Gov. Lamont, lawmakers differ on how much to budget for COVID testing
Gov. Ned Lamont wants to devote a quarter of a billion dollars in federal relief funds to COVID-19 testing, but top lawmakers Monday proposed spending just a fraction of that.
Connecticut's COVID-19 infection rate is dropping fast, but that rate depends on people getting tested.
The state Appropriations Committee wants to dramatically slash the testing budget as part of their plan to spend Connecticut's share of federal relief money.
Lawmakers want to spend $215 million less on testing than Lamont.
With more people vaccinated, they say testing isn't as crucial. Connecticut is only administering half the tests it was in January.
Lawmakers also want to scale back the governor's broadband internet expansion and home visits for new parents.
So what do lawmakers want to spend relief money on?
The committee's plan calls for $260 million more than Lamont proposed for the state unemployment fund. The money would pay back federal loans and save Connecticut businesses extra unemployment fees. They also want to spend $50 million on a new equity fund to prevent inner-city violence.
It comes after a violent weekend in Bridgeport and a dramatic spike in inner-city murders across the state.
There is also $40 million for tourism.
"A dollar invested in performing arts or in tourism ripples throughout our restaurants," said state Rep. Patricia Dillon.
Connecticut is getting almost $3 billion from the American Rescue Plan.
Lawmakers will take their spending plan and Lamont's and come up with a compromise.