State lawmakers met once again on Tuesday afternoon to craft a budget for Connecticut.
Seven weeks without a budget is taking its toll on the state and Connecticut is now close to $100 million in the red. Money to cities and towns is being cut throughout the state.
Lawmakers on both sides have had several meetings, but still no state budget. Increasing the state sales tax continues to be a sticking point.
“The current sales tax is 6.35 percent up until about two weeks ago,” House Speaker, state Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, who is a democrat, said. “House Dems were proposing an increase to 6.99 percent. Now, they've backed down to 6.85 percent. Some of That money would go to cities and towns.”
In the meantime, the governor has been running the state on an executive order with limited authority to control spending. Much of the cuts have fallen on social services and municipal aid.
Last week, superintendents across the state spoke out against those cuts, which they say has forced them to lay off teachers and create larger classes.
Many school leaders said they worry the cuts could get worse and they will have to make changes during the school year.
“That's the reason we stay in the torturous room and have these meetings. I have to be honest it’s a torturous process,” Minority Leader, state Rep. Themis Klarides, who is a Republican, said. “[It] doesn't mean it’s not positive, but it’s necessary to do that until you get to the point you realize, it's a breaking point."
The purpose of Tuesday’s meeting was to get a budget from House Democrats, but there is stuff in their budget that Republicans and even Senate Democrats don't like, mainly raising the sales tax.
House Dems plan to release their full budget tomorrow
The plan is for both chambers to come back the week of Sept. 11 and vote on something.
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