BUDGET REAX—WILLIAMS: ‘PAINFUL BUT HONEST’; DONOVAN: ‘LOTS OF QUESTIONS’; REPUBLICANS: ‘MORE CUTS NEEDED’

As Gov. Dan Malloy readies his historic budget address for tomorrow, various players and stake holders are weighing in with their own takes on the budget situation thus far. The Shad spoke to Senate President Don Williams and Speaker of the House Chris Donovan and attempted (unsuccessfully) to speak to Senate Minority Leader John McKinney and House Minority Leader Larry Cafero, although both gave a joint media availability (easier to do than answer questions from The Shad).

As I told FOX-CT today (for their 10 pm newscast) it’s clear the enormity of the financial problem in the state is finally sinking in. Malloy is calling for $1.5 billion in new taxes on everyone—all income brackets, all drivers, all drinkers. And the work starts just now. Shared sacrifices he said was necessary, shared sacrifice is what we get. I called around to take the temperature of the key people.

State Senate President Don Williams (who I used to work for) was the most observant and thoughtful. “I think there is pain throughout the budget and we expected that,” Sen. Williams said. “But at least it’s an honest budget. While we don’t know all the details yet, we have to remember that two years ago we were handed a budget [from then-Gov. Rell] that was $2 million out of whack the day she proposed it. This budget is hard on everyone but it’s balanced without gimmicks.” So very true.

Speaker of the House Chris Donovan said the process needs to take place just like every other budget. “We were briefed and as you might expect, everyone has questions about the details.” The Shad, knowing that Donovan is a big union man, asked about the $2 billion in concessions Malloy is relying on. “The $2 billion is a target that is between the governor and the unions. We don’t really have a say in that.” That is true and Donovan seems ready to do the heavy lifting that may be required of him.

Calls for comment by House Minority Leader Larry Cafero and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney were not returned. To be specific, I spoke to Cafero’s guy Pat O’Neill who said he tried to get Cafero to call me and Senate Republican Communications Director Brett Cody has not returned multiple calls and emails. The Republican lawmakers did do a press avail today.

Catch me talking about the budget and other issues tonight on FOX-CT News at 10 pm, on NBC-30 tomorrow morning at 5:15 am and 6:15 am and then in the 8:00 am hour on FOX-CT.