On February 3, the Connecticut General Assembly will convene for the 2016 legislative session. This year will be a short session which concludes May 4. Short session is intended for mid-year revisions to the second year of the two year budget. Due to recent shortfalls in the current budget year, we expect a spill-over effect heading into this year’s session. Over the summer there were a lot of concerns expressed from the business community, mental health organizations, and hospitals about how the budget is having damaging effects on the state. The 2015 year ended in a deficit of 113.2 million dollars, according to Comptroller Lembo, and currently there is still an expectation the 2016 year will end with a surplus but that surplus is shrinking due to market volatility. DNB expects the budget to be the focus of the next legislative session, many members of the business community are already meeting to discuss their legislative agenda.
In the 2016 session individual legislators are only permitted to submit bill proposals regarding the budget, over the past few years we have noticed this rule has been more relaxed. Committees are still permitted to put forth Committee Proposals, but we expect the number of bill proposals to be significantly less than last year.
Legislators are also anticipating the upcoming fall elections. Throughout the session we will hear about upcoming retirements and new challengers. Legislators will look to defend their voting history and ensure they are on record about why they supported or opposed key legislative proposals. DNB expects many legislators to discuss how the 2015 budget is affecting their constituents and fight for restoration of local line items.
The Dynamics between the Republicans, the Democrats, and the Governor will be stressed, with everyone having a different solution to solving the budget deficit. DNB expects Governor Malloy to stand by many of the cuts and tax programs he initially proposed, and the appropriations committee to seek to restore some funding to the hospitals and restore many of the Medicaid cuts.