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Speaker: Not Enough Support for Pension Bills to Towns

Speaker: Not Enough Support for Pension Bills to Towns

HARTFORD — There is not enough support for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposal to shift $408 million in teacher-pension costs to Connecticut cities and towns, Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz announced Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters before the day’s business, Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, praised the governor’s attempt to force some costs on wealthier municipalities that pay teachers higher than others. But of the 76 Democratic votes needed to approve the plan in the House, only about 42 lawmakers come from the cities such as Bridgeport, which would benefit.

“It’s not enough to pass the budget,” Aresimowicz said. Democrats currently hold a 78-71 edge in the House, pending two special elections. The Senate is tied at 18 Democrats and Republicans.

“The governor proposed some pretty aggressive changes to how we fund municipalities,” Aresimowicz said, stressing that he told the major groups representing towns and cities, the Council of Small Towns and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities not to expect major changes in state aid, which has remained constant since 2002


Additional aid is questionable back to top

Aresimowicz said he warned Bridgeport not to plan on receiving an additional $19 million in education funding from the governor’s budget.

“I told them that was a mistake, that this would be a process that would work its way through and we would give them as much guidance as it played out,” Aresimowicz said in his Capitol office.

Aresimowicz and House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, said they expect the key budgetary committees next week to agree on a two-year, $40 billion budget that would take effect July 1.

Aresimowicz described the budget’s current status as “very fluid.” Malloy’s plan includes $700 million in concessions, on top of similar givebacks attained during a protracted negotiation in 2011, the governor’s first year in office.

Malloy, when he announced last week that he would not seek re-election, was pessimistic over the status of union talks, stressing that he is resolved to order 4,200 layoffs of state employees if negotiations fail.

“What we want to come out with, when we come out with our budget, is a five-year plan of growth in the state of Connecticut,” Aresimowicz said. “The governor was handed a deck of cards that none of us would have wanted to play out over the last six years. He deserves a lot of credit for what he’s dealt with and he’s dealt with it in very difficult times.”