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While the Connecticut Office of Tourism’s $4.3 million budget is only slightly more than last year – and a far cry from the $15 million high in 2011 during then-Gov. Dannel Malloy’s first year in office – it’s still better than the $1 it was slashed to in 2010 by Malloy’s predecessor, M. Jodi Rell.
“Democrat leadership appears lost,” according to Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano.
The 45-year-old Santiago had been active in trying to clear legislative hurdles to building a casino in Bridgeport, and was in the midst of efforts to create a State of Connecticut Bank.
Tourism in the state currently contributes $14.7 billion in business sales, generates $1.7 billion in tax revenues and supports nearly 83,000 direct jobs and 121,000 indirect jobs.
Still looming: the effect of the Small Business Administration's closure. “We’ve got loans that have been approved or are in the process of being approved that are waiting for the SBA,” says Patriot Bank President Richard Muskus Jr. “The SBA had better be ready for a tidal wave of backlog.”
The legislators said that they anticipate to schedule a session of the Senate and the House to vote on the bill on Tuesday.
In an unusual move, the governor’s fellow Democrat, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, called on the General Assembly to override Malloy's actions when it reconvenes in the coming weeks.
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. In March, Democratic leaders in the Connecticut legislature anticipated the court's ruling when announcing plans to create a bill to bring sports betting to the state.
Even if a bill is ultimately signed into law, an electronic toll system would likely not become a reality on Connecticut highways until 2021 at the earliest.
While he expects a House vote on tolls to take place before the legislative session ends on May 9, Aresimowicz did not guarantee passage of the bill.
Which highways would have tolls, where they would be located, and how much they would cost drivers are among the questions yet to be answered.
“Connecticut has long been the land of steady habits, but the precarious fiscal condition that still plagues the state budget demands that Connecticut change key core public policies – now,” said CCM Executive Director Joe DeLong.
In light of a likely defeat of a proposed override of Gov. Malloy's veto, the House adjourned without voting on the issue.
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