Gov. Malloy and fellow Democrats at odds over state budget - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Gov. Malloy and fellow Democrats at odds over state budget

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Governor and lawmakers are expected to meet about the budget process. (WFSB) Governor and lawmakers are expected to meet about the budget process. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB/AP) -

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his fellow Democrats in the General Assembly are at odds over how to fix the projected $922 million deficit in next fiscal year's approximate $20 billion budget. 

The majority Democratic leaders skipped a closed-door meeting with the Democratic governor on Tuesday. Malloy only met with the minority Republican legislative leaders.

"They made the decision to not be in the room, which I think was an irresponsible decision on their part but we are going to continue to have those conversations," said House Republican Minority Leader Themis Klarides.

The disagreement comes as the legislature's May 4 adjournment looms.

Last week, Malloy released a revised budget proposal, however, the controversial plan is expected to make a dramatic impact on thousands of state workers.  

Malloy, who spoke exclusively with Eyewitness News, said he knows this budget isn't popular, but said it's the right thing to do for the state of Connecticut.

"It's not their fault, but it's a $900 million issue. Only about 25 percent of that will be represented in worker layoffs,” Malloy said. “There's a lot of other things we have to do to get the budget in balance."

Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey called the governor's recent budget proposal a personal hit list and public enemies list.

Senate President Martin M. Looney said "there are many elements in the Governor’s plan that we do not support and that could not be a starting point for discussions."

“Democrats in the General Assembly are working on a $920 million plan and further talks would not be productive until we have specifics to reach that number. We are willing to work in good faith with Republicans and the Governor to balance our budget," Looney said in a statement on Tuesday.  “Republicans want to have it both ways. They criticize Democrats but are content to sit in meeting after meeting without a plan of their own. The Republicans have shown no indication that they have a plan or a willingness to work on producing a balanced budget since they have rejected the Governor’s proposal and voted against the Appropriations Committee budget adjustment bill as well.”

Nearly 90 UConn Health Center employees are being laid off. So far 351 layoff notices have been filed for state workers. By the time it's all over, nearly 2,500 workers could be cut from the workforce.

Malloy said he doesn't take these job cuts lightly. He added that his colleagues on both sides of the aisle complain about the tough budget but said no one else has put up their own balanced budget plan to fix the problem.

Criticism of the plan, has already been heavy. Sharkey, who is a Democrat, said Malloy's plan couldn't pass the legislature.

"His proposal isn't feasible, would never get enough votes from either side of the aisle to pass and it offers no real basis for productive negotiations," Sharkey said in a statement on Monday. 

Connecticut Citizen Action Group said the governor’s budget calls for eligibility changes for Medicare users that would translate to 30,000 families losing coverage.

In a statement on Tuesday, Malloy said: “The intentions laid out by the Speaker today are literally the opposite of how I’ve tried to consistently move the budget conversation forward this year. I’ve put all my ideas on the table in the form of two balanced budgets. The Speaker has not put a balanced plan on the table, and now says he doesn’t plan to do so until the very end of session. I’ve faced difficult realities head on and made tough decisions, even cutting things that I’d rather not cut, like ECS.  I’ve said we can’t do this while still holding every line item sacred.  The Speaker is now saying we can somehow get to the bottom of a $900 million problem without touching any of the numerous priorities each of us have, and without raising taxes. I’ve invited input from legislators, local leaders, and the public via town hall meetings.  It appears the Speaker is now saying he will produce a budget with zero public input and hand his caucus and the legislature something to vote on in the waning hours of session. This kind of thinking is business as usual in Hartford. None of this is a recipe for a good budget, it’s a recipe for gimmicks and band aid solutions.  This kind of thinking has failed us in the past. This year, we need to do things differently. I want to reiterate that I am willing to meet with Democrat and Republican leaders to move this conversation forward.”

The new fiscal year begins July 1. 

Republican leaders plan to meet with the governor again on Thursday. Democrats said they won't meet with the governor until they produce a proposal, which they hope to do soon.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.  

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