Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A sneak peek...

A week from tomorrow, Gov. M. Jodi Rell will unveil her proposed two-year state budget.. The governor has been, and continues, to keep things pretty quiet - remember last year's big surprise during her budget address to the general assembly where she proposed the elimination of the car tax?

This is, as has been in the case for several years now, another tough budget year for lawmakers in Hartford.

Tomorrow, at the state Capitol, there's an informational forum being held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. where representatives from various groups - organizations pushing specific legislative measures, the governor's office and others - will discuss what needs to be done and the challenges facing lawmakers in getting them accomplished.

At best, it may provide some insight as to what will be the top items that will become the focus of this year's budget negotiations. At worse, it may demonstrate just how difficult it's going to be in making any progress on any of these items.

The worse part of all of this is that cities and towns will likely come up on the short end once again.

This is the 'long session,' meaning the General Assembly session doesn't end until early June. That means cities and towns will have to wrestle with municipal budgets without actually knowing what the final outcome of state aid will be this year. Local communities begin drafting budgets in April, bringing them to residents for approval in May and finalizing the process in June - with fingers crossed that the guesses they make in the next several months are 'close enough' to what will become the reality later this summer.


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