WNPR

Budget Talks Resume; Hartford Still Facing Bankruptcy

Oct 2, 2017

Bipartisan budget talks restart Monday, with legislators on notice that they may be called for a potential special session later this week. What they don’t know is whether they’ll be asked to vote on a whole new budget, to rework a hospital tax, or to override the governor’s recent veto. 

Last week Governor Dannel Malloy vetoed the Republican budget passed by the General Assembly.

Democratic legislators in Hartford applauded that decision Monday, saying the $7 million in aid included in the budget for the capital city was totally inadequate.

“I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls from many, many, many agencies that provide services to our neighborhoods, to the poorest people in this town, that are about to lose their jobs,” said State Representative Angel Arce. “This budget does not help Hartford and does not help any of the urban cities in Connecticut.”

Hartford has at least a $50 million budget gap this year, which only grows in future years.

The city received a payment from the state under Governor Malloy’s executive order this week, but the legislators say it still may be only 30 days away from having to declare bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Republican legislators are still urging their colleagues to vote to override the veto.

“Our state needs a budget, and the truth is we have a budget before us today,” said State Senator Kevin Witkos. “It’s a budget that not only avoids the governor’s draconian executive order that hurts most of the schools in our towns, but it’s a budget that creates stability for our towns.”

Malloy’s latest executive order dealing with the state’s finances went into effect Sunday. It zeros out funding under the Education Cost Sharing formula to 85 of the state’s 169 towns.

A veto override would be a tall order for the minority party. The Republicans would need 29 Democratic legislators in the House and six in the Senate to vote with them.