HARTFORD — Connecticut lawmakers narrowly approved a labor concessions agreement on Monday, hoping it will bring them closer to finalizing a new, two-year state budget.
The evenly split Senate voted 18-18 in favor of the agreement, which is projected to cover $1.5 billion of the state’s estimated $5 billion budget deficit over the next two years. Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman then broke the tie by voting in favor of the agreement reached between her running mate, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, and union leaders.
The House of Representatives approved the same deal last week, 78-72.
Democratic Senate President Martin Looney of New Haven said he hopes Monday’s approval will finally lead to a new, two-year budget. Connecticut has been without a plan in place since the fiscal year began July 1, requiring Malloy to run the state using his limited spending authority. That has led to cuts to social service agencies and the curtailment of local government services.
“At least today, we will have adopted a substantial pillar to get us toward that budget,” said Looney, noting how lawmakers now must figure out how to cover a two-year, $3.5 billion deficit. A typical annual budget is roughly $40 billion.
It’s questionable, however, whether any final state budget deal will be bipartisan.
Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano of North Haven said the “onus” is now on Democrats to produce a budget, noting they have dismissed GOP budget proposals. Both Senate and House Republicans contend their plans would create more long-term savings than Malloy’s concessions deal by imposing changes to state employee working conditions by state law, which…
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