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A Cellphone Surcharge? It’s Just One Revenue Idea

by | Sep 13, 2017 4:29am
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Posted to: State Budget, Taxes, State Capitol

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HARTFORD, CT — In order to balance the budget Democratic lawmakers are negotiating with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, they will need to fill a hole that amounts to $87 million in 2018 and $133 million in 2019.

As of Tuesday night there was no definitive plan for how that would happen, however, sources confirmed they were exploring a $1-per-month surcharge on cellular phone plans.

Kelly Donnelly, a spokeswoman for Malloy, said that idea was presented.

“The administration has not committed to it,” she added.

It’s unclear how much the surcharge would raise in revenue, but it would likely be shy of the amount needed to fill the hole.

On Tuesday, Malloy encouraged anyone with revenue ideas to come forward and make their proposals public as quickly as possible.

The General Assembly’s Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee is expected to meet at 4 p.m. Thursday to adopt the revenue estimates, which is the first step the legislature must take in order to pass a budget.

The document will detail any tax increases and the policies behind them.

The revenue estimates were neither finalized nor available for review Tuesday night.

The General Assembly still expects to vote on a budget Thursday because that’s the last day this month that all the Senators are available to meet. Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown Sept. 20 and runs through Sept. 22, and Yom Kippur begins at sundown Sept. 29.

Malloy’s executive order, which legislators are racing to stop from happening, would go into effect on Oct. 1.

The consequences of that executive order, which includes 85 school districts losing state education funding, have motivated lawmakers to see certain budget details differently than they did earlier this year.

While Democrats work to come up with a deal, Republican legislative leaders said they will introduce the budget they unveiled Tuesday as a strike-all amendment.

Senate Republican President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said he hasn’t asked any Democrats to pledge any support for the GOP budget. He said they will have to make their own decisions.

“There are people in both chambers that have serious concerns,” House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said. “And it’s our obligation to give them the information we have.”

Democrats hold a 79 to 72 majority in the House and are evenly split with Republicans in the state Senate.

Fasano said that if the Democrats call their budget Thursday, then Republicans are prepared to call their budget as an amendment.

This is the longest the state of Connecticut has gone without a budget. It’s one of only two states that hasn’t adopted a budget for fiscal year 2018. The other state is Wisconsin, which had scheduled what was expected to be a marathon debate on a budget today.

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