Gov. Dannel Malloy gave a less-than-rosy assessment of where the budget stalemate stands on Thursday.
"I would honestly say we're hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars apart," Malloy said.
Democrats and Republicans continued to meet for another day and it ended like every other one – without a budget. The governor said the deadlock could be hurting the state's chances to grab more jobs.
"We have discussions that are on hold with companies that want to enlarge their footprint or move to our state who said, 'Hey, listen, when you get a budget we'll have further discussions. Meanwhile, we're going to talk' - at least in one case 'with five other states. We're not going to talk to you, but when you get a budget we'll talk to you.' We're going to lose thousands of jobs, potentially, because we can't do the hard work that we were elected to do?" Malloy said.
On Thursday, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) urged for a plan that would ideally halt the governor's push to shift some teacher pension costs to towns. CCM sent a letter asking that the FY 18-19 state budget proposal establish a pension and retirement benefits reform commission.
"The Commission would propose recommendations to the Governor and state legislators by February 1, 2018, for consideration and action by the 2018 General Assembly. No municipal contribution to the TRF should be included in the agreed-upon budget proposal until the review and resulting recommendations have been completed," the letter read.
The governor said painful cuts are being made everywhere and municipalities should have to share in that difficulty.
"Of our $20 billion budget, $5.2 billion is, in essence, local government support," said Malloy. "Every argument that CCM is making to you ... or every argument that communities are making, they have made those arguments time and time and time again. And you know what? They have won, and that's why our state is in such a mess," Malloy said.
In response, CCM spokesperson Kevin Maloney said the proposal came because pension costs are choking the finances of the state and municipalities and they "are not sustainable and we're looking for a cooperative effort through this commission to devise a long-term strategy."