Bipartisan budget cut plan passes, union rallies start


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The nearly quarter billion dollar state budget deficit for this year has been fixed with a bi-partisan vote at the State Capitol. But that only mends the broken state budget process until July 1st, so another big round of cuts and employee layoffs will be next.

The State Senate passed the current year budget fix by a vote of 33 to 3 this afternoon. The House followed a short time later by a vote of 127 to 16. All eyes now turn to the massive red ink problem for the budget year that starts in July.

In what is expected to be series of State Capitol rallies hundreds of public safety union employees chanting “Tax the rich, not the workers” demonstrated in support of their union leaders for not negotiating further give backs to their pension and benefits plan. Saying they’re members of the public, too and making the point that the give backs would be like a tax hike for their families.

“Our unions have given back in 2009 under Governor Rell and again in 2011 under Governor Malloy and I believe we’ve sacrificed enough,” said police detective Thomas Ruggiero who lives in Wallingford.

“The politicians continually mismanage money and put the fallback on state of Connecticut residents,” said Rebecca Martinez, a corrections officer from East Haven.

And some of these public safety employees are not long term workers and know that without the give backs, their jobs are more likely to be on the chopping block next month.

Like Eardlley Punter, a correction officer from Waterbury with three years on the job, “I’m a little nervous but you know, with the turn out that we have today, we can’t be ignored.”

But the Governor is ignoring their pleas and reiterated today that there will be no tax hikes, “What they’re saying is ‘raise taxes exclusively on the rich.’ That’s really what they’re saying as if that would give us enough money, which it wouldn’t.”

And today Democrat and Republican legislative leaders, who also oppose any tax hikes, came together again for a bipartisan agreement cutting over $200 million from the current state budget.

“The real message here is that we are not Washington D.C. The fact that we were able to do this in a bipartisan way,” said Democratic Majority Leader Bob Duff of Norwalk.

“That’s what happens when conversations take place and open minds to share ideas. You end up with doing good for the State of Connecticut,” said Republican leader Len Fasano of North Haven.

There are about $100 million in cuts evenly distributed across the board about $82 million was found in accounts where money had not yet been spent by various agencies. The plan restores funding to the hospitals and protects municipal aid for this year.

To see the entire list of cuts, click here.

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