While there’s a flurry of activity in the halls and chambers of the state Capitol, Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Friday that there’s currently only one bill close to reaching her desk and there’s just five days left in the legislative session.
After speaking with a school group touring the Capitol Friday morning, Rell said she doesn’t know that anything of “real substance” has passed yet. “I’m not surprised, but I am a little disappointed,” Rell said.
She said she gave legislative leaders a plan to close the 2011 deficit and today is beginning to hear back from them about the proposal.
“Frustrated perhaps,” Rell said describing her feelings about the lack of progress being made. However, she admitted that if legislators buckle down they may just be able to get a budget passed before midnight, May 5.
Republican lawmakers held a press conference Friday afternoon to declare that they would like to see the recent unexpected increase in state revenues applied toward the state’s debt.
“Our obligation, as legislators, is to use any new money to pay down our debt,” Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Southport, said.
And exactly how that debt would be structured doesn’t make much of a difference to Republican lawmakers.
House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero said it didn’t matter whether the state securitized or borrowed to cover the gap. He said he would support which ever plan cost the taxpayers the least amount of money.
The legislature could sell off a dedicated revenue stream for pennies on the dollar to close a $1 billion budget gap or it could adopt Rell’s proposal to take the rainy day fund money used to close the 2010 budget deficit and move it back to 2011 so that the state can use $953 million in economic recovery notes to cover the deficit in 2010.
When asked what he would prefer to do, securitize or borrow, House Speaker Chris Donovan said “it depends on how it all fits together,” during budget negotiations.
“The good news is our numbers are better than we thought,” he said. “I’m not ruling anything out.”