While it was uncertain for most of the day, the legislature’s Democratic majority finally confirmed late Wednesday afternoon that the Senate will meet on Thursday and the House will meet on Friday to vote on a budget.
However the budget lawmakers are expected to vote on Thursday doesn’t yet exist in any final readable form.
Republican leaders in the House and the Senate said Wednesday afternoon that they have not seen a final draft of the proposal and neither have Democratic lawmakers.
Doug Whiting, spokesman for Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, said a draft of the proposal will not be ready until Thursday morning.
“It’s government in chaos unfortunately and I think the blame at this point lies with the majority party,” House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said Wednesday during a visit to the Capitol press room.
“I think anytime you sit alone behind closed doors trying to draft a budget you’re making a mistake and doing a disservice,” Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Southport, said.
McKinney said he didn’t think the Senate Democratic caucus had the 19 votes it needed to pass a budget, then went on to say that he expects by the end of the day Thursday it will.
“The bottom line is Don Williams doesn’t have to votes to override a gubernatorial veto,” McKinney said.
“How would they know?” Derek Slap, spokesman for Sen. President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said Wednesday.
The Republicans are being obstructionists, he said.
“I don’t think they have any interest in being part of the solution,” Slap said. “This is not easy. This is tough stuff.”
“Our goal is to get a budget the governor agrees with and work out a compromise for the people of Connecticut,” Williams said Tuesday.
“It’s important for folks to know where the Democrats stand in terms of our values,” Williams said. But as far as a gubernatorial override, Williams said that was not his goal.
He said the governor has refused to come back to the bargaining table since the end of the legislative session.
“They are trying to cast blame at her to mask their own failures,” McKinney said.
Earlier in the day Wednesday Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell urged the legislature’s Democratic majority to fulfill their constitutional duties and pass a balanced budget before the end of the fiscal year.
At a rest area in Middletown where she was publicizing the kick-off of a state and local police crackdown on distracted driving, Rell said “you need to tell the public what cuts you’re offering and what taxes you plan to raise to pay for these and right now they’ve done neither.” She said the legislature’s Democratic majority has done neither.
“They have not adhered to or taken advantage of their constitutional responsibilities,” Rell said. “It is the first time since 1891 that the Senate and House have failed to act to pass a budget. They need to pass a budget.”
Rell said there are ‘No’ votes in the House for some of the cuts and there are ‘No’ votes in the Senate for some of the taxes.
“I never say veto until I see the bill,” Rell said when asked if she would automatically veto any budget proposal including tax increases.
Former Speaker of the House James Amann, who is running for governor in 2010, also made an appearance at the Capitol press room Wednesday. He said the governor should lock the legislative leaders up and not let them out until there’s a budget agreement.
“What is the fear? The fear is am I going to have my fingerprints on raising taxes,” Amann said. “Just get down to it. Get in a room and make it happen.”