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No Budget Vote On July 18

by | Jul 14, 2017 3:31pm
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Posted to: State Budget, Taxes, State Capitol

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House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz

HARTFORD, CT — (Updated 5 p.m.) Unable to finalize a bipartisan agreement, the General Assembly won’t be voting on a two-year budget July 18, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said Friday.

Aresimowicz had said at the end of June that they were aiming for a budget vote on July 18—the day after rank-and-file union members finish voting on the two year $1.57 billion concession package. The savings from the labor deal negotiated by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy would be included in the budget proposal.

There are still several unanswered questions about various proposals put forward by both Democrats and Republicans.

In a phone interview Friday, Aresimowicz said they’re continuing to go through the budget and meet with legislative leaders and the Office of Policy and Management to get more clarity on various proposals.

Some of the outstanding issues include an Education Cost Sharing formula, crumbling foundations, municipal oversight, sales taxes, and other revenue ideas.

“It is no secret that there is disagreement among Democrats on taxes and spending,” House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said. “We want to pass a budget that does not include tax hikes, but preserves vital social services, and does not burden towns and cities. Republicans are willing to go forth with an up or down vote.”

Aresimowicz said they’re trying to include more Republican proposals in their budget to see if they can’t get enough support for a bipartisan package, but he can’t say they’ve been able to reach a bipartisan agreement on much of anything yet.

Aresimowicz said Democratic lawmakers in the House are still expected to come to Hartford July 18 for a caucus, but there won’t be any vote. They will go over budget proposals.

“Talks with the Governor’s office, Senate Democrats, and Republicans have all progressed, and we remain focused on a bipartisan agreement to the current budget challenge, but that result is not going to be ready for action by Tuesday,” Aresimowicz said. “We will caucus with our members and give everyone an update on exactly where we are, and also gauge interest in potentially overriding any gubernatorial vetoes. The significant progress we made this week, gives me further confidence we will have a budget adopted by month’s end.”

House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, said he’s optimistic they will have a budget by July 31.

Senate Republican President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said it’s still “too early to tell” if Connecticut will have a budget by the end of July.

“I think they’re working on it in earnest,” Fasano said referring to the Democratic Party.

Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, was more optimistic.

“All of the parties have made significant progress,” Looney said. “We believe that it is realistically possible that a budget package could be voted on by the end of July.”

Kelly Donnelly, a spokeswoman for Malloy, said it’s regrettable that no budget has arrived at the governor’s desk. However, “we appreciate the clear intention from all caucuses to work in earnest towards that goal,” she added.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is expected to hold its annual veto session on July 24, which might provide another opportunity for lawmakers to gather in Hartford and vote on a budget.

Aresimowicz said they will discuss at least two of the four vetoes and see if there’s any desire to override them. He said there’s some conversation about the bill that changes Connecticut’s affordable housing laws and the one that would allow Bridgeport to build a thermal heating loop in its downtown district.

The House needs 101 and the Senate needs 24 votes to override a gubernatorial veto. The Senate Democratic caucus has yet to discuss Malloy’s vetoes.

Malloy has been overridden three times. His predecessor former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell had 16 of her vetoes overturned.

Editor’s note: This story mistakenly said Malloy had not been overridden when three of his vetoes were overridden in 2016.

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