Ninety-eight days into the state budget crisis and Connecticut's governor hopes an agreement will be reached by the end of next week.
Lawmakers plan met on Friday at 9 a.m. in an attempt to hammer home a deal. It was the first time that both sides looked as if they were making some head way.
Instead of taking shots at one another, they were mostly silent and would not discuss what they were working on behind closed doors. Lawmakers on both sides said they were making progress.
"We've had encouraging talks and will continue to talk over the weekend," Senate President Martin Looney said.
Legislative leaders plan to meet this Sunday and again on Monday.
"Today was a positive meeting with very serious negotiations and productive discussion. We are making progress and plan to continue efforts to work together. Staff work and discussions will continue over the weekend," Democratic and Republican leaders said in a joint statement after the meeting.
On Thursday, Gov. Dannel Malloy was less positive. He said both sides were hundreds of millions of dollars apart and the lack of a state budget for more than three months is causing the state to lose jobs.
"We take the joint legislative leadership meetings as an encouraging sign that progress is being made," Kelly Donnelly, who is a spokesperson for the governor, said in regards to Friday's budget talks.
But, while encouraging, time is of the essence and Donnelly "should a balanced agreement not be reached, surely, it is the people of our state who will suffer the most."
Malloy said he has said that he hopes a budget agreement will be reached by Oct. 13.
The lack of a budget has affected motor vehicle taxes in towns such as West Hartford. Those taxes were never sent out to vehicle owners because of the situation. That changes on Friday.
Town official said the details of motor vehicles were unclear. With no help from the state coming, they couldn't wait any longer.
The taxes were assessed at the current rate of 32 mills. Depending on what happens with the budget, however, the town said it may have to issue an additional tax bill at a later date.
The bills will be due on Nov. 1.
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