HARTFORD, CT —House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz asked his Republican colleagues to shelve any plans they may have to put together their own budget proposal over the next five weeks.
Aresimowicz said he’s begging other legislative leaders “not to be wasting time and resources,” putting together their own budget proposals to resolve the budget deficits in the two-year budget approved last October.
“Let’s all get to the table and do it together,” Aresimowicz said Tuesday during his pre-session briefing with the media. “We showed the state of Connecticut we can do it differently.”
He said the caucuses should be looking at ideas to bring to the table “but nobody should be working on their own comprehensive budget.” He said the issues they have universal agreement on fixing include the $130 million for the Medicaid Savings Program to help the elderly and disabled continue to afford their benefits and the change in municipal funding made by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
“Again we all agree we need to fix it,” Aresimowicz said.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said she doesn’t know how they would even go about having a conversation over the budget if they didn’t put together their own line-by-line budget proposal.
“Even when we did bipartisan budgets they started from being separate budgets that came together,” Klarides said.
She said she can’t predict what will happen and where bipartisan budget talks will go.
Senate Republican President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said every caucus should be working on a budget “from which we can negotiate.”
“In any serious budget negotiation, all sides have to simultaneously work together and independently to review all the issues, understand the budget on a line-by-line basis, and learn where our members stand on various proposals,” Fasano said.
Klarides said if they hadn’t been working on their own budget last year then they never would have gotten to the point of passing a bipartisan one.
The Republicans were able to get their budget passed in the House and Senate last September, only to have it vetoed by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
“I’m not just gonna sit there and say ‘what do you think?’” Klarides said.
If the General Assembly does nothing the $197.7 million fiscal year 2018 deficit will be covered with money from the rainy day fund and the 2019 deficit of about $165 million will remain on the books for the new governor and General Assembly to resolve next January.
House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, said he doesn’t even know how anyone can put a budget together without information about revenues from the April 17 tax filing deadline.
“I don’t know how you work on a budget until April 17,” Ritter said. “That’s a game changer.”
Aresimowicz said there’s a lot Republicans and Democrats agree upon.
He said they want to restore $91 million to municipalities that was cut by Malloy after the budget was signed, about $130 million for the Medicaid Savings Program, and the cap on municipal motor vehicle taxes which is scheduled to go up to 45 millions in 2019.