HARTFORD – State Representative Steve Weir (R-55) voted on Monday night into Tuesday morning in favor of the state’s $51.1 billion biennium budget that honors the fiscal controls put into place in 2017 bipartisan budget by staying below the spending, bonding, and volatility caps.
One of the most notable inclusions in the biennium budget comes in the way of $800 million in tax relief over the biennium, something Representative Weir and his Republican colleagues championed last spring. While Monday’s budget doesn’t reach the $1 billion in broad-based tax relief proposed by Rep. Weir and his colleagues, it does contain the largest personal income tax cut in state history.
Additionally, it also includes $200,000 in DECD grants to AHM Youth Services in Hebron, $5.4 million in property tax relief for veterans, invests in education, increases to essential crisis intervention call responses provided by 211, additional funding for homeless shelters, a newly created ‘Fallen Hero’ account for families of a fallen officer killed in the line of duty, phasing out the income tax exemption for pension & annuity income and individual retirement accounts, and increases to the Earned Income Tax Credit for working families.
“In my first budgetary vote as a state representative, I was both surprised and disappointed to have had such a large and impactful document dropped into my lap at 3:00 a.m., the day it was expected to be voted on,” Rep. Weir said. After several revisions throughout the day, a final budget wasn’t presented to us until 10:30 that evening. While I’m always concerned with the amount of pork that is thrown into the spending plan, I am pleased to see that the tax relief my Republican colleagues have been calling for since last spring was included. I’m thankful for the great work that went into this bipartisan budget that funds so many of our critical services while also staying within the important spending, bonding, and volatility caps put into place.”
After careful examination by Republicans to the hiring frequency of state agencies, it was determined that millions in allocations were made for state jobs that were never ultimately filled. As a result of this analysis, a real-world approach to forecasting future state employee staffing levels was used to find a $200 million reduction in spending.
The final tally when voted on in the House of Representatives was 139-12. The budget has also overwhelmingly passed the senate 35-1. It now moves on to the governor’s desk for his signature.