Legislative leaders target June 29 for budget vote

Connecticut State representatives at the Capitol (AP Photo / Jessica Hill)

HARTFORD, Conn.(WTNH) — With a deadline looming, legislative leaders at the Capitol say tonight there is positive movement in solving the state’s $5 billion red ink problem before July 1st.  They’re aiming to have a plan ready for an up or down vote by a week from tomorrow just one day shy of the new state budget year.

Legislative leaders are making it clear that if rank and file lawmakers won’t make the tough decisions the Governor will and they won’t get to pick and chose what gets cut.  “I think by far it was one of the best meetings that we’ve had. I think that we’ve had some good discussions,” said Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven) the Republican Senate President Pro tem, following the latest meeting of legislative leaders and the Governor.

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Legislative leaders are now targeting to bring back all state lawmakers next Thursday, June 29th, for an up or down vote on a plan to solve the massive red ink, incorporating the state labor concession deal and deep cuts in programs to get past the finish line before July 1st.  They’re making it clear that without legislative action, Governor Malloy will start calling all the shots himself; and making decisions without them on what programs get cut on a month-to-month basis.

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“We’re caucusing with our members tomorrow and we have another meeting scheduled for Monday, yes here. (at the Governor’s office)  So that bodes well for the process of having something by July 1st,”  said State Senate Democratic Majority Leader Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk).

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The leaders would not reveal any details about the plan they will show to rank and file lawmakers tomorrow but did say there is agreement on the ‘Car Tax.’  Last year the legislature capped the property tax on cars and trucks at 37 mills and promised the cap would be reduced to 32 mills this year.  That tax cut which would affect people mostly in the larger cities is definitely dead.

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Legislative leaders also say that the Governor has told them he plans an across the board cut of 17-percent in most state spending on July 1st if the legislature fails to act next week.  But the Governor says that will not affect those visiting and vacationing at the state parks, because he has determined they can remain open for the July 4th holiday week, “They will be open at least the early part of July. Revenue; parking revenue, the reservations, all of that covers the seasonal costs.”

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House and Senate Democratic leaders plan to take the temperature of their members in those caucus meetings early tomorrow afternoon at the Capitol and then confer with Republican leaders with the realization that the Democrats probably can’t pass a budget plan without Republican votes.

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