The state House of Representatives passed a budget on Friday and now heads to the governor. But it was little more than a political exercise, because it will likely be vetoed.
The House spent most the afternoon debating the budget bill. It raises taxes by $2.5 billion. There's a new 25 percent surcharge on corporate taxes, increased estate taxes, and a higher income tax rate that kicks for couples who earn more than half a million dollars a year.
It does not include some of the governor’s proposed cuts to Medicaid and college scholarships. But it would close two prisons, suspend payments into the fund for retired teachers and municipal employee’s health care, and cut some health and socialservice programs.
The Senate narrowly passed the same budget on Thursday, without the votes to override a veto.
Governor Jodi Rell says she won't sign their bill.
"The taxes in this budget are obviously very onerous. But to be perfectly honest with you, it's much, much more than the taxes."
She says there aren't enough spending cuts, and the cuts that there are lack details -- like a plan to raise $112 million by selling unspecified state property, or to save tens of millions of dollars by quote "enhancing agency outcomes."
If Rell does veto the bill, she will restart budget negotiations with lawmakers. She says her administration's ready to meet as early as this weekend --- but she's not yet willing to talk about raising taxes.
"I'm willing to talk about more spending cuts before I talk about revenue."
Senate President Don Williams says it is time for Rell to offer more politically palatable options.
“No proposal that the governor has made so far would get anywhere near the support needed in the House and Senate. So if the governor is not going to support this budget, what’s her proposal that would win a clear majority?”
The state's fiscal year ends on Tuesday, but the governor already has contingency plans in place if there's no deal by then.