Budget Bargain Appears Far Off Following SEBAC Vote

Even though about 30 percent of the state’s budget deficit was closed by two votes in the Connecticut General Assembly, Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on a possible final spending plan.

"Maybe they have a plan that we can agree to but the onus is clearly on them," said Sen. Len Fasano, last night after the Senate approved the union concessions agreement 19-18, with the Lieutenant Governor providing the tie-breaking vote.

Even Democrats weren’t certain of where budget talks go from there. Even though proposals, like legalizing the recreational use of marijuana and taxing it, raising the sales tax, and putting tolls on the state's highways, have been discussed in earnest in the House or Senate, Democrats said they’re still searching for ideas and are ready to move forward without Republican votes.

Sen. Bob Duff, the Majority Leader in the Senate, says the comments on the Senate floor from GOP leaders made it sound like they won’t vote for any budget as a result of the State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) agreement, because they don’t want to be seen as endorsing it, even as a part of a grand bargain.

"I'm not sure if he meant to tip his hand or not but it sounded like he really tipped his hand and said we're not going to vote for a budget if you voted for this today because you can't split it,"  Duff said.

Connecticut has entered its second month without a budget. The 2018 fiscal year started on July 1.

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