budgets

Back-to-back news conferences by Democratic and Republican House leaders, given from the same podium on Thursday, showed a contrast in how both parties are responding to the politics of a deadly train crash that killed at least eight people and injured scores more.

Transportation funding was going to get plenty of attention this week in Washington — even before an Amtrak train derailed about 140 miles to the north.

This is National Infrastructure Week, so lobbyists, labor leaders and activists started swarming Capitol Hill on Monday, seeking funds for roads, bridges and other projects related to transportation.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman / Facebook

Governor Dannel Malloy and state Democratic legislative leaders are set to begin their budget talks this week.

Malloy's budget proposal came with big cuts to higher education and social services.  Democratic lawmakers released plans of their own last month, restoring many of those cuts and increasing taxes.

There was no good news for the state from its latest revenue numbers. The Malloy administration’s previous estimates for tax receipts proved optimistic, and an April reality check saw the budget office now projecting a deficit of almost $162 million.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The state legislature's Appropriations Committee made it clear this week that it does not want to fund two new charter schools in Connecticut.

Committee co-chair Senator Beth Bye said there are too many other educational programs that need money. So it cut about $21 million from the governor’s proposed budget that was supposed to be used to fund the new charters.

But the owners of the Stamford Charter School for Excellence went ahead and signed a lease anyway.

Veggies / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy issued his first veto of the session. The definition of a "spending cap" remains murky. And the former chief-of-staff to a former legislative leader pleads guilty to mail fraud. This hour on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, a look at the week's news from across the state, including the lack of a police response report from the Newtown tragedy. Also, a recent audit of the Hartford Police Department shows major problems with the ammunition supply and many questions remain.

We also take a look at the state of campaign finance. It has reached the point where even President Barack Obama is making jokes about it.

Adavyd / Creative Commons

Democratic leaders of the state legislature's Appropriations Committee unveiled their two-year budget Monday.

Connecticut’s fiscal crisis is making strange bedfellows. Two groups usually at opposite ends of the political spectrum came together recently, to ask legislators to think differently about saving for a rainy day. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Republican lawmakers have unveiled an alternate two-year budget that eliminates some of Governor Dannel Malloy's proposed tax hikes, while restoring or scaling back many of the social service and Medicaid cuts proposed in the governor's budget. 

Courtesy CT-N

State Treasurer Denise Nappier wants to shake-up the way Connecticut pays off its debt.
 Her proposal follows a sharp disagreement with Governor Dannel Malloy’s budget chief over the amount that should be set aside to service state debt in the upcoming two-year budget.

Photo Phiend / Creative Commons

Republicans at the state capitol hope to get out in front of their counterparts by releasing their own budget plan. But what influence will that have on the majority party? Will new casinos be part of the long-term plan?

At the national level, presidential candidates are balancing their budgets with trips to Connecticut's gold coast, including Sen. Marco Rubio who will headline a GOP fundraiser in Stamford on June 4. That's just a day after the legislative session wraps up, so there may be some tired lawmakers in attendance.

David King / Creative Commons

Dozens of Connecticut librarians rallied at the Capitol building in Hartford Wednesday to oppose nearly $4 million in cuts in Governor Dannel Malloy’s proposed two-year budget.

Don Harder / Creative Commons

The Board of Regents announced on Wednesday that the Meriden branch of Middlesex Community College will remain open, after the state legislature made an effort to block efforts to close it.

Chion Wolf

Legislators are complaining that they’re being stopped from getting advice from departmental commissioners as they attempt to formulate a budget.

A memo from Governor Dannel Malloy’s budget chief, Ben Barnes, told agency heads that they can provide only facts and data to legislators. They may not express opinions about the best way to achieve cuts. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last week, Comptroller Kevin Lembo forecasted a budget deficit of more than $170 million. Governor Dannel Malloy then issued another round of budget cuts, leaving few legislators happy. This hour, our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse discusses Connecticut’s on-going state of "permanent fiscal crisis."

Also, we check-in on some high-profile bills going through the Judiciary Committee. And state lawmakers are considering allowing more casinos in the state, but one town is already saying they don't want one.

Governor Dannel Malloy is ordering $13.7 million in additional mid-year budget cuts as Connecticut's current fiscal year deficit continues to grow.

