Budget bartering going into overtime

- FILE - Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford (WTNH / Mark Davis)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The pressure is on at the State Capitol to try to reach a state budget deal by Friday the 13th.

Many communities will face dire financial situations by Nov. 1 and any change in the federal Medicaid reimbursement formula must be submitted to the feds by Oct. 15.

Bartering is what’s going on. A lot of, “we’ll accept this if you’ll accept that.”

Governor Malloy put it this way, “We are hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars apart and so….I want there to be an agreement by next Friday…there’d have to be a lot of movement.”

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After meeting with the Governor and Republican leaders, the Speaker of the House had to leave for his other job as a high school football coach but was expected back at the Capitol for meetings expected to last well into Thursday night.

The Governor says the leaders have their assignments and are splitting into working groups on various issues.

The Speaker says one group is working on transportation funding. Democrats want a commission with the authority to impose electronic tolls. Republicans want no chance of tolls and say it can be done with the state’s existing bonding authority.

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Another group is working on education and municipal aid. That’s an issue imperative to keeping the city of Hartford from bankruptcy and many smaller communities from facing the need to issue supplemental Property Tax bills this fall to keep their school systems afloat.

Senate Democratic Leader Martin Looney met behind closed doors with his caucus for most of the afternoon on Thursday. The three Democratic Senators that voted for the Republican budget last month; Sen. Paul Doyle of Wethersfield, Sen. Gayle Slossberg of Milford, and Sen. Joan Hartley of Waterbury were all in attendance.

The Governor added, “It’s difficult for people to move these kinds of amounts of money around in a budget so I… don’t want to give a false hope.”

The leaders are expected to meet together Friday morning and report back to the Governor later in the day. Staffers are expected to work through the holiday weekend so that if a final deal can be reached a bill can be ready for the House and Senate on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

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