Trains, milk and still no budget

August 3, 2009

Another busy week in Connecticut politics.

In Hartford, Governor M. Jodi Rell informed state residents of a plan to expand regular Short Line East (SLE) service to New London. The Connecticut commuter rail has stations in New Haven (Union Station and State Street Station), Branford, Guilford, Madison, Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook and New London. The plan envisions two to three additional New London trains Monday through Friday and three additional trains Saturday through Sunday by the end of 2009, as mentioned on the Governor’s website.

Meanwhile, Governor Rell proposed a budget for the next two fiscal years. The proposal reportedly consists of increased taxes valued at $391 million, among which the state’s cigarette tax would go up from $2 to $3 per pack, a 10% tax increase in all alcohol taxes and a 10% surcharge in corporate profits tax only to companies that are profitable during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 calendar years.

Forecasting company HIS Global Insight has estimated that the State of Connecticut will return to pre-recession level after 2015.

In Washington, Connecticut Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman worked with their Senate Appropriations Committee colleagues to provide $19 million for a number of Connecticut projects. The funds will be used in the areas of health, transportation, labor, education and human services. Among these funds is the $4 million from the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act which will be used for the development of a New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail line which, supporters claim, will improve intercity and commuter services between the three metro areas. Foreclosure prevention assistance programs in Middletown ($200,000) and Stamford ($500,000) are also included. The bill hasn’t been voted in the Senate yet. A House version has already been approved by a 256-168 margin.

The two Senators from Connecticut are also working on passing the Energy and Water Appropriations Act of 2010 from which, provided that it becomes a law, Connecticut will reportedly receive more than $16.6 million. The bill passed the Senate Appropriations Committee and will be discussed in a conference committee of Senators and Representatives to work out a compromise bill.

The members of the Connecticut Delegation to the House of Representatives voted to preserve the jobs at Cheshire’s Pratt & Whitney where the F-22 Raptor is produced. The delegation sent a letter to President Barack Obama to consider the already voted abandonment of the F-22 program. The same members also wrote to the U.S. Department of Transportation in request to prioritize funding for high speed New England passenger rail projects for economic and community purposes.

The Department of Energy released $1.5 million for Apollo Solar of Bethel, CT. According to a press release, the funds – part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – will be focused toward the research and creation of new solar technology.

Friday was a good day for Connecticut dairy farmers, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture reportedly increased the amount paid for dairy products through the Dairy Product Price Support Program (DPPSP) by about 15%-25% across the board. USDA expects a price increase of all milk products, which will result in the government’s purchasing additional 150 million pounds of non-fat dry milk and additional 75 million pounds of cheese, as reported on Representative Rosa DeLauro’s (D – 5th District) website.

$4.8 million from the COPS Hiring Recovery Program from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will reportedly go to Bridgeport for hiring and retaining 20 police officers over a three-year period. Also, a little more than $4,25 million will be used for the same purpose involving 23 police officers in Hartford. Mayor Bill Fitch, Congressman Jim Himes (D – 4th District) and Congressman John Larson (D – 1st District) announced the good news.

With the help of Congressman Himes, Bridgeport may also receive $700,000 in federal money through its Total Learning Program run by Action Bridgeport Community Development, Inc. (ABCD). The money in the Labor, Health and Appropriations Act will be used to improve the Bridgeport school system and make it accessible to more children. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives and will be voted in the Senate.

One Response to Trains, milk and still no budget

  1. Not every tax is bad « Evolution is the key! on October 30, 2010 at 1:19 am

    [...] tax base, and raising the cigarette tax to $3.00,” among other things. While Governor Rell had really proposed tax increases on alcohol, cigarettes and profitable companies in her budget plan, she had had months of [...]

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