Connecticut Senate Republicans / Creative Commons

Connecticut's fiscal future seems to be upon us and it's bleak. Last year, budget chief Ben Barnes said, "We have entered into a period of permanent fiscal crisis in state and local government." As lawmakers debate and discuss the state budget, they're learning that Barnes' quote was not hyperbolic.

On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, our panel discusses the on-going budget negotiations and what's on the cutting block. Also, another chapter in the John Rowland/Lisa Wilson-Foley scandal comes to a close as both were sentenced to prison time.

Diane Orson / WNPR

At least two groups are urging the Connecticut General Assembly to protect services that improve parent engagement and that help municipalities plan for early childhood education. 

Doug Kerr / Creative Commons

Connecticut's energy and environmental commissioner says budget cuts proposed by Governor Dannel Malloy could lead to reduced hiring, closing bathrooms at some state parks, and restricting trash collection.

Jessica Hill / The Associated Press

A new report says Governor Dannel Malloy's plan to save the state money by reducing the number of people on Medicaid will harm low-income families. 

Jeff Kubina / Creative Commons

Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun have been dominant forces in the gambling world since entering the market in the 1990s. With that success came revenue for the state of Connecticut. But neighboring states are getting in on the game, opening their own casinos seeking many of the same patrons. 

As Republican leaders in the House and Senate unveil their proposed budgets this week, here is the most important thing to remember about the federal budget: It isn't really a budget.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Already facing shortfalls in the budget he presented last month, Governor Dannel Malloy said Wednesday that it’s now in the hands of state lawmakers.

“The law is very clear, the budget I have to present is balanced, and it is balanced. We’ve met our legal requirement,” Malloy said, speaking on WNPR’s Where We Live.

Chion Wolf

The first few months of Governor Dannel Malloy’s second term as governor have been very, very busy. He’s rolled out major initiatives to take on our transportation problems, and to create a "second chance society" to change our system of incarceration, punishment, and re-entry after prison.

Malloy has also had to deliver a budget to lawmakers that includes deep cuts prompted by a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit. This plan has gotten criticism from social service providers on the left for cutting too much into vital plans, and from Republicans on the right for not cutting government deeply enough. There's even dispute about whether the budget is balanced or comes under the so-called "spending cap."

Mamata.mulay / Creative Commons

The legislature's transportation committee heard testimony Wednesday on two issues: highway tolls, and ways to ensure that all money deposited in the special transportation fund will go specifically for transportation improvement projects -- the so-called lockbox.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A miscalculation announced by state budget chief Ben Barnes this week has pushed over the state's spending cap by $54.5 million, putting the proposed budget in the red only a few days after it was announced by Governor Dannel Malloy.

creative commons

Governor Dannel Malloy announced his two-year budget plan last week, and everything has been a mess ever since. The proposed budget would hurt social services and cause potential layoffs at UCONN, a situation that drew star basketball players to testify at the Capitol.  

On Tuesday, we learned that a SNAFU with accounting sets Malloy's proposed budget more than $50 million over the state's spending cap for the next fiscal year. That might be more cuts. OPM Secretary Ben Barnes issued a formal (somewhat confusing) apology.  

DMahendra / Creative Commons

The head of a state-funded watchdog agency is wondering what proposed budget cuts could mean for the future of environmental oversight in Connecticut. In question is the future of the Council on Environmental Quality, which for more than 40 years, has monitored everything from air to wildlife conditions in the state.

It's a relatively small line item in the budget: about $180,000. That money funds two full-time paid positions at the CEQ. There's also a nine-member board that collects no salary.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's often said that the way Connecticut pays for public schools is one of the strangest and most complicated in the country. There have been lawsuits, task forces, and now, once again, the governor has said that he wants to give school districts the same slice of the pie they got this year. 

Joe Cirasuolo, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, said that he's happy the governor doesn't want to cut spending, but that education simply needs more.

Sage Ross / Wikimedia Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has proposed legislation requiring officials at nonprofit hospitals to disclose financial benefits they would gain if the hospital is bought by a for-profit entity.

The Journal Inquirer reports that Malloy's bill would require the disclosure as part of the approval process.

Pages