State Budget Debate Probably Headed To Extra Innings
HARTFORD, CT — Tuesday was only the second time in two weeks that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy met with legislative leaders to discuss plans to close the two-year, $5.1 billion budget deficit.
The hour-long meeting ended with all parties agreeing to get back together on Thursday, but few other details were shared because there wasn’t much to say.
The sides are still far apart and their plans are in various stages of completion.
“Another good meeting,” House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, told reporters after exiting the governor’s Capitol office. “We’re going to continue to work. Staff will get together tomorrow.”
The legislative session is scheduled to end June 7, but the fiscal year doesn’t end until June 30 so lawmakers on all sides believe they still have time to reach an agreement. It looks less likely that they will be able to pass a budget by June 7.
Senate Republican President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said a decision about whether they can actually get to the finish line will be made early next week.
Fasano said he thinks the General Assembly will be going into extra innings.
“I think we’re going to end up doing a special session,” Fasano said.
There’s also a question about whether to “run it without the union’s vote,” Fasano said, referring to $1.5 billion in labor savings that are part of the fiscal year 2018 and 2019 budget.
Each caucus has assumed the state employee unions will ratify $1.5 billion in concessions. However, the rank-and-file union members won’t wrap up their voting on the package until mid-July.
Malloy pointed out that if labor doesn’t approve the agreement, then Republicans and Democrats will have to come up with “hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in additional cuts.”
Asked if everyone was getting along, Malloy said, “I’m not fighting with anyone. You should take that up with others.”
Malloy said lawmakers are not agreeing with one another, but “nothing was thrown.”