It’s been a week now since the Senate’s all-night attempt to erase this year’s state budget deficit, but since then not much has changed. The state still has a $371 million budget deficit and it looks like Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the legislature’s Democratic majority are still at odds.
Before dashing off for the holiday weekend, Sen. President Donald Williams sent out a press release saying state Comptroller Nancy Wyman’s deficit projections should be ample motivation for Rell to fully engage herself in the budget mitigation process.
Williams said since threatening to veto the deficit mitigation proposal last Friday Rell has not responded to repeated requests from Democrats to meet in person to discuss the deficit and resolve any misunderstandings or questions she may have about the plan approved 21 to 15 by the Senate. The House decided not to vote on the package after Rell’s late night veto threat..
“We must work together to balance the budget and we must do it now,” Williams said in a release. “Unfortunately, since the governor has returned from vacation she has refused to sit down with legislative leaders – or even return phone calls – in order to discuss efforts to resolve the current budget deficit.”
“It is as if Gov. Rell is locked in a staring contest with the deficit while the clock ticks,” Williams said.
Rell’s spokesman Rich Harris fired back Thursday saying “Oh yes—it must be April Fool’s Day.“
“The Senate Democrats’ attempt, through a press release, to portray themselves as the taxpayers’ best friends while promoting a deficit mitigation ‘plan’ with three times as many tax increases as real spending cuts is truly foolish,” Harris said in an emailed statement. “It’s a plan Senator Williams’ own caucus wouldn’t fully support and the House wouldn’t even vote on. Neither Governor Rell nor Connecticut’s hard-working families and employers are fooled.”
House Speaker Chris Donovan said on Wednesday that he is still reaching out to the governor and hopes to sit down with her soon to work out the differences. He said the House could vote on something as early as next week.