With days to go before the end of the fiscal year, the governor has released a plan on how to proceed in the absence of a state budget, but officials involved in negotiations are optimistic about the progress of the talks.
Connecticut lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy held negotiations this morning on a new two-year budget to close a projected $5 billion budget gap.
The deadline is soon approaching with the fiscal year ending on June 30.
Republican lawmakers emerged from the meeting saying this was the best meeting yet.
“This is by far one of the best meetings we’ve had,” Senator Len Fasano, R-34th District, said after the meeting. Then he added that “moves have been made.”
“We’re all at least on the same page with wanting to move forward,” State Rep. Themis Klarides, R-114th District, said.
This morning, Gov. Dannel Malloy has revealed some details about how he'll proceed if a budget is not in place in time.
In a statement, Malloy stressed that while this is not his preferred method for operating the state, the action is necessary to ensure that state government functions smoothly.
He said the administration is developing a plan based on the following five principles:
“We should not increase our projected deficit – rather, we should apportion funds according to a plan that is in balance for the entire fiscal year.
“We should allocate funding to first support the most essential health, safety, and human services for our most vulnerable residents.
“We should consider the fiscal capacity of outside organizations – including cities and towns – when apportioning reductions.
“We should comply with various court orders, stipulations, and mandates, including but not limited to the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account (MRSA), the Juan F. case, CCJEF, and the SNAP and Medicaid programs.
“We should honor our tentative collective bargaining agreements while such agreements are under consideration by state employees and by the Connecticut General Assembly.”
A statement from Malloy’s office says a detailed plan will be finalized and released publicly before June 30.
“I want to assure the public that while negotiations between my administration and leaders from both the Republican and Democratic caucuses are continuing, we are putting a plan in place in order to allow critical functions of government to continue to operate,” Malloy said in a statement. “Operating state government through executive authority is not my preferred method, but in the absence of a biennial budget from the legislature I must prepare contingency plans. I am committed to ensuring that the state is managed responsibly and in such a way that we do not exacerbate our existing fiscal challenges.”
Malloy said he hopes a budget will be passed before the end of the fiscal year.
“At the same time, I felt it was prudent to share how I will approach our budget should we fail to achieve our common goal,” Malloy said in a statement.