Photo of Senator Looney.

Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

Representing New Haven, Hamden & North Haven

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Statement of Senate Democratic Leaders Looney and Duff on Republicans Walking Away and Ending Bipartisan Budget Negotiations

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) today released this joint statement after Republican legislative leaders walked out on the ongoing state budget negotiations, thereby ending any hopes of achieving a bipartisan budget agreement:

“No one has a monopoly on good ideas regarding the state budget. We have said so before, and we have sat down with our Republican colleagues and incorporated their ideas into previous state budgets. That was our position in these budget talks as well; to say otherwise is disingenuous. We have discussed numerous systemic reforms and structural changes with Republicans, and Democrats have found common ground with Republicans on about two dozen important structural reforms for which they advocated, from the makeup of binding arbitration panels to hearings on state auditor’s findings, municipal mandate relief, mandatory votes on labor contracts, the bonding cap, various state regulations, and other items. You will see these systemic reforms and others in our budget plan.

“Today’s meeting was supposed to discuss a list of Republican arguments in support of some of their suggestions which we have not taken up. However, they never delivered that letter, and they walked away from the negotiating table. We have always suspected that legislative Republicans would find some excuse to walk out on bipartisan budget talks, we just didn’t know exactly how and when that would occur. Unfortunately, today, our Republican colleagues chose the easy path of political posturing over the more difficult path of making painful but necessary public policy changes. For five two-year budget cycles—more than a decade—Republicans have reduced themselves to mere spectator status in crafting and adopting a state budget that the people of Connecticut need and deserve. And they have chosen to continue on that path again.

“Meanwhile, the Republican claim today of finally having their own workable budget proposal is dubious. They may have a budget that balances revenues and expenditures, but could it receive a majority of votes in the House and Senate? Would it be signed into law by the governor? This is the basic hands-on, legislative craftwork that has proven so difficult for so long, and which Democrats and the executive branch have been grappling with.

“The time for talk is now over, and the time for action has come. We will take action.”

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