Democratic and Republican lawmakers were 90 percent there on a jobs bill Tuesday, but more than 24 hours later they were still struggling to come to an agreement on draft language.
“As I have been saying for weeks, I’m committed to trying my best to make this jobs session a bipartisan one,“ Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “To that end, in order to respect the wishes of the caucus leaders, we are going to hold off on releasing specific details today in terms of what’s potentially going to be in the final package.”
Republicans in the House were expected to caucus at 3 p.m. Wednesday, but as of noon House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said he had yet to see draft language. He said there is still an agreement on the concepts shared between the two parties and Malloy’s office, but the “devil is sometimes in the details.”
“They can’t make a final agreement with my administration until they’ve gotten sign-off from their caucuses, and that hasn’t happened yet,” Malloy said Wednesday. “Conversations regarding the package are ongoing, productive, and, I believe, will ultimately be fruitful, as we work to reinvent Connecticut and help create jobs in our state.”
In concept Cafero said the bill includes small business assistance, regulation reform, and job training. He estimated it will cost between $100 million and less than a half billion dollars in state bonding.
House Speaker Chris Donovan, D-Meriden, agreed with Cafero regarding the dollar amount on the package. He said final numbers will be calculated after the legislation is drafted and sent to the Office of Fiscal Analysis.
“It’s hard to summarize one specific thing we’re doing in the legislation,” Donovan said.
He said there will be small business tax credits available and job training programs where the state will pay the salary of the trainees until they’re ready to start working for a company, like one of the state‘s many manufacturing companies.
“I think we see eye-to-eye on a number of concepts,” Cafero said.
Cafero said he doesn’t think there’s any disagreement that the state needs this type of legislation. He said after the state just passed the largest tax increase in history, it has to start doing something to improve the economic climate and get people back to work.
The state’s unemployment rate has remained fairly static around 9.1 percent for the past few months.
Lawmakers are expected to get more details about the proposal Thursday during the informational hearings.
The Commerce Committee hearing on the jobs bill will be held from 12:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. in Room 2C of the Legislative Office Building. The public is also invited to comment at 2:30 p.m. in Room 2C.
Prior to the hearing on the jobs bill, the Finance Committee will hold an informational hearing on the proposal to give Jackson Laboratory $291 million in state funding to build a 173,000 square foot research center at the Uconn Health Center in Farmington.
That hearing will run from 10:30 a.m. until noon in Room 2E. The public is invited to comment on it at 2:30 p.m. in Room 2C.
The special session is expected to be held Wednesday, Oct. 26.