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Malloy: It’s ‘unimaginable’ he’ll sign Democratic budget

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HARTFORD — Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says it is “unimaginable” he would sign a budget passed by the Democratic controlled legislature that wasn’t negotiated with his office. His spokesman later said Malloy has “serious concerns” with the Democrats’ proposal, but welcomed bipartisan negotiations.

The Democrat predicted Thursday he will veto whatever the General Assembly passes before the session ends May 4 and probably call lawmakers back to the Capitol for a special session to fix a $922 million deficit in the next fiscal year’s budget.

However, there are signs budget negotiations will resume at the Connecticut state Capitol.

Majority Democratic leaders on Thursday unveiled the revised plan Malloy was speaking about, which covers the projected $920 million deficit in the new fiscal year beginning July 1. Instead of holding a vote on that proposal, as promised last week, lawmakers said they hope it will be a basis for talks with Gov. Malloy, and possibly the minority Republicans.

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey said the plan “protects Democratic priorities,” such as local education and hospital funding, but it tackles the entire deficit. He said rank-and-file lawmakers would review it on Thursday.

It was unclear when a vote might occur.

Malloy said his administration has a “limited sense” of what the Democrats are proposing, denying there’s any “bad blood” with lawmakers who’ve opposed his budget-cutting ideas.

The current session ends May 4.

Here is the full statement from Malloy’s spokesman, Devon Puglia:

The Governor appreciates the work of the Democratic caucuses in putting out a budget proposal, especially the chairs of the Appropriations and Finance committees. As he has said repeatedly, coming to terms with a new economic reality is hard, and we recognize that the caucuses have moved to find difficult savings.

We also appreciate that Democratic leaders now want to negotiate with the Governor and Republicans on a budget that would ideally have bipartisan support. This has been the Governor’s goal since his speech in February, and we are optimistic that a good resolution will be reached, even if it likely means going beyond May 4.

We also want to be clear that the Governor has serious concerns about this proposal, and he could not support or sign it in its current form. It relies on hundreds of millions of dollars in one-time revenues and unrealistic savings targets. It is critical that we do things differently this year and find a better, more sustainable way of budgeting. This proposal is still too close to the status quo; it contains too much ‘business as usual.’

With proposals on the table from the Governor, Democrats, and Republicans, we are hopeful and optimistic that legislative leaders are now ready to begin negotiations in earnest. We should reconcile our budgets and work to achieve long-term, structural changes.”