Connecticut lawmakers ended their regular legislative session at midnight Wednesday night without passing a budget. Lawmakers have decided to return to Hartford before the end of the month for a special session to deal with the budget.
Connecticut’s legislative session this year was marked by the closest partisan divide in recent memory with an 18-18 split in the Senate and a slim 79-72 Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. That meant legislative leaders from both parties were at the table for budget negotiations. And they had sharp disagreements. At issue a projected $5 billion deficit in the state’s next $40 billion two-year budget.
Republicans would like see more spending cuts to help close the gap. Democrats are looking to some controversial new sources of revenue such as highways tolls and legalization of marijuana. House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, a Berlin Democrat, downplays the differences.
“We all have strong opinions over what we believe in, the majorities are tighter but overall I am very proud of the House.”
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, a Derby Republican, it not sure.
“It’s fine that we get along and we have good conversations and we can be open and honest with each other, but if we don’t agree on the vision and the direction of the state none of it matters.”
The legislative leaders hope they’ll be able to reach a budget agreement before the state's fiscal year ends on June 30. If they don’t by that time, state law requires that Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy take charge of state spending The governor would remain in charge of state spending until a budget is passed.