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Concerns are growing over $9 million in budget cuts to the Department of Children and Families that are part of Governor Dannel Malloy's rescissions to deal with a growing deficit. The cost savings align with a DCF goal to place fewer kids in group homes but critics say it's not always the best option. 

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Despite an improving economy, Connecticut could be facing budget deficits of more than a billion dollars over the next three years. 

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Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse brings together some of the best and brightest reporters to break down the week's news. As expected, the state budget faces a serious deficit and the Connecticut Mirror's Keith Phaneuf will explain what that means for taxpayers. Also, the Democrats will retain control of the legislature, but there are some intriguing young Republicans to watch - including a 20-year-old legislator! We will also remember Connecticut Judge John T. Downey, who died this week after an extraordinary life.

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Governor Dannel Malloy's budget chief says he plans to adhere to his boss's campaign promise not to raise taxes in Connecticut's new two-year state budget.

NBC Connecticut screenshot

Treasurer Denise Nappier met her Republican challenger on Wednesday night for their first and only debate before the November 4 election.

Nappier and Tim Herbst spent most of the 25 minutes attacking each other in the West Hartford studios of NBC Connecticut.

Salvation Army

The city of Hartford recently cut $100,000 from a homeless shelter as part of its effort to keep taxes down and avoid layoffs. Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said he's still hoping find money to undo the cut. 

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As New London gathers for its annual Sailfest, the operators of The Amistad say the famed schooner will no longer take part in the annual event.

The city of Springfield, Massachusetts has a budget in place for the fiscal year that begins July 1st.  The city’s elected officials are in agreement that following years of recession-forced spending cuts, the budget for fiscal year 2015 moves the city forward.

The $581.9 million budget recommended by Mayor Domenic Sarno was adopted by the Springfield City Council Monday night by an 11-0 vote with two councilors absent.  The vote wrapped up the least contentious budget season in the state’s third- largest city in recent years.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Toll booths have lots of bad connotations in the Northeast, and not just because of a the tragic accident in Connecticut nearly 30 years ago, which forced the closing of the toll booth.

City of Hartford

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has called his plan to move the New Britain Rock Cats to the capital city a "done deal." He's celebrated the plan as both good for Hartford's pride and for its pocketbook.

The city council doesn't necessarily have the final vote, however -- and not everyone likes it. 

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A bunch of numbers jump out when it comes to the proposed new minor league ballpark in Hartford. One of them is the jobs projection. 

City of Hartford

There are a lot of numbers that jump out when it comes to the proposed new minor league ballpark in Hartford – the 600 permanent, full-time jobs, the more than 9,000 seats, the 25-year deal, the $500,000 annual rent payment to the city. But there’s also the price tag itself. 

Governor Dannel Malloy signed the $18.9 billion state budget plan today, which was approved by lawmakers earlier this month. Malloy also vetoed two bills. The Democratic-controlled legislature approved the bill on the final night of the legislative session in an agreement with Republicans to assure passage of another environmental bill.

Senator Announces Proposed Federal Gas Tax Increase

A White House official said Thursday that President Obama will tap San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to become housing secretary and Shaun Donovan, his current housing chief, to run the budget office.

A formal announcement is scheduled to be made on Friday afternoon.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

With the state's legislative session now over, Governor Dannel Malloy met with reporters to discuss which bills were passed, and which weren't. Malloy told reporters that he got most of what he asked for in this short session. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

There are just hours left in the 2014 legislative session, which means it’s time for lawmakers to start cramming in bills. This hour, we discuss the messy state budget with The Connecticut Mirror’s budget guru Keith Phaneuf.

We also talk about Freedom of Information, something that was changed in the closing minutes of the last session.

The state Senate approved a $19 billion annual budget over the weekend. It postpones three tax breaks for shoppers and retired teachers as the state's surplus dissolves in the state’s sluggish economy. Democrats rallied around the package that provides funding for public education, housing, after-school programs, social service needs, and transportation infrastructure. The budget now awaits Governor Dannel Malloy's signature.

Gov. Dannel Malloy / Creative Commons

The Connecticut General Assembly passed a budget this past weekend, which -- along with two other bits of legislation -- expands access to pre-kindergarten education. Advocates have said it doesn't reach the ideal goal of universal preschool, but it's an important step in that direction.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy announced a budget agreement on Friday which would not raise new taxes, and would deposit the smaller-than-expected $43.4 million surplus into the state's rainy day fund.

Broadly speaking, Malloy said that without a deficit, it's time to focus on future growth.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

If you had big plans for that $55 tax rebate that Governor Dannel Malloy announced in his State of the State address, think again.

This week, Malloy acknowledged this election-year plan was dead.

On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, our team of reporters will discuss the rebate, the 2014 race, Hillary Clinton's visit to UConn, and fracking legislation at the state capitol.

U.S Army

Connecticut's Lieutenant Governor joined her counterparts nationwide to express concerns over possible federal budget cuts to the National Guard. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy is reversing his proposal to give each taxpayer a $55.00 refund. The administration said revenue from capital gains taxes last year is hundreds of millions of dollars below what was expected.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Even Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra doesn't like the idea of selling more than $30 million in parking assets to balance his budget, but he said it's the only option he's got left. 

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Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. A train almost took out Senator Richard Blumenthal last week -- and yes, that really was a press conference about rail safety.

This hour, it’s The Wheelhouse, our weekly news roundtable. And Wednesday’s bearing down on us like a southbound Acela. 

For decades the National Guard has fought hard against the stereotype that it was the place to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War, or that it's a place to get college money rather than combat duty.

Guard leaders thought that after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq they had finally earned some respect. So it was a body blow when the Army's top officer, Gen. Ray Odierno, unveiled his plan on Capitol Hill to take all of the National Guard's Apache helicopters and move them to the regular Army.

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New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio has asked the state for help because the city is running out of cash, and won't be able to make its $1.7 million payroll this week. 

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The electronic lottery game keno could come to Connecticut after all. Keno surfaced at the very end of last year's legislative session as a way to balance the new two year budget. But earlier this year, when a $500 million surplus was announced, lawmakers distanced themselves from the bingo-like game, and a bill to repeal keno seemed like a done deal.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra presented a budget that increases taxes, cancels a class of police officers, and raises new money by selling off some of its parking assets. 

Heroin use is rising at an alarming rate here in Connecticut and in the northeast. According to U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty, 257 state residents have died from heroin overdoses, many in her district, which covers Torrington and Waterbury. Thursday, Esty met with the mayors of those two cities, along with law enforcement and public health professionals to explore options to combat the problem.