Top lawmakers in the Connecticut General Assembly said Wednesday night that they would not consider a revised budget for the 2017 fiscal year until after its adjournment deadline.
"We’re going to come back and make sure everybody has had a chance to read it and review it," said Bob Duff, the Majority Leader of the State Senate Wednesday night.
Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney told reporters that there wasn't enough time for the budget bill to be printed, distributed to members and debated in an fast or adequate fashion to justify passage before the statutory midnight deadline.
Instead, lawmakers will return to the state capitol early next week when debate, discussion, and passage are expected on the more than $18 billion spending package.
Republicans criticized Democrats early Wednesday afternoon, complaining that the budget had been crafted in secret, but they later stood shoulder to shoulder with top Democrats pleased by the delay.
“There’s a lot of numbers, a lot of commas, a lot of info, a lot of periods" said Sen. Len Fasano, the Minority Leader. "You’ve got to get them right and you know taking a step back and saying this is a big document, let’s hold off, let’s let it sit out there. Let’s let people read it, take a glance at it makes a lot of sense.”
House Speaker Brendan Sharkey said Wednesday of the spending plan, “In my 16 years in the legislature this is the most fully vetted public transparent that I’ve ever voted for.”
"One hundred percent, we would pass the budget," he declared, before later announcing they would delay to a special session.
Governor Dannel Malloy said in a statement late Wednesday that the move to pass the budget during a Special Session is not an excuse to change the agreed upon budget by him and legislative leadership.
He said, “If this delay begins a discussion about re-opening the agreement in order to find a way to avoid difficult decisions, that’s unacceptable."