The Republican version of the state budget proposal was passed by the House and the Senate, but the governor said he won't sign it when it gets to his desk.
It has been 79 days without a state budget for Connecticut.
Senate Democrats Joan Hartley, Paul Doyle, and Gayle Slossberg voted "no" on the Democrats budget and in favor of the Republican proposal. The GOP proposal passed by 21-15 vote in the Senate.
"Very difficult as I said on the floor, I am Irish, Catholic Democrat. I am a loyal man. I am loyal to my party," Doyle said. "Today was a very difficult decision. I am sure many colleagues are furious with me, but I did what I was elected to do by people of the state of Connecticut. I did what I thought was right today."
While on the floor, Slossberg said "we need to make changes" and "no more cuts and taxes."
"Today, however, in my experience this is the most pivotal and most difficult," Hartley said.
Moderate Democrats had concerns with several new taxes and cuts to cities and towns. Gov. Dannel Malloy, who was not seen by the media on Friday, said the GOP budget is unbalanced and he will veto it, if it reaches his desk.
“I believe the amended budget that passed in the Senate today is unbalanced, and if it were to reach my desk I would veto it. It relies on too many unrealistic savings, it contains immense cuts to higher education, and it would violate existing state contracts with our employees, resulting in costly legal battles for years to come. If the responsible solution I negotiated with Democrats isn’t going to pass, then it is incumbent on the legislature to reach a new agreement soon – one that is realistic and, ideally, bipartisan," Malloy said in a statement on Friday night.
Malloy said was surprised by the vote in the legislature and added: "it may represent a shift in the dynamic of the General Assembly."
"But it isn’t a shift for me. I have consistently been in favor of reaching a sensible, realistic budget – one that is balanced honestly and that continues to make progress on Connecticut’s long-term fiscal challenges. Those are not partisan goals, nor should they be," Malloy said. "It’s why I began inviting all legislative leaders – Democrat and Republican – into my office last year, well before this session began. And it’s why I continued those meetings throughout the regular session."
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides said it was "sad to wait this long for Democratic leaders to take this seriously." Klarides slammed the Democratic House leadership for what she perceives as inaction on the budget earlier in the session.
"Dan Malloy translation is I will only support my budget," Klarides said. "That's not leadership."
The governor said the door to his office "remains open" and added he "remains ready to work with all sides."
"We know our financial problems will get significantly worse in October, resulting in massive cuts to towns, hospitals, private providers, and others. Connecticut is counting on us – let’s keep working," Malloy said.
The House Democrats held a Caucus around 6 p.m. Friday, Speaker Joe Aresimowicz addressed the media before the House reconvened at 9 p.m. With a vote finally happening shortly after 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning.
"It's our hopes we can enter into a true bi-partisan discussion with no lines in the sand starting as soon as Monday," Aresimowicz said.
Shortly after midnight Friday morning, lawmakers headed home after failing to sign off on a $2.41 billion budget. Democrats were originally hoping to put it up for a vote. However, lawmakers said everything collapsed just before midnight. They called it complete chaos.
Since it didn't happen, they were back at it on Friday to continue the work.
Late Thursday, Democrats released the details of their own budget.
It included a property tax on seasonal homes only for out-of-state residents, a hospital tax of 8 percent and a tax on fantasy sports gambling. There was even language about tolls, the concept of which had originally been brought up in the special session; however, there was not enough support.
The budget would not have included a boost to the state sales or income tax.
Both parties have been trying to meet in the middle. Democrats own a slim majority, but they needed every vote to pass their version.
State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier commented on proposed budget language regarding the teachers’ retirement system. Nappier said the proposed budget "would require the Teachers’ Retirement Board next year to adopt actuarial methods aimed at extending into the future the State’s actuarially required contributions."
"As the issuer and steward of pension obligation bonds in 2008 to boost the resources of the Teachers’ Retirement Fund that contain a legislatively authorized covenant on this very issue, I feel compelled to raise a flag of caution and encourage the General Assembly to avoid adoption of such a provision without the benefit of public hearings and formal legal analysis. This provision could just as readily be considered during the next legislative session before any new calculations are done. Although there is uncertainty regarding whether or how the bill would actually affect the State’s contributions calculated under the bond covenant, it behooves us to tread carefully when possible restrictions on our ability to carry out contractual obligations could result in a costly breach of the rule of law. Let’s not act in haste without knowing the full ramifications," Nappier said in a statement on Friday.
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