(Updated 4:37 p.m.) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy used his authority call the General Assembly into a special session next Tuesday, Dec. 8, even though there is no agreement yet on what to cut to close the $350 million budget deficit.
The call to the special session says lawmakers will convene a special session to enact “legislation reflecting our common goals necessary to eliminate the projected deficit.”
It also calls for the creation of a constitutional lockbox for special transportation funds and a list of tax categories it plans to modify.
The call to the special session will be served by a constable, sheriff, or state trooper on all 187 state lawmakers.
“While there might be some outstanding disagreements, we must set a deadline for action, and date and time for a special session,” Malloy said Friday in a release. “And while there may be some policy differences, I’m urging both sides to work collectively to resolve them by Tuesday.”
House Democrats met behind closed doors Friday afternoon to discuss the deficit mitigation efforts, but sources have said it’s hard to discuss a deal that doesn’t exist.
House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, said they’re close to an agreement with Malloy, but they’re not there yet.
One of the biggest concerns for rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers was the restoration of the cuts to hospitals and social services.
“We are restoring the cuts to hospitals and health and human services as promised,” Sharkey said.
Malloy used his executive authority in September to cut more than $63 million from hospitals and several million from the Department of Developmental Services and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Sharkey said they restored at least half of the cut to hospitals, but he was unclear how much money was restored to the two social service agencies.
House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, who is responsible for the vote count, said he thinks Democratic lawmakers will get more information over the weekend and they will have the support they need to pass a package on Tuesday.
Malloy has promised to continue to use his executive authority to balance the budget, if lawmakers fail to take action.
Sharkey said he expects they will have a deal by Monday that they can share with the public.
He said they still have some details to work out, but when they’re finished they will have closed a $350 million budget gap in 2016 and made some changes to 2017 budget.
Republican legislative leaders left budget negotiations Thursday because they were unable to compromise on what’s been described as a “few” items that would have improved some of the structural problems with the budget.
Sharkey and Aresimowicz said they also want to solve the long-term structural problems with the budget and are still hoping to accomplish that. However, they declined to elaborate on exactly what those issues were.
“There will components of long-term structural changes,” Aresimowicz said.
But those long-term changes have nothing to do with changes to the health and benefits offered to state employees, Sharkey said.