The budget presented by House and Senate Democrats they said closes a $922 million budget shortfall for the next fiscal year.
"This proposal is identical in bottom line to the one the governor put out recently and also to what the Republicans put out. It also puts in the next stage of negotiations with the governor," said Sen. Martin Looney the President Pro Tem in the Connecticut Senate.
The budget cuts spending across the board by 6 percent, leaves intact the layoffs ordered by Governor Dannel Malloy that will approach 2,500, it increases spending for cities and towns, and provides near full funding for hospitals.
The proposal also is based on increased health insurance co-pays and premiums for lawmakers and non-union state employees.
Looney says that is meant to send a message to the 45,000 unionized state workers who have refused to open contract negotiations in order to find concessions.
“Sacrifices should be made across the board in this regard," Looney said.
A spokesman for Malloy said now that there are proposals from both parties in the General Assembly, that negotiations can start and hopefully finish before the May 4 deadline. The governor will not rule out calling lawmakers back for a Special Session on the budget which would be the third such session in the past ten months.
Malloy's spokesman Devon Puglia said the governor would not sign the Democrats spending plan in its current form, citing the one-time revenues relied upon, and the lack of "structural changes" included. Puglia described the budget proposal as "status quo" and "business as usual."
Republicans were critical of the budget as well. They provided their own balanced spending plan on Monday that would have mainly been balanced due to hundreds of millions of cuts to higher education.
Rep. Themis Klarides said of the Democrats' proposal, “I don’t know how many times we’re going to keep sticking gum in a hole and think things are going to change.”