- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Latest on the opening day of the Connecticut General Assembly (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

State employee unions are warning about the possible negative implications of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s revised $19.8 billion budget that could lead to more than 1,000 job cuts.

Jennifer Schneider, spokeswoman for the union SEIU 1199 New England, said Wednesday eliminating jobs that provide vital services, such as ensuring safe drinking water or caring for people with disabilities, could be a “dangerous path” for Connecticut.

Malloy says the cuts would be made through “attrition or other means.” He’s told state lawmakers he didn’t take the job cuts lightly but says they’re necessary given the state’s lack of revenue.

The Democratic governor says unfunded pensions must also be addressed.

SEIU represents 7,500 state employees.

Malloy unveiled his revised budget on Wednesday, the opening day of the new legislative session.


2:15 p.m.

Democratic and Republican legislators are voicing concerns over Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposal for across-the-board cuts to state agencies and giving agency heads more latitude in deciding where to reduce spending.

Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, a Democrat, said Wednesday that lawmakers are concerned Malloy’s plan might weaken the legislature’s prerogative to make certain budgetary decisions. He says a 1969 law helped to ensure fiscal parity between the legislative and executive branches.

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano calls Malloy’s proposal “reckless” for reducing discretionary agency accounts by 5.75 percent. He says it’s the legislature’s responsibility to examine the policy implications of spending reductions.

The Democratic governor told lawmakers Wednesday, the opening day of the new legislative session, that he has “no desire to diminish the General Assembly’s right to set policy.”


1 p.m.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says his proposed, revised budget would reduce the state’s workforce by more than 1,000 employees.

The Democrat said Wednesday the jobs would be eliminated through attrition and “other means.”

Malloy was addressing a joint session of the General Assembly on the opening day of the new legislative session.

Malloy said he doesn’t take it lightly that some state jobs will be eliminated. He promised, however, that he’ll continue to work with state employees to make sure the reductions are “done fairly and with great care.”

Malloy is also calling for changes in how unfunded pension liabilities are financed. He said the state’s outstanding obligations are “shaking the confidence of the business community” and looming over the next generation of state taxpayers.


12:30 p.m.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says Connecticut is not alone when it comes to fiscal challenges.

In his State of the State Address on Wednesday, the Democrat told a joint session of the General Assