HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Following are highlights of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's two-year, $43.8 billion state budget presented on Wednesday.
— Exempts the first $20,000 of a vehicle's assessed value from the local property tax, starting July 1, 2014. Municipalities would have the option to impose the change on July 1, 2013.
— Reduces spending from current levels by $1.8 billion over two years, but still increases overall spending by 5.1 percent in fiscal year 2014 and 3.9 percent in fiscal year 2015.
— Budget remains $1.4 million below the constitutional spending cap in fiscal year 2014 and $91 million in fiscal year 2015, but only if lawmakers agree to change the rules for what's exempt from the spending cap. Such changes require a three-fifths majority of the General Assembly.
—While the budget includes no new taxes, it extends three expiring provisions. They include a 20 percent surcharge on the corporation tax, a tax on electric generators and a reduction in the amount of tax credits insurance companies can access.
— Restores the sales tax exemption on articles of clothing and footwear valued less than $25, beginning in fiscal year 2015. In fiscal year 2016, the threshold is expanded to the original $50 per article exemption.
— Creates a tax amnesty program in fiscal year 2014. The state expects to collect $25 million in additional revenue from people who owe back taxes.
— Creates a system where electric companies would bid on the right to provide the so-called "standard offer" for power, the rate automatically provided to customers who don't choose a specific company.
— Establishes a $200 million, ten-year program to boost the state's bioscience industry.
— Invests $1.54 billion in bond funds and $147 million in operating funds to expand science, technology, engineering and math disciplines at the University of Connecticut. Plan calls for enrolling an additional 6,580 students and hiring 259 faculty members.
— Spends an additional $152 million over two years on the Education Cost Sharing grant to local school districts.
— Boosts funding for charter schools by $1.8 million in fiscal year 2014 and $8.4 million in fiscal year 2015. The budget calls for one new school in the first year and three new schools in the second year.
— Spends $40.7 million in each year to create the Governor's Scholarship program to provide merit and need-based aid to Connecticut students attending in-state public and private colleges or universities.
— Phases out state payments to acute care hospitals to help cover the cost of uninsured patients. Payments are cut in half in the first year of the budget and phased out entirely in the second year.
— Creates a State Department of Aging by transferring staff from a special unit on aging issues and the Office of the Long Term Care Ombudsman.
— Proposes spending $136 million in new capital funding to create or rehabilitate more affordable housing.
— Creates a new Office of Early Childhood to oversee early childhood initiatives. Proposal to cost $370,000.
— Adds at least eight new schools in fiscal year 2014 and at least nine more in fiscal year 2015 to the new Commissioner's Network, a program that helps struggling school districts come up with plans to improve student performance. Currently four schools are part of the network.
Source: Office of the Governor