HARTFORD, CT — House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz left Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office Friday with a smile on his face following what the governor described as a “respectful” meeting.
The meeting requested by the speaker follows a day of blistering comments by the governor about the House Democratic budget proposal, which would increase the sales tax from 6.35 percent to 6.99 percent.
“Watching sausage be made—and I had a summer job doing it—is not pretty,” Malloy said. “We’re making sausage. Right now we’re not making anything, but eventually we have to make sausage.”
Malloy, who proclaimed the House Democratic budget proposal had “more holes than Swiss cheese,” repeated that he doesn’t want a budget that leads with revenue. At the same time, he will try and reconcile the difference between his budget and other legislative budget proposals, which are in various forms and various stages of completion.
Republicans in the House have a separate budget proposal from Republicans in the Senate and the Democrats in the Senate have a separate budget proposal from the one their House colleagues put forward Thursday. So the two chambers and the two parties are not even on the same page when it comes to solving the $5.1 billion budget deficit.
House Democrats proclaimed Thursday that they will pass their budget on July 18, the day after the votes on the labor concession deal are tallied.
On Friday, Malloy said he doesn’t share the House Democrats belief that they will be able to pass their budget on July 18, “but they certainly said they could do it.”
Aresimowicz, who is in his first term as speaker with a much smaller majority than recent speakers, seemed to take Malloy’s criticisms in stride.
“All of our jobs are difficult. We’re facing very difficult choices, we have tremendous pressure on us and we all feel passionately about the state,” Aresimowicz said after leaving his meeting with Malloy.
He also admitted that he knows he has some more “relationship building” he needs to do as speaker before July 18.
Malloy said what would pass in one chamber won’t necessarily pass in the other chamber “so we have a ways to go.” He said he anticipates there will be meetings between the parties next week.
The fiscal year will begin at midnight without a budget in place.
“We’re ready to move on,” Aresimowicz said. “We have a budget to negotiate. We have a target date to do that and we look forward to talking to all the parties.”
Malloy had sought to avoid signing an executive order to run state government in the absence of a state budget. He proposed a temporary 90-day budget that included some revenues to make sure the neediest populations weren’t impacted.
“This is a regrettable path, and one that I worked very hard to avoid,” Malloy said during an afternoon press conference in his Capitol office. “The executive order offers me less ability to avoid very deep cuts that will have a very real impact on our state and its citizens.”
Malloy, who announced earlier this year he would not seek a third-term, said he will work to find a resolution even if he didn’t know exactly what it would look like.
“For the past six years as governor, I have worked with the legislature, and together, we have negotiated budgets and passed them into law,” Malloy said. “In every instance, it involved compromise on all sides, including my own. I have consistently demonstrated that I am ready to work and ready to find common ground.”
This is the first time during Malloy’s tenure the General Assembly has failed to send him a budget before the end of the fiscal year.
The last governor to run the state under an executive order was former Gov. M. Jodi Rell in 2009. That year, Rell eventually allowed the state budget to go into effect without her signature in September.