Another legislative session, another budget in crisis - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Another legislative session, another budget in crisis

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(WFSB) (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The state budget is more than $160 million in the red this fiscal year.

It's unclear if lawmakers will put out a budget before the Appropriations Committee deadline.

However, both Democrats and Republicans said they want a bipartisan budget this year.

They called last year unprecedented. The committee then did not put out a budget in time.

This year, that deadline is fast approaching once again.

"Every time we put a budget out or proposals there are always going to be people unhappy," said Republican Rep. Themis Klarides, minority leader.

The deadline is next week. It remains unclear whether or not the Appropriations Committee will put a budget forward in time.

"We're going to have a difficult negotiation but our hope is to do it on a bipartisan basis," said Sen. Martin Looney, a Democrat and Senate president.

Leaders on both sides said they intend to pass a budget by May 9 to avoid going into a special session.

"I can't speak for my Democratic colleagues, but Sen. [Len] Fasano and I have every intention on addressing it," Klarides said.

This fiscal year isn't the only problem. There are concerns about an even larger deficit next fiscal year.

"We have to look at all sorts of different options and that's going to be a very difficult balancing act," Fasano said.

However, lawmakers have little time to come up with additional revenue streams before the legislative session ends.

Legalizing marijuana and sports betting are among the options that have been discussed.

"Well, that's our challenge," Looney said. "We are going to have to look at what happens this year with the U.S. Supreme Court. Are they going to allow us to legalize sports betting? That would be a new revenue stream for us."

One factor pushing  the state in the red is lower than projected sales tax revenue.

"Every state has suffered because of the erosion of sales tax revenue," Looney said.

Looney said taxing online retailers could change that. However, but that also hinges on a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Legislative leaders also said they will be meeting next week to discuss what actions can be taken to remedy the state budget.

Stay with Channel 3 for updates.

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