Connecticut lawmakers failed to pass a budget on Wednesday night and will go into special session next week.
Top lawmakers said Wednesday night that they would not consider a revised budget for the 2017 fiscal year until after the adjournment deadline.
"We’re going to come back and make sure everybody has had a chance to read it and review it," Bob Duff, the majority leader of the State Senate said.
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.
When lawmakers return to the State Capitol early next week, they will debate the more than $18 billion spending package, which includes $800 million in cuts and 2,000 state employee layoffs. Nearly 700 state employees have already been laid off.
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," Sen. Len Fasano, the minority leader, said. "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.
Gov. 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.
“If this delay begins a discussion about re-opening the agreement in order to find a way to avoid difficult decisions, that’s unacceptable," he said.
Lawmakers failed to pass several other bills as well, including one would have allowed a third casino in Connecticut to compete with the MGM planned for Springfield, Massachusetts , one that would have allowed Tesla to sell electric cars directly to consumers instead of through a dealership and another that would have taxed fantasy sports to help close the budget gap.