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No End In Sight For Budget Negotiations

No End In Sight For Budget Negotiations

CT News Junkie, June 14, 2017

by Christine Stuart

Legislative leaders say they remain hopeful they will reach a budget compromise by June 30, but there was little if any substantial progress made during the most recent closed door budget session.

Senate Republican President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said his gut tells him that they will go beyond July 1 before they have a two-year budget, even if they continue conversations.

“How much past July 1? I don’t know,” Fasano said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told legislative leaders Tuesday that he would release a set of principles that would help guide how he manages the state without a state budget—an increasingly likely scenario.

“There are thousands of decisions that are made in a budgetary document,” Malloy said Tuesday. “I will speak to the issue of how we will make those interim decisions without such a document.”

The last time the state went beyond June 30 without a two-year budget in place was 2009.

Former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell vetoed the budget lawmakers sent her on July 1, 2009 and issued two executive orders. One on July 30 and another on August 11 .

In 2003, former Republican Gov. John G. Rowland also vetoed budgets and a continuing resolution passed by the Democrat-controll General Assembly. That year Rowland signed a series of five executive orders  (29, 29A, 29B, 29C, and 29D) in response to the lack of a budget.

“What I want to do is protect the state from expending too much money,” Malloy said. “With the appreciation that this is a very tight budget.”

Last week Malloy said “If the Republican budget had been passed I would have vetoed it. If the Democratic outline passed I would veto it, so at some point we’ll have to find a budget we can agree on.”

 

A lot of questions remain back to top

In the meantime, there’s a lot of questions Malloy would need to answer without a two-year budget agreement in place. How much municipal aid would be given to cities and towns and would layoffs proceed absent an agreement with labor?

Malloy said he’s unable to answer the question about municipal aid since there are various grants that go out to cities and towns on a monthly and quarterly basis.

As far as labor is concerned, Malloy said he didn’t believe he would have to move forward with layoffs if the executive boards of the unions agreed to their renegotiated contracts for wages. That’s suppose to happen later this week. The union vote on the health and pension portion negotiated by the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition is expected to happen later this summer.

Fasano and Republicans have been critical of Democratic legislative leaders for not having a line-by-line budget proposal.

Malloy said it’s his understanding Democrats in the House and Senate are “actively working on that.”

Malloy said he wishes they would pass his budget and send it to him. However, legislative leaders still can’t find agreement on some of Malloy’s proposals that would reduce the $5 billion the state gives to cities and towns.

Legislative leaders and Malloy are expected to get back together before the end of next week.

Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, and House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, were not in attendance. Looney was preparing for surgery and Aresimowicz was “unavailable,” according to his spokesman.

Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, sat in for Looney Tuesday and was happy to spar with Fasano during a question and answer session with the media.

Osten and Fasano traded barbs over the state employee concession package and the fiscal health of the UConn Health Center, which is running a $59.4 million deficit.