CT House budget talks collapse; Senate to convene at noon


The Hartford Courant reports that Democrats in both the House and Senate broke party lines to support the Republican plan. Gayle Slossberg from Milford, all voted for the Republican budget proposal during a debate that was anticipated to send a Democrat-sponsored budget to the Connecticut House. Representatives were in session until early Friday morning but went home without taking a vote.

The state's annual budget is about $20 billion a year, and lawmakers have been grappling with how to close an estimated $3.5 billion budget deficit over the next two years. Speaking on the Senate floor, Doyle said he had to do what he thought was right.

The Republican budget got early praise from state business leaders at the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

The GOP plan relies heavily on changes in state employee pensions after the current state union deal ends in 2027. "It's why I began inviting all legislative leaders - Democrat and Republican - into my office a year ago, well before this session began". "My leadership is furious with me and is churning out one amendment after another, hoping that one gets approved so that the bill has to go back upstairs to the Senate".

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, said that he asked two of the three if they'd made up their minds shortly before the Senate convened, and was told his colleagues were going to wait and decide after the debate finished. Hartford officials have said that city could be pushed to the brink of bankruptcy. "It's not a Democrat or Republican thing for me", House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said.

The series of events means the state will continue to operate under the executive order Malloy signed June 30, and revised in August, for the foreseeable future.

"That's not good for the cities and towns that I represent that's for sure", Larson said, adding that there are no plans for the Senate to reconvene prior to October 1, when the cuts are scheduled to go into effect.

"Republicans worked so hard, producing a almost 1,000-page document of cuts, prioritized spending, and structural changes", she said in a press release.

Democrats, who hold a one-vote majority over Republicans on the committee, voted 26-25 in favor of the revenue estimates over the objections of the minority party. She said it would lead to the closure of UConn Health and the elimination of several majors, graduate programs, many Division 1 Athletics programs and worldwide programs.

"This revenue plan is an indication that we're desperate", he added, citing the 49-cent cellphone tax as an example. The GOP proposal passed by 21-15 vote in the Senate.

"It relies on too many unrealistic savings, it contains huge cuts to higher education, and it would violate existing state contracts with our employees, resulting in costly legal battles for years to come", said Malloy, "if the responsible solution I negotiated with Democrats isn't going to pass, then it is incumbent on the legislature to reach a new agreement soon - one that is realistic and, ideally, bipartisan".

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy issued a mid-afternoon statement Thursday urging legislators to compromise and adopt the new budget.

Doyle said after the vote that he wants the legislature to "move forward with a bipartisan budget".

"But it isn't a shift for me".