Legislators working to close state's budget deficit - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Legislators working to close state's budget deficit

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(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

Time is running out and there is still no plan in place to fix Connecticut’s deficit.

Republicans and Democrats have ideas to fill a $380 million hole, but both budgets are incomplete.

This year’s legislative session ends one week from today.

Connecticut has a budget, but it also has a big hole.

Republicans and Democrats can't seem to agree on much except using the rainy-day fund. 

Legislators are voting on a number of bills, but hanging over their heads is hundreds of millions of dollars of red ink.

"These are difficult but serious and black and white solutions to move the state forward out of the state it’s in,” said State Representative Themis Klarides, Republican Minority Leader.

Republicans are unveiling some of their plans to wipe out the deficit.They released a new budget proposal on Thursday. 

It restores cuts to the Medicare Savings Program, as well as municipal aid and has no new tax increases.

The GOP budget relies heavily on money in the rainy-day fund and on borrowing $1 billion a year.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy released a statement regarding the revised budget proposal. 

In the statement, Malloy said in part, "Let’s be very clear on what just happened: with new consensus revenue figures showing additional tax revenue coming into our state, Republicans immediately spent it.  The party of so-called fiscal responsibility added spending to their original plan.  In fact, this current version of their budget spends $120 million more than the Governor’s proposed budget in fiscal year 2019.  It does that while somehow decimating funding for the University of Connecticut, decimating funding for the Department of Children and Families, and decimating our Special Transportation Fund."

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano released a statement regarding the comments by Malloy. The statement said in part, "Considering how well Governor Malloy has run our state the fact that he doesn’t like our budget is perhaps a sign we are on the right track. Governor Malloy is quick to criticize without even understanding what our budget does. This budget fully funds the Special Transportation Fund and actually results in surpluses in this fund in each of the next five years as calculated by the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis. In addition, this budget reduces previously proposed cuts to UConn in an effort to garner bipartisan support. It also reduces future deficits and is under the state spending cap, at the same time it restores $130 million to the Medicare Savings Program – something Governor Malloy’s proposals completely failed to restore any funding for."

Democrats also want to dip into the rainy-day fund, but are far less reliant on borrowing.

The House Speaker accuses the GOP of, "illegally stealing from the future and passing debt on to future generations onto Connecticut residents.”           

They differ strongly on whether Connecticut should bring back tolls.

"When you have people that want to paint the picture Connecticut sucks at all costs and any new thing is going to force people out of the state, it’s a tough narrative to overcome,” said State Representative Joe Aresimowicz, Democratic House Speaker.

Lawmakers were expected to vote on tolls on Wednesday, but there aren't enough votes right now to pass it.

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