- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Following are highlights of the $19.8 billion budget proposal Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy presented to the General Assembly on Wednesday, the opening day of the 2016 legislative session:

- Reduce grants for mental health and substance abuse treatment programs by $15.8 million.

- Change the form and presentation of the state budget in various ways. For example, he wants to consolidate most appropriations for state agencies into a single account. While the governor contends such a change will provide flexibility to agency heads, some lawmakers are concerned it’s an infringement on legislative branch decision-making.

- Fund state higher education with block grants. Malloy also wants to create a $2.3 million incentive fund in the Board of Regents to reward state colleges and universities that help low-income students succeed.

- Increase funding for on-going Metro-North commuter rail safety and maintenance initiatives by $6.1 million.

- Launch bus service between Waterbury and Torrington.

- Close another prison, wings and annexes in fiscal year 2017. As of Jan. 1, the total inmate population was 15,500, down more than 600 offenders from the same time last year.

- Reduce municipal aid across-the-board, with the exception of the Education Cost Sharing grant, by 5.75 percent, the same amount being cut from certain state agencies. Malloy said municipalities will benefit from planned municipal aid increases adopted last year, but the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is skeptical about the proposal.

- Create a competitive grant program for arts, tourism and other community grants.

- Borrow $181 million for renovations and a new parking garage at the State Office Building in Hartford.

- Eliminate funding for certain adult education pilot programs and alternative high school and adult reading incentive programs.

- Increase tuition for the Police Officer Standards and Training’s Basic Training program from $1,500 to $2,000 per recruit.

- Eliminates funding for certain tourist-related entities including the New Haven Symphony, OpSail and the Connecticut Grizzlies, a premier girl’s lacrosse program in lower Fairfield County.

- Eliminates financial support from the Department of Public Health for community health centers.

- Convert 30 state-operated group homes serving Department of Developmental Services clients to private operation during fiscal year 2017.

- Close the Southington and Willington (eastbound) rest areas and the welcome center in Westbrook.

- Reduce burial benefit for the indigent from up to $1,400 to $1,000.

- Reduce funding for UConn and UConn Health Center by $31.2 million combined, which UConn President Susan Herbst described as “terrible” for the university.

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Source: Office of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and UConn Office of Communications.

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