Pressure mounts as lawmakers consider late budget changes

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HARTFORD — Dozens of people, mostly human service advocates and families that rely on state services, are trying to discourage Connecticut legislators from making additional eleventh-hour cuts to the state budget.

They lined up Tuesday outside the House Democrats’ caucus room, where rank-and-file lawmakers discussed possible changes to the two-year, $40.3 billion Democratic budget that narrowly passed the General Assembly this month.

“It’s critical,” said parent Velma Williams-Estes, “It’s a critical situation.”

The Glomb family from Vernon wants lawmakers to stick with the budget passed by the legislature. Nick Glomb is working two jobs and building a business plan to run his own hot dog or beverage cart business. He’s able to do so with the help of resources from the Department of Developmental Services.

“I need them to think long and hard on what they’re doing right now,” said Nick Glomb.

Heather Gates, president and CEO of Connecticut Health Resources, said lawmakers must keep the budget intact. She said further reductions will seriously affect people who need mental health and other services.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has called on lawmakers to roll back some of the tax increases in the budget after some major employers voiced strong concerns.

But it’s a difficult position for leaders with business outcry on one side these families on the other. House democratic leadership says they’re listening.

“The times are dictating we have to make tough choices and that’s why we ran for office,” said Representative Joe Aresimowicz (D Berlin), “to do the best we can for the people we represent and that’s what we will do today.”

Meanwhile, republicans are calling on democrats to throw out the budget and start over.

“Every organization is hurt by this budget,” said Senator Len Fasano (R) – North Haven. “We should re-do this, bring it back, scrap what we have, get to a room, and resolve this issue.”

Such changes would be made in the upcoming special legislative session.