Gov. Malloy announces new state budget changes

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NORWALK -

Western Connecticut homeowners taking a big hit under the new Republican tax law could get some help from Hartford.

The new federal law limits how much of one's state and local taxes can be deducted on a federal return. Instead of property taxes, Gov. Dannel Malloy wants to let residents make a "charitable" donation to towns.

The new plan also includes adding tolls by 2022, higher taxes on gas and cigarettes, and new taxes on restaurant meals, over-the-counter drugs and alcohol.

In return, Malloy is offering no new fare hikes on Metro-North. Dozens of road projects would be back on track as well.

"We were proposing a 10 percent fare hike on the New Haven line. We were proposing eliminating weekend and off-peak services on branch lines," says the governor's budget director, Ben Barnes.

State lawmakers return to the capitol Wednesday. They have to close a massive hole in the budget they just passed and find $85 million to avoid kicking more than 110,000 people off the Medicare Assistance Program.

"That's money they're going to have to find," Malloy says. "I think that's fair."

A new Sacred Heart University poll showed that 63 percent of residents are unhappy with the current state budget.

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