Gov. Rell and the Democratic legislature today reached a tentative agreement on the budget which leaves out most of the governor's plans:
Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Democratic legislative leaders agreed Saturday to a one-year budget that abandoned a plan to abolish Connecticut's car tax, a centerpiece of the Republican governor's proposed budget.So the governor lost two of the major proposals she unveiled in her state of the state speech, while the Democrats lost two tax credits.
Rell also lost out on her proposal to phase out the state inheritance tax.
But the nearly $16.1 billion tax and spending plan, which takes effect July 1, axed some key initiatives the majority Democrats wanted, such as a $500 tax credit for low-income taxpayers and a new earned income tax credit program, Democratic leaders said.(AP)
Wait a minute. Did the Democrats just come out ahead of the governor on something?
See for yourselves. The budget increases the property tax credit, puts more money into the rainy day fund and the teachers' retirement fund, gives aid to cities and towns, and provides more funding for nursing homes.
Aside from the re-stocking of the rainy day fund and possibly the property tax credit increase, these are Democratic issues. The governor couldn't really get any of the things she wanted done. I don't see how this is good for her at all.
What's interesting about this is that in the past, Rell has been able to make compromises break her way. Stem cells, civil unions, public funding of campaigns and even the recent transportation bill have somehow ended up making the governor look good. She seems to dart around the edge of the General Assembly, pitching compromises at them, while fretting and fuming when they're too slow to react. This time, it seems like the Democrats actually caught up with her, and struck a deal more favorable to them.
Perhaps the Democratic leadership is finally starting to pull it together. Maybe Rell's standing with the legislature has been hurt by the Zarella scandal. Whatever the cause, it seems clear that Rell's influence over this legislature is starting to erode.
"Budget deal kills Rell's prized car tax elimination plan." Associated Press 29 April, 2006.