Conn. State Budget Fix: No Retirement Incentive; No Special Session Next Week; Leaders Encouraged

Legislative leaders and negotiators from Gov. Dannel Malloy’s office are closer to an agreement to fix the mess that is the state budget but it won’t include a retirement incentive program (RIP) and there won’t be a special session next week to vote on the deal as originally planned.

State Senate President Marty Looney tells The Hanging Shad the talks Tuesday were productive. “I am encouraged and although we have some issues still to be ironed out, I think we are closer to a comprehensive agreement. We’ll meet again tomorrow [Wednesday],” he said.

One issue that was the source of serious disagreement—whether a retirement incentive program for state workers will be part of the budget-fixing package—has been settled. “It’s off the table,” Looney said. “When our fiscal people looked at it, we realized it would only save about half of what we originally projected.” Negotiators originally thought a RIP would save about $79 million up front. Whether RIPs actually saved money in the long run has been questioned, including by The Shad.

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Lawmakers also targeted next week for a special session to vote on a bipartisan budget mitigation plan but that’s not going to happen. “There is some question as to how much notice must be given for a special session. But we it will definitely be before Christmas,” Looney said.

The state is facing a huge budget deficit—somewhere between $118 million and $330 million for this fiscal year and billions over four years. Now, other stakeholders are weighing in.

The Connecticut Business and Industry Association as can be expected wants more budget cuts and less burden on business. State Comptroller Kevin Lembo wants $350 million cut from the 2016 budget.