Connecticut lawmakers are beginning to pick apart the governor's budget proposal. But for now, all eyes are on the U.S. Senate and the federal stimulus bill.
A bipartisan compromise on the stimulus package is up for consideration in the U.S. Senate. The deal was brokered in part by Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. In its current form, it cuts $40 billion from a pot of money the House version set aside for direct aid to state governments.
Democrats in Connecticut's state Senate estimate that that change alone could cost the state 350 million dollars. Rell's budget proposal counts on 2 billion dollars of stimulus money over the next 3 years.
"We know that if the state stabilization funds are cut, it will have an immediate and severe impact not only on the state, but families in Connecticut."
Derek Slap is a spokesman for Senate President Don Williams.
"We're watching this with far more than the usual type of interest that we'd have with a bill or debate in Washington because we know this is going to land on our door step in a number of weeks."
While there are plenty of differences between the General Assembly's Democratic Leadership and the governor on budget questions, they are unified in this effort. They started the week with a meeting to discuss a strategy to restore the state funding, among other things.
For his part, Lieberman acknowledges the compromise bill in the Senate does contain holes. While he did not mention state aid directly, Lieberman said in a statement that working out a compromise required that "some funding for important and worthy programs was not included" because it would not immediately jumpstart the economy. He said he would continue to pursue that funding in other legislation.