Some Progress in Budget Talks, Maybe

Democratic legislative leaders and Gov. M. Jodi Rell met for two hours Tuesday afternoon as budget talks continue, and they might actually be closer to agreeing on a plan.

So far, both sides have been far apart in deciding on a budget for the next two fiscal years that would fix a projected $8.56 billion deficit. 

The stalemate, which has gone on for virtually most of 2009, finds Republicans calling for more spending cuts and Democrats wanting tax increases that would likely fall on the state's wealthier residents.

Following Tuesday's meeting, Democratic leaders said they were slightly more optimistic that a budget agreement could be possible before the end of August. 

House Speaker Christopher Donovan said Democrats presented Rell with some more options on how to deal with the deficit but Senate President Donald Williams said there's still a lot of work to be done. Williams feels the sides remain wide apart.

Republican Senator Dan Debicella, ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, said Rell has already compromised and now it's up to Democrats to do the same. Until that happens, he said, a budget agreement will not happen.

Democrats say they expect the budget talks with Rell to continue every day this week and possibly into the weekend.

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