Connecticut is facing at least a $1.5 billion deficit over the next year and possibly a $3.1 billion deficit over the next two years, and Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano is anxious to start having discussions about how to fix it.
In a letter to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Fasano said “we need to let the people of Connecticut know that we acknowledge these problems and they are our main concern,” Fasano wrote. “We have to show to the public that all parties can work together to face these challenges with a united front and give people a reason to give Connecticut a chance.”
He said a united front will give businesses considering leaving the state a chance to stay.
Kelly Donnelly, a spokeswoman for Malloy, said they appreciate the invitation.
Following the recent election where Republicans picked up eight seats in the House and three in the state Senate, there’s been an acknowledgement among all parties that bipartisanship will be necessary moving forward.
The day after the election Malloy said he plans to invite leaders from both parties to begin informal discussions in the weeks ahead.
“We should sit together around a table and have a frank discussion of our goals, but more importantly of how we achieve those goals,” Malloy said. “How we can change the ways we work together, share ideas, and make progress.”
Democrats still hold a majority in the House 79-72 and the state Senate is now evenly split 18-18.
Speaker-elect Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said they’ve always been willing to collaborate “and hold bipartisan meetings to address the needs of our constituents.”
He said there’s no reason to wait for the governor to convene such a meeting.
“We don’t need to wait for the Governor’s office to facilitate them,” Aresimowicz said. “As we have said and shown in the past, we are willing to stay at the table for as long as it takes in order to find the best solutions for the people of Connecticut. We are committed to governing, even through the toughest times, to move our state forward.”
Adam Joseph, a spokesman for the Senate Democratic caucus, said “The Senate Democrats are always willing to have an open and honest dialogue about Connecticut’s future and are committed to working every day to improving the lives of our state’s residents.”