Gov. Dannel P. Malloy met with Democratic legislative leaders for more than an hour behind closed doors Tuesday night.
The governor emerged with his security detail and walked briskly with the Capitol press corps in tow across the third floor down to his second floor office. He stopped to pick up a penny on the floor halting the stride of several reporters.
“When you guys are too important to pick up a penny,” Malloy said. “There’s something wrong.”
His staff said the coin was “heads up,” but that he would have picked it up even if it were “tails up.”
It’s hard to say if the penny will be good luck.
Malloy was unable to confirm a budget deal but he said “we’ve made substantial progress and I think everybody has to catch their breath.” He said he’s not sure how quickly a deal can be drafted for legislative review.
“That’s up to other people how they do their business,” Malloy said.
The session ends at midnight Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Democratic legislative leaders, who were upset when Malloy claimed on Friday that they were going to reach a budget deadline, have tried to remain optimistic they will reach agreement with the governor from their own party.
“We’re getting there,” Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said.
But the midnight deadline is looming and there doesn’t appear to be any sense of urgency.
“I don’t think we should let a deadline of midnight tomorrow stop us from getting to a budget that people can agree on,” Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, who co-chairs the Appropriations Committee, said.
Republican legislative leaders — Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides — said there is less than 36 hours left in the legislative session and the Democratic majority still doesn’t have a budget deal done.
“It would be totally irresponsible to give it to 187 legislators tomorrow,” Fasano said.
He said that shows a lack of leadership and is “grossly unfair.”
Fasano said he is not going to rush a vote to meet a deadline. He’s going to read and understand the budget he’s being asked to vote upon.
Klarides said she also doesn’t believe it’s fair to rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers who are going to be asked to vote on a budget that they won’t have time to digest.
She said she can’t keep up with the relationship between the governor and Democratic legislative leaders. “One day they hate each other, one day they’re talking to each other. It’s like a kindergarten class,” Klarides said.
House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said they could immediately call themselves back into special session to pass a budget, but it would be best to get one done before midnight Wednesday.
The problem with holding a special session on the budget is that it would be the sole focus of the debate and would highlight the “depths of the spending cuts” which are “painful,” Aresimowicz said.
Aresimowicz said staff are preparing to run a budget Wednesday.