Governor lays out options for if legislature can’t pass budget

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HARTFORD – The start to the new fiscal year is quickly approaching and lawmakers have yet to pass a budget agreement. So Governor Dannel Malloy is laying out two options for legislative leaders for a path forward after July 1.

The first option is a “Resource Allocation Plan” for operating without a budget. Governor Malloy would have to run the state through executive authority, which has its limits. According to state statute, he cannot add any revenue, so this plan would balance a $2.1 billion shortfall through cuts alone. Those cuts include sharply reducing municipal aid, cutting ECS grants by hundreds of millions and cutting services to some DDS, DMHAS and DOH clients.

The second option is passing a “mini budget” to operate state government until October 1. It avoids some of those painful cuts through $317.5 million in revenue options, including changes to sales tax. It would also buy lawmakers some time.

“This is the question: Do you want to be responsible and do you want to run government with the legislature playing a role or not?” said Malloy during a press conference Monday following his meeting with leadership.

Democratic leaders said they would be working long into the night Monday to discuss their options. They still have the goal of passing a two-year budget deal that tackles the $5 billion deficit before the June 30 deadline.

“We want to come up with a budget for the state of Connecticut moving forward. I know the time frame is really compressed, but we've agreed to lock ourselves in this building tonight and continue to work through the night and hopefully have an idea of where we're at tomorrow morning,” said Speaker of the House Rep. Joe Aresimowicz.

Republican leaders said the mini budget option is just prolonging the inevitable.

House Minority Leader Rep. Themis Klarides said, “One deadline has come and gone. This deadline is looking like it’s coming and going. If you did that in your own job, you’d be fired.”

They are still asking for a vote on their budget plan, which Governor Malloy said he would veto.

Gov. Malloy said, “July 1st is an important date and we should have a budget, but if we’re not going to have a budget, and I don’t believe that the Democrats or Republicans acting alone are in a position to pass a budget that I could sign at this time, then I’m trying to make things better.”