Legislative leaders and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said they’re considering a special legislative session the second week of December to address the 2016 budget shortfall.
However, both Democrats and Republicans emerged from Tuesday’s closed-door meeting without anything substantive to share with the press. Each of the caucuses and Malloy have their own proposal for how they would solve the $350 to $370 million budget shortfall. Those proposals were shared with the media over the past two weeks.
Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said the sides were “moving substantially closer to an agreement.”
It’s unclear whether a retirement incentive will be part of the final deal.
Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis ran some numbers, which show the savings estimated from the retirement incentive are far less than initially projected.
The Republicans and the Senate Democrats had estimated 1,800 state employees, who are already at retirement age would retire if they could add three years to their pension. It was estimated to save about $80 million in 2016, but Fasano said the recent analysis shows it would be less than half of that number.
“That has been a little twist that caught us all by a little surprise,” Fasano said.
But House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said it’s still part of the discussion.
However, Malloy pointed to the Center for Retirement Research report on what retirement incentives have done to increase the state’s unfunded pension liability. He declined further comment on the retirement proposal.
“What I’m encouraged [about] is that the legislative leaders are actually talking to one another,” Malloy said.
The governor alluded to new spending cuts put forward during the sixth budget negotiating session, but he declined to share any details of those new proposals.
He said he doesn’t believe before Tuesday they made nearly enough progress, but he was encouraged by Tuesday’s discussion.
“I think that there’s now an opening for substantial progress,” Malloy said. “I think potentially progress has been made.”
Malloy said the “new cuts” discussed Tuesday were important to moving the conversation forward.