Still another snag in budget stalemate

- FILE - Connecticut State Capitol (WTNH)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — State lawmakers were preparing to go back into session later this week to pass just one element of the state budget. But on Tuesday night, that has hit a snag and it is all but certain now that there will be no budget in place on Oct. 1 as the Governor’s promised veto of the Republican budget plan is expected on Wednesday.

It comes as more Connecticut residents, facing the uncertainty of no state budget, came to the Capitol Tuesday to plead with lawmakers and the Governor to pass something.

“For families with disabled kids like my daughter’s age, that urgency has been there every day for the last two years. It’s felt like being tied to the tracks with a train barreling down at you,” said Doug Jacoby of Weston outside the Legislative Office Building.

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Jacoby was one of dozens of family members with adult children with intellectual and developmental disabilities which helped again to put a human face on this budget stalemate. The heartbreak for them is that all of the proposed budgets have funding for the programs they need. However, the one that passed will be vetoed by the Governor, and the one the Governor wants doesn’t have enough votes to pass.

It is clear that the state will go past Oct. 1 with no budget. The Governor says cities and towns have enough cash to hold on a few more weeks, stating, “It appears to us that most cities and towns will have the wherewithal to operate through the month of October.”

Legislative leaders from both parties had their first face-to-face meeting since the Republican budget passed the House and Senate 11 days ago and were prepared to go back into session on Thursday or Friday to pass the hospital tax element of the budget that the hospitals and Republicans and Democrats have agreed to. It changes Medicaid reimbursement rates so both the hospitals and the state make out. But even this has hit a snag.

“There hasn’t been a definite answer as to if and when we will go in to deal with the situation,” said the House Minority Leader Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) following Tuesday’s meeting. The Senate Democratic leader, Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven) added, “There is some ongoing discussion with the hospitals that would suggest some refinement to the language that we adopted that was in both the Democratic budget and the Republican budget that was adopted last week.”

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The Governor’s office wants language included that makes certain that longstanding litigation by the hospitals against the state is avoided. His office stated, “It would be in the state’s best interest and, quite frankly, the hospital’s best interest, particularly on the attorney’s costs side, to reach a comprehensive agreement.”

All sides have agreed to meet again on Wednesday.

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