HARTFORD, CT — (Updated 4:15 p.m.) Democrats in the legislature were unable to come up with a two-year budget deal to close a $5.1 billion budget deficit and House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said he’s not interested in approving a temporary budget solution.
However, he’s not interested in signing onto Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s so-called mini-budget solution that would help fund government services for about 90 days until legislative leaders can reach a two-year budget deal.
Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, and Malloy tried to unsuccessfully convince Aresimowicz this temporary measure was much better than yielding to the governor’s executive authority to fund the minimum.
“I think putting forward a plan that allows the state to continue with a budget in place is preferable to not doing it,” Malloy said of the mini-budget his staff crafted over the weekend.
But Aresimowicz isn’t interested.
“I will not do an e-cert to do a mini-budget, to kick the can down the road,” Aresimowicz said outside the House chambers Tuesday. “And not take action on an overall state budget.”
Looney said “no one wants the governor to run the state by executive order.” He said he hopes Aresimowicz will reconsider his position.
Aresimowicz said he would if the parties were able to show they’d made substantial process on writing a two-year state budget proposal that could pass both chambers.
“I’m not going to artificially move the goal line,” Aresimowicz said.
At the same time, Aresimowicz said he would have trouble getting enough members to the state Capitol Thursday to vote on a mini-budget.
Malloy said doing nothing will make things worse.
Aresimowicz said his members are expected to come in and caucus 11 a.m. Thursday, but there won’t be any votes taken.
July 1 is the start of the new fiscal year and without a budget in place Malloy said he’s left with no choice but to operate state government through executive order.
“Let me assure you we are ready to go forward,” Malloy said.
However, that’s not the preferred method to run the state, he added.
Without a mini-budget scheduled raises for judges will go through at a cost of $1.48 million, the summer youth employment program will end, and countless other services will be curtailed or eliminated until passage of a mini-budget or a budget.
Senate President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said in the absence of a budget or a mini-budget, the state is going to see a slow uptick in calls and letters because services their family members or friends or children use will no longer be available.
He said that reaches a pinnacle in September when some of the larger education and municipal grants are paid to local communities.
“When that pressure hits you can blame some folks, but you can’t blame Senate Republicans,” Fasano said. “Don’t blame us. We’re standing up and ready to be counted.”
He said he didn’t want to say this lightly, but there are going to be people “who are going to dramatically suffer” as a result of the executive order. But he added that’s not Malloy’s fault.
Fasano blamed Aresimowicz for not being able to get the job done.
“It is inexcusable that we are not going to do anything on June 30,” Fasano said.
He said to wait until Tuesday to say they’re not going to do anything “is just short of disgusting.”
Republicans who were able to make big gains this year by picking up seats in the House and the Senate were happy to hold press conferences Tuesday afternoon to point out the Democratic Party’s failings. They called for up-or-down votes on Republican budget proposals.
However, Republicans in the House and the Senate don’t have one single budget proposal they support. The caucus has two separate budget proposals and Malloy said Monday that he would veto them both.
Fasano said the Democrats don’t have a budget proposal to put forward that’s why they’re offering their proposal.
No one likes what is going to happen without a budget proposal in place.
“We are wading into dangerous territory where vital services are at risk, and where local officials cannot plan for the future,” House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said in a press release.
Malloy presented the executive order he would use to operate the state Monday. The spending cuts are dramatic.
“We understand that the state’s budget situation is difficult. But there are solutions — such as moving expensive state-provided human services to the community nonprofit sector—that save hundreds of millions of dollars and protect services for our most vulnerable citizens,” Gian-Carl Casa, president and CEO of the Community Nonprofit Alliance, said. “Yes, there are tough choices and change is hard. But the alternative is utter devastation of human services in Connecticut and it is hard to believe that would be acceptable to anyone.”