Legislative leaders from both political parties remained in negotiations well into the evening Wednesday, and couldn’t be reached for comment. They told reporters Tuesday that they had made tremendous progress over the weekend, without Malloy present, and hoped to have a budget to present to him in the coming days.
The state remains without a budget and continues to operate under Malloy’s executive order while lawmakers negotiate a plan to close a projected $3.5-billion deficit over the current and upcoming fiscal years.
The legislature did approve the GOP-crafted budget, with support from eight Democrats, on Sept. 15, but Malloy cited a number of concerns and vetoed it at the end of last month.
He said Wednesday that those issues, including the Education Cost Sharing grant formula, cuts to higher education, changes to pensions, remain concerns.
“I will say that whatever is contained in that document has to be free of gimmicks and games and pension steals and the like, and I would expect that since we’ve made that known all along,” he said.
Malloy said he is working on a revised budget proposal of his own, adding he doesn’t share the confidence legislative leaders expressed Tuesday that they are closing in on a budget deal.
“I watched the body language yesterday, and although there were words of agreement, there wasn’t a whole lot of body language of agreement,” he said.
Malloy didn’t lay out many details from his budget, but did say that it would likely have fewer tax increases, more spending cuts, and a smaller reduction for the University of Connecticut.
Malloy also said he will continue to push for changes in municipal aid, saying lawmakers can’t expect to address spending if they aren’t willing to change allocations that amount for roughly 25 percent of the budget.
Changes to municipal aid, including dramatically revising statutory formulas to benefit struggling cities and requiring towns to contribute to teachers’ pensions, have been met with criticism from lawmakers on both sides.