(Updated 12:50 p.m.) After being absent from the budget negotiating table all weekend, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected to come back Monday with an offer that restores some education and hospital funding.
An administration source said the governor will give up some of the funding for his transportation initiative and restore some of his cuts to education and the hospitals, as long as Democratic legislative leaders agree not to use one-time revenue gimmicks that will create bigger deficits in the future.
However, Democratic legislative leaders may have given up any hope of reaching a compromise after they were left alone at the negotiating table this weekend.
Tweeting out to the public a photo of themselves around a table in House Speaker Brendan Sharkey’s office, Democratic legislative leaders spent the weekend trying to find an additional $40 million in spending cuts. Revenue numbers released on Friday showed that revenue estimates have continued to erode, creating at least a $40-million hole in the initial $920 million budget deficit.
Without Malloy’s staff at the negotiating table, Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said they were looking at finding the spending cuts and making adjustments to the budget.
Sharkey said Monday morning that they appreciate the governor’s gesture, but they have to look at what he’s proposing. They didn’t have the materials in time to talk about it with their members at a Monday morning caucus.
But even with another proposal on the table, it’s unclear if they will be able to get a budget passed before midnight Wednesday.
Malloy, whose approval rating is around 32 percent, according to last year’s Quinnipiac University poll, is equally as unpopular with members of his own party. The same poll found nearly 58 percent of Democrats disapprove of Malloy’s handling of the budget, along with 75 percent of independents and 87 percent of Republicans.
But Malloy isn’t up for re-election this year, while lawmakers are, and they don’t want to deal with a budget mess on the campaign trail. At the same time, they don’t want to make the painful spending cuts that could hurt their re-election efforts.
Malloy has said he plans to make certain lawmakers adjust the 2017 budget.
“If they adjourn before they do it, we’ll call them back,” Malloy said a few weeks ago at a press conference in his office. “They have a job to do, and we’ve got to get the job done. I don’t have a magic wand to make people do their jobs, but I can make it uncomfortable for them not to do their jobs, and that means being here all summer, if that’s what it means.”