Leaders Continue Working Toward Bipartisan Budget Deal
HARTFORD, CT — Legislative leaders met for about six hours Monday in a continuing effort to fashion a bipartisan budget proposal that will end the budget stalemate that’s lingered for more than 100 days.
They haven’t reached a deal yet, but staff on both sides said there’s been movement from both parties. What’s not clear yet is if Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and rank-and-file lawmakers will be able to stomach any deal that’s reached.
Staff for legislative leaders said Monday that people are considering positions they maybe wouldn’t have considered a few months ago.
The two sides are hoping to reach a universal agreement to take to the governor before the end of the week.
Malloy has said the two sides need to get a budget together before Friday if they want to get a budget passed before Nov. 1.
However, the pressure to get something together before Oct. 13 would lessen to some extent if they were able to reach a bipartisan deal.
It would allow lawmakers, like Rep. Caroline Simmons, D-Stamford, and Sen. Art Linares, R-Westbrook, to get married and enjoy their honeymoon without worrying about a budget vote. The wedding is Oct. 14.
Meanwhile, municipal officials have warned that at least three bad things will happen by the end of October without a deal in place.
At the end of September, North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda said they are looking at a supplementary tax bill, a “decimation of services” at the municipal level, and a reduction in education funding or borrowing from the rainy day fund, which will likely lower the town’s bond rating.
“We don’t have very much time beyond the third or fourth week of October before one of those three major decisions has to be made,” Freda said.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities made a last-ditch effort last week to prevent teacher retirement costs from being shifted to cities and towns by calling for a study, but it’s hard to see Malloy signing a budget that doesn’t change that dynamic in some way.
At a press conference last Thursday, Malloy said CCM is essentially asking for the state to “study this more as we make it worse.”
He said instead of studying the issue he’ll meet local elected officials halfway and propose cutting their state education aid in half and using it to fund the teacher pension fund.
“We won’t take any money from them, we’ll just give them a lot less,” Malloy said.