HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut residents that are really starting to feel the financial pinch of this budget stalemate were at the Capitol on Tuesday while the leaders are trying to put the best face they can on their negotiations.
“At this time, I don’t see the way where… that we don’t come to an agreement,” said Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) the Speaker of the House following the latest bipartisan talks on Tuesday. Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven) the Republican Senate President Pro tem added, “We’ve had great conversations and we’re each time the conversations get us closer and closer together, in my view”
Despite that rosy view after another full afternoon of negotiations, inside sources in the budget talks are saying Republicans and Democrats are not really that close. The statement made on Monday by the Speaker of the House that the sides were about $100 million apart has been disputed by others.
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They spent much of the day trying to reach compromise on school funding. Both sides do agree that the Governor’s Executive Order denying any funds to dozens of towns must be avoided.
The picture was anything but rosy at the other end of the Capitol Complex in the Legislative Office Building. Pamela Hunt of Norwich, with her severely disabled son by her side, saying, “My son needs to have numerous daily diaper changes, bed and tub baths, continuous suctioning to prevent aspiration.” Pamela brought her son Yehoshua to the Capitol because she will lose Medicaid coverage under the HUSKY insurance program under all the current proposals.
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Other low income elderly and disabled residents were also at the Capitol on Tuesday pleading for lawmakers to restore about $100 million in funding to the Medicaid program that helps to pay for Medicare Premiums and co-pays for medical visits. It’s estimated that these cuts will impact thousands of Connecticut residents such as Elaine Kolb of West Haven, who said, “It’s more than 77,000 of us that are essentially being tortured. It’s terrifying. It’s painful.”
A source very close to the negotiations tells News 8 that this funding is very unlikely to be restored because it’s expense is close to $100 million and they just don’t have it.