HARTFORD, CT — House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz blew past reporters as he raced down the stairs shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday to tell his caucus of 79 members there would be no budget vote.
After keeping his members close to the House chamber all day, House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, said the senior members of the caucus and the chairs made a decision to reconvene Friday for a vote after it was abundantly clear that the 1,200-page budget bill wasn’t going to be finished.
The Senate is expected to be back to debate a budget at noon Friday.
Following an hour-long caucus, Aresimowicz said the House would reconvene Friday afternoon to pass the budget after the Senate.
A successful vote on a budget Friday would avoid the spending cuts pending on Oct. 1 when Gov. Dannel P Malloy’s executive order goes into effect.
Last-minute changes needed to reach a deal with Malloy caused a handful of lawmakers to have to rethink their support for what would be a partisan budget. Democratic legislative leaders decided last week to broker a deal with Malloy instead of Republican legislative leaders.
Some of the changes Democrats made after eliminating a broad-based sales tax increase caught some members off guard. And the resulting addition of a statewide property tax on seasonal homes and a 49 cent per month, per line tax on cellphones left many legislators scratching the heads.
Aresimowicz said they were making changes to the budget documents up to 11 p.m. Thursday.
“We want a vote on the budget,” Aresimowicz said.
Asked whether he had the votes to pass it, Aresimowicz said, “We’ll find out tomorrow when the machine is open.”
It’s still not clear if he has the necessary 76 votes for passage.
Republican legislative leaders said it was a combination of things that led to the cancellation of the long-anticipated Thursday vote. In addition to the time required to draw up the documents, they said Democrats overestimated the support they would be able to whip up for a budget proposal that none of their members had seen.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides said it’s a combination of not having the documents and a “very precarious vote count.”
Aresimowicz said he never indicated he didn’t have the votes.
Klarides said Aresimowicz told her they would not be in session on Friday or Monday.
She said she has no idea whether she will be able to call all 72 of her members back by Friday afternoon.
Connecticut and Wisconsin are the only states that have yet to pass a 2018 budget.
Senate Republican President Len Fasano said the Democrats said “if you don’t vote for a democratic budget you effectively are a vote for Gov. Malloy’s executive order.”
Fasano said it was “ludicrous” to think they were going to keep the details of the budget secret and then have the votes on it.
“They’re not going to roll over,” Fasano said.
Klarides said it’s not like they’re ignoring Republicans “they’re ignoring their own members to a certain extent.”
Malloy sent released a statement Thursday afternoon in support of the revenue package adopted by the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.