HARTFORD, CT — Legislative leaders said they expect to know whether they will have a two-year, bipartisan budget deal by 2:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.
“I think the last week has been the most productive,” House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said Tuesday. “The conclusion will be the conclusion. I think we all have hope that we can come to an agreement on something.”
The arbitrary deadline they’ve given themselves is 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct 18.
Senate Republican President Len Fasano, D-North Haven, said they have 10 more items they need to negotiate before they will know if they have a deal.
“We don’t want to tell you what those 10 items are because they’re delicate items for our caucuses,” Fasano said. However, he said they know with further conversations they can bridge the gap that still exists.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said they’ve continued to pay attention to what Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has been saying.
“In some cases we say we understand his objection and still move forward,” Aresimowicz said. In other instances, “we say it’s a fair objection and let’s try and go the other way.”
He said they expect to come out of their meeting Wednesday and “we either have it or we don’t.” He said it won’t be for a lack of effort or bad intentions.
Gov. Malloy has not been in the room for these negotiations, so it’s unclear whether he would sign whatever budget emerges.
However, legislative leaders are taking it one step at a time.
They said it’s too soon to tell whether they would need to override a gubernatorial veto.
They said they need 19 votes in the Senate and 76 in the House and until they speak with their rank-and-file legislators they won’t know where they stand.
“We hope 19 and 76 will be sufficient to get this budget done,” Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said.
Klarides said that getting a budget at the end of October is very different than finalizing the budget in May or June.
“It’s almost November and cities and towns are seeing the Draconian effects of the governor’s executive order,” Klarides said. “That’s why passing a budget and overriding a gubernatorial veto are two very different questions.”
Looney said they could possibly vote by the middle of next week if they’re able to reach a deal.
He said the Senate Democrats and Republicans have scheduled separate caucuses for Monday, Oct. 23.