Gov. Dannel Malloy would like the state legislature to move forward with a vote on a new, two-year state budget even if the crucial piece in balancing the spending plan in not in place. The General Assembly is poised to vote on the budget as early as this week even though the $2 billion in concessions from state employee unions has not yet been agreed upon.
Roy Occhiogrosso, senior advisor to Malloy, tells The Hanging Shad that ideally, the deal with the unions would be in place in time for the vote. “The governor hopes [the union piece would be done], but if the legislature is ready to vote on a budget—which could be as soon as this week—and a deal has not [yet] been reached, he would like them to go forward anyway,” he said. Occhiogrosso added that the administration does not see a problem with that scenario because the legislature has many times in the past voted on a budget based on assumed savings. The state Constitution requires that the legislature pass a balanced budget. Of course, “balanced” has been a term of art in the past.
Just when—or if—the union concessions will be done is a major and crucial question. Every version of the state budget that has been proposed—Malloy’s original plan, the Republicans’ alternative “no-new-taxes” plan and the final, Malloy-Democratic majority agreed-upon plan—rely on getting $2 billion in union givebacks over two years to balance. Negotiations are taking place behind closed doors so there is no telling just how close to a deal (or how far from one) the two sides are.