After about 20 different budget proposals since Gov. Dannel P. Malloy offered his in February, House and Senate Republicans, with three Democrats in the Senate and five in the House, narrowly backed a GOP budget Friday and early Saturday morning.
Largely because of surging retirement benefit and debt costs – which are fixed by contract – and declining income tax receipts, state finances, unless adjusted, would run $1.6 billion in deficit this fiscal year.
Klarides said her party still remains ready to sit down with Democrats and find a bipartisan solution to Connecticut’s budget crisis.
The three Senate Democrats expressed concern that their party’s deal omitted a package of 12 reforms they presented last spring.
Malloy also says that the education and municipal aid formula in the Republican plan has so many questions of fairness that he is certain it would end up back in court. Juan Hernandez, district leader of 32BJ SEIU Connecticut, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, said the budget plan “assaults the working and middle classes – as well as all women, the elderly, city dwellers, and college students.in order to protect the interests of corporations and the wealthy”. “I don’t think it’s good for the citizens of Connecticut”, Doyle said.
The House of Representatives is set to convene on September 14 with the goal being to vote on and pass a two-year budget. “They must be part of any budget that I sign into law”. “And I think most of us feel this way”.
Rep. Mary Mushinsky, D-Wallingford: “We don’t live on an island here, all the towns are interdependent”. In particular, Abercrombie expressed concerns about cuts in higher education funding and the elimination of a program that provides more aid to the state’s 30 neediest school districts. Hartford officials have said that city could be pushed to the brink of bankruptcy. Mark Ojakian, president of Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, said the suggested tax and spending plan would have a “profound impact” on CSCU students, who are nearly entirely from Connecticut and “overwhelmingly stay here after graduation”. “That level of cut is unprecedented and would be devastating for UConn, higher education in CT, and the state as a whole”.
Malloy added that “it is incumbent on the legislature to reach a new agreement soon – one that is realistic and, ideally, bipartisan”.
Malloy has frequently been critical of former Republican Gov. John Rowland for underfunding the pension and for laying off 2,000 employees in 2003, an act that resulted in the state reaching a $100 million settlement with state employee unions.
Those new limits would reduce required pension payments by $119 million this fiscal year and by $151 million in 2018-19. “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”, Malloy said of the GOP plan.
Rep. Hilda Santiago, D-Meriden: “It just doesn’t work”.
“This budget attempts to take away our freedom to negotiate our health care and our retirement security”, said Lori J. Pelletier, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO.
Trying to get Rojas to say the word “tax”, Rojas asked what policy the state would use to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in new federal Medicaid reimbursements. This budget would maintain current levels of funding for municipalities without raising taxes by making structural changes to state government as a way to cut spending.
The Republican budget also would raise more than $150 million over this fiscal year and next combined by slashing almost 60 percent of tax relief the state provides to poor working families through its Earned Income Tax Credit.
Malloy, a Democrat, told reporters Monday that he is willing to accept a budget that includes Republican ideas he does not like, but that Republicans must be willing to adopt some ideas they don’t like.