Special Session Eyed for Budget Deal

Top Democrats, Republicans and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Tuesday that they've circled Dec.  7 as their target date to start a Special Session to address a projected budget shortfall of nearly $400 million.

The parties met for three hours Tuesday in what was described as the most productive met between the sides.

State Sen. Martin Looney (D - New Haven) the top Democrat in the Democratic controlled State Senate said, “We had hopeful and productive discussions today and we’re going to continue those and we think we have narrowed a lot of the differences between us and we are moving closer.”

While lawmakers were tight-lipped about the major substance of discussions, they did say they received a new estimate from the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis regarding the cost of a Retirement Incentive Program or "RIP" for eligible state workers. Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans and House Republicans had proposed the RIP as a way to remove expensive state employees from the system in order to save what was initially projected to save the state $80 million.

State Sen. Len Fasano (R - North Haven) said when the group emerged from the meeting that the new fiscal analysis office estimate for such a program would actually save $40 million, far less than expected.

Gov. Malloy said following the meeting that he didn't want to "muddy the waters" with his own impressions of how discussions went or how certain budget proposals were received. He did say, however, that changing the unitary tax to be targeted at big box stores who report Connecticut earned profits out of state, is a top priority.

“Those business tax things I think are pro-business and creates a better climate and so I would hope we can get those done.”

The groups will meet again next week following the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

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