HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Legislators from both political parties have been behind closed doors Wednesday. It comes as the Governor is warning that time is running out on a very key part of any budget solution.
This is the fourth day of bipartisan talks at the State Capitol, and everyone knows time is running out. Among the tough topics, agreement on a real state spending cap, the education cost sharing formula, and establishment of an oversight board to run the City of Hartford; which is teetering on bankruptcy.
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All sides are also pushing again to attempt a stand alone vote by the House and Senate on the Hospital Tax part of the state budget. The Governor said Wednesday that while legislative leaders are meeting, he is preparing his own budget plan so they can eventually compare notes.
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The Governor also says that the window for the state to apply to the federal government to change Medicaid reimbursements to the state’s hospitals is rapidly closing. It’s a key element in any budget solution, because with that change the hospitals have agreed to a hike in the Hospital Tax that would generate over $300 million a year. Without it; the state sinks further in the hole.
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The legislative leaders in this room are painfully aware of this key tax hike/revenue source. One that the Republicans have actually agreed to. Governor Malloy said, “We’ve told them that every day that goes on from October 1st on, everyday makes it less likely that that would be part of the solution.
One source says the total receipts from the Hospital Tax could actually be close to 700 or 800 million dollars over a two-year budget; so without it the 3.5 billion dollar deficit would balloon to closer to 4.5 billion.