long-term debt and a revised transportation-investment are key proposals. â€śI donâ€™t know any of us who wouldnâ€™t support a billion-dollars being put into transportation. The problem is we donâ€™t have a billion dollars. We donâ€™t have a billion cents.â€ť
The GOP plan would also phase out the state tax on hospitals over five years; and allow the owners of the Millstone nuclear power plant to pay a $85-million application fee in order to compete for consumer contracts. â€śMillstone put that on the table,â€ť Fasano said, stressing it was not the original idea of Republican lawmakers.
Fasano and Klarides told reporters during an afternoon news conference that they have heard informal support from some Democrats. The new fiscal year began on July 1, but lawmakers have been grappling over ways to bridge a project deficit in excess of $3 billion. Democrats last fall proposed exempting retirement income from taxes, but the rising budget deficit resulted in them dropping the idea until state finances imporoved.
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