HARTFORD, CT — (Updated 5:50 p.m.) In a last ditch effort to get at least a temporary budget solution passed before the end of the fiscal year, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wrote a letter to House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides asking them to pass a “mini-budget” Thursday or Friday.
“As leaders of the House of Representatives, you could each commit to bringing a proportionate number of your members necessary to pass this measure,” Malloy suggested Wednesday in a letter. “This would be a strong signal that Connecticut state government can put politics aside and work in a bipartisan fashion. It would also give us positive, bipartisan momentum toward an eventual biennial budget vote.”
Aresimowicz responded with this statement:
“I’m ready to stay here all night to work together toward passing a short-term bipartisan ‘mini’ budget in the House before the new fiscal year, if everyone is committed to also taking the next step of using this as a pathway toward the adoption of a full biennium budget,” Aresimowicz said Wednesday. “That is our ultimate responsibility to the people of Connecticut and we all must show more of an urgency of getting there.”
On Tuesday, he said his caucus has told him to stay focused on a two-year budget.
“I will not do an e-cert to do a mini-budget, to kick the can down the road,” Aresimowicz said Tuesday.
Klarides also declined to take Malloy up on his offer.
“Gov. Malloy’s ‘offer’ of an alternative temporary tax and spending plan effective July 1 came with significant strings attached,” Klarides said. “In his public statements he indicated little interest in even discussing potential changes to his plan to cover the first quarter of the next fiscal year. Perhaps more importantly, he clearly stated at a Tuesday press conference that this ‘offer’ had an expiration date of midnight on Friday.”
She said Republicans have a budget they would like to offer for a vote and stand ready to take action in the future.
Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have both expressed interest in doing something to halt the deep budget cuts necessary to keep the state from sliding further into a deficit.
“The speaker has failed to do his job. He has failed to offer a budget and now he is using his power to prevent all other ideas from moving forward,” Senate Republican President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said Tuesday after hearing Aresimowicz’s refusal to vote on a mini-budget.
Aresimowicz is expected to caucus with his members at the state Capitol at 11 a.m. Thursday. But he has said he doesn’t plan to hold any votes.
Democrats who hold only a slim majority in the House have very few tools to get all their members to Hartford after the regular legislative session, but Aresimowicz said Tuesday that he is refusing to call all of his members back for anything less than a two-year budget.
Aresimowicz was meeting Wednesday with Klarides to discuss possible short-term solutions.
Kelly Donnelly, a spokeswoman for Malloy, said she appreciates Aresimowicz’s “willingness to get to work and is open to signing an E-Cert.”
She said Klarides should not obstruct a short-term solution.
“Both House leaders should put the people of Connecticut first and work together in a bipartisan fashion,” Donnelly said.
Without the legislature’s help, Malloy will be required to run the state through executive order, which means large spending cuts to state agencies, programs, and some of Connecticut’s neediest residents.
Click here to read that plan, which will go into effect on July 1.