CT lawmakers pass budget, but governor may veto

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides R Derby

Connecticut Lawmakers Eye Budget Deal to Close $3.5 Billion Hole

The move left local lawmakers resentful, and caused Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to promise a veto should the bill cross his desk.

CT lawmakers passed a $40.7 billion two-year state budget early on Saturday, but Governor Dannel Malloy could veto the legislation and leave the state racing towards severe spending cuts next month.

Bolstered by the defections, the Senate voted 21-15 to adopt the Republican plan, which now heads to the House of Representatives.

House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, a Democrat, said the budget would also provide enough money so that Hartford would be able to avoid filing for bankruptcy.

The GOP plan relies on changes in state employee pensions after the current state union deal ends in 2027.

"There's been significant interest, at least in our caucus, in trying to broaden the base" of the sales tax, Rojas said.

In a likely harbinger of the hard times ahead, Looney and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said they were ambushed, noting that the dissenters had told them they were uncertain of their intentions, yet all had prepared remarks explaining their votes.

Democratic Reps. Pat Boyd of Pomfret, John Hampton of Simsbury, Lonnie Reed of Branford, Kim Rose of Milford, and Daniel Rovero of Killingly all voted with Republicans on the final legislation. During the Senate debate, Slossberg said the Republican plan was more attractive because it had no new taxes. "I am very, very concerned we will not be able to sustain the program upon which this is built", she said.

Increasing the state's hospital provider tax from 6 percent to 8 percent would require the industry to pay an extra $344 million per year in total.

"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.

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, said he also had no idea how the three Democratic Senators would vote until they made their remarks on the floor. "I think they did it because they believe in this state, they're frustrated, and they're looking for a new direction", Fasano said of Friday's vote.

Eyewitness News reached out to the governor's office on Saturday.

Those new limits would reduce required pension payments by $119 million this fiscal year and by $151 million in 2018-19. "It's about doing what we can do to make the state a better place". But that hike would be eased by other funding provided to hospitals, officials said.

Bronin asked for an additional $40 million this fiscal year while the GOP plan adds $7 million in Education Cost Sharing funds.

"Obviously there are technical issues regarding the implementers and the volume of work that needs to be done", Looney said, referring to key policy changes that must be included in every budget to implement programmatic changes.

Some Democrats also object to the Republican budget because it reduces income tax credits for the working poor far more than the Democratic compromise plan does. When lawmakers failed to pass it by June 30, Malloy took emergency control of state spending. The state and teachers now pay the entire amount of retirement costs for teachers.

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