Lawmakers say 'tremendous strides' made in budget talks - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmakers say 'tremendous strides' made in budget talks

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Lawmakers met again on Monday to try an iron out a state budget deal. (WFSB) Lawmakers met again on Monday to try an iron out a state budget deal. (WFSB)

Connecticut's Democratic and Republican legislative leaders contend they're moving closer toward reaching a possible bipartisan budget deal, saying "tremendous strides" have been made during closed-door negotiations.

The lawmakers met for most of the day Monday and plan to continue talks on Tuesday.

"I think everybody’s given in areas, to where, in maybe March, April or May, they wouldn’t have given," Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowic said. "We all understand the importance of coming to a budget." 

Connecticut is the only state in the country with no budget. It’s day 101.

On Monday, lawmakers worked on one of the biggest sticking points in the past, education funding to cities and towns. In previous proposals, some towns got no funding at all. lawmakers stayed tight lipped on the details of the negotiations, but said members are fiercely fighting for their towns.

"We have caucuses to represent," House Minority Leader Themis Klarides said. "We have people that we need to be satisfied that they’re representing their districts and that’s at the end of the day, where we need to end up." 

Democratic Senate President Martin Looney says it's possible a vote may happen sometime next week. Connecticut has been without a new, two-year budget since the fiscal year began July 1.

Len Fasano, the Republican Senate leader, says lawmakers are "having very good conversations" and are making "tremendous strides."

Aresimowic said lawmakers are backing down on some issues they probably wouldn't have in March, April or May. Aresimowicz says the legislature's Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates the two sides are about $100 million apart.

"It's paid off I think its paid off in a large way. I think we have made tremendous strides," Fasano said. "We talked about issues and numbers. I think we are getting closer to budget."

"A bi-partisan product then votes don't become less important than it's not a strict a count," Aresimowic said. "If you get some votes from both sides we are better off."

Connecticut lawmakers will continue to debate on Tuesday. Again, the focus seemed to have been on town funding. Eyewitness News did not hear about how that may impact talks of a tax hike or potential cuts to University of Connecticut. 

Even though the Oct. 13, which is this Friday, was something they are aiming for. It could actually be next week, but it does seem like both sides are making progress.

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