Tension mounts over CT budget - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Tension mounts over CT budget

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Tension continues to mount amount state lawmakers over budget. (WFSB) Tension continues to mount amount state lawmakers over budget. (WFSB)

Connecticut lawmakers were working at the State Capitol on Friday in the final days of the session.

Democrats said they were finding it harder to get bills passed, now that Republicans have more seats and carry more weight.  

"They said they wanted to lead. They told the voters in the state of Connecticut give us more seats and we will be at the table,” House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said. “And you know what we have heard, we will offer no votes."

Aresimowicz said he is frustrated and not too happy with how Republicans are handling the legislative session.  

"When you don't have the luxury like they have had for 38 years and they don't have those extra 10,20, 30 votes to pass our budget - no votes to spare and they don't have that anymore and that's why they are having difficulty,” Minority Leader Themis Klarides said.

Some of that tension is playing out with tolls, which has a lot of support, but not enough. As of Friday afternoon, lawmakers were a few votes shy of getting tolls to pass.

"Over 60 percent of those who use our roads, don't fill up for gas,” state Rep. Tony Guerrera, who is the co-chair of the transportation committee, said. “They drive right through and don't spend a dime. And yet you and I and everyone else has to pay to fix those roads."

Republican State Rep Tom O’Dea said he isn't against tolls per say, but added before we do that, we need to have spending cap in place and all toll money should go to transportation.

"Until we get a real constitutional lock box this is going to be raided like it has in the past,” O’Dea said.

When it comes to tolls, the governor said he is siding with Republicans on the lock box.

"I am not debating tolls and I don't want to debate this any further without a lock box,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said. “Because I have seen every other governor and legislature spend transportation money on other things to avoid making tough decisions."

There was a vote last year when Democrats controlled the House and Senate on a lock box, but it failed. 

Lawmakers will end the session next Wednesday, but there will have to be special session because Connecticut still doesn't have a budget.

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