HARTFORD – Democratic leaders and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy are taking negotiations on a two-year spending and tax package to the brink of planned budget votes Thursday in the House and Senate.
Malloy reported no agreement had been reached when he spoke to reporters after a meeting with the Democratic leadership in the governor’s office Tuesday.
“I’m hopeful, but there is no white smoke, or there is nothing done, but we’ll see where this leads in the coming 48 hours, I guess,” he said.
Meanwhile, Republicans released a revised two-year, $39.5 billion budget plan Tuesday that they intend to offer as amendments should the House and Senate vote on a Democratic budget.
Republican leaders said latest GOP proposal again proposes no direct tax increases, but they acknowledged some of the revenue proposals will cost some taxpayers more, including retired teachers, single taxpayers and low-to-moderate income workers.
Republicans maintained an exemption for pension income for retired public school teachers at 25 percent. It is scheduled to double to 50 percent.
The GOP plan also limits a credit on the state income tax for local property taxes to the elderly and taxpayers with dependents
The revised Republican budget proposes graduated income limits for the state’s earned income tax credit, rducing it from the current 27.5 percent of the federal earned income tax credit to a maximum of 25 percent for a family of three.
Democratic leaders of the House and Senate decided to negotiate an agreement on how to close remaining deficits of $3.5 billion with Malloy rather than continue bipartisan negotiations with their Republican counterparts.
Democrats and Republicans continued to snipe Tuesday over who was responsible for the end of the bipartisan talks.
The Democrats are bumping up against the schedule that House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, and Senate President Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, have set for approving the 2018 and 2019 budget.
Rep. Arthur J. O’Neill, R-Southbury, questioned if the budget votes will go forward Thursday.
I think it is going to be a toss-up. It doesn’t sound like they have their ducks all lined up in a row,” said O’Neill, the longest-serving Republican lawmaker.
“What they decided is they are now going to try to negotiate with the governor,” he continued. “This might be a posture on their part to put pressure on him to agree on some things. OK, we’re negotiating with you, but if we don’t come to terms, then we can always go back and try to negotiate with Republicans. It doesn’t sound like they’ve really declared that they have seen white smoke.”
In his meeting with Democrats, Malloy said he also sought to impart a sense of urgency.
“As I said to the leaders I met with today, we’re running out of time. Get this thing done,” he said.
Malloy has been setting state spending through executive order since July 1 because a budget for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years was not adopted on time.
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