Connecticut's budget a top issue for new legislative session - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Connecticut's budget a top issue for new legislative session

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The budget dominated last year's legislative session until the very end. (WFSB file photo) The budget dominated last year's legislative session until the very end. (WFSB file photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB/AP) -

Connecticut's troubled budget is expected to again be the top priority for state lawmakers as they return Wednesday for a new legislative session.

The fiscal year beginning July 1 is projected to have a roughly $1.3 billion deficit in the state's main spending account, which is typically about $18 billion.

While Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy isn't expected to unveil his new, two-year budget proposal until February, he's already asked state agency heads to come up with ways to further reduce their budgets.

Last session, the Department of Social Services took a big hit.

"When you sit here, budget after budget, and nothing changes for the long run, how to do you expect anything to change," said State Rep. Themis Klarides, republican minority leader.

Malloy and lawmakers are also expected to try and make Connecticut's business climate more competitive.

"I haven't ruled anything out. I never enter into negotiations saying I won't do this or I won't do that," said State Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, House speaker.

Legislators face a host of other issues. The list includes possible action on a proposed, third tribal casino and legislation allowing Connecticut to pool Electoral College votes with other states.

Hartford has it's own financial stress. One year ago, newly elected Mayor Luke Bronin was asking lawmakers to step in and help.

Now on the verge of bankruptcy, Bronin will again be urging lawmakers to do something.

"If Hartford wants money from us, we need to look at how Hartford operates, what are their salaries, their health care, their pensions," said State Senator Len Fasano, republican minority leader.

The governor's controversial plan to fund state pensions will more than likely be one of the first votes to take place.

Malloy will unveil his state-of-the-state on Wednesday.

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