Rell's proposed $35.8B budget is good news for schools across CT

Governor Jodi Rell (R-CT) unveiled her budget proposal Wednesday and it's good news for schools across Connecticut.

Rell is calling for a $3.2 billion increase in education spending over the next five years. Among her proposals, she wants to focus on college scholarship funds, more money for special education and more preschool and early childhood programs. Rell says every community benefits under her plan, especially Bridgeport, which stands to receive $85 million more a year for education.

Rell is also proposing funds to buy 24 rail cars in addition to the 342 that are already in the works. She would also like to set aside $35 million to build a new parking garage at the Stamford Transportation Center and $5 million for capital improvements to existing rail stations.

To help pay for the aggressive plans, the governor wants to increase the state's income and cigarette taxes. Rell would raise the income tax rate to 5.25 percent in the first year and then 5.5 percent in the second year. She would raise the cigarette tax to $2 per pack. The current cigarette tax is $1.51.

The final budget is due by the end of the session in June.

Click here to see southwestern CT lawmakers? reaction to Rell?s proposed budget.

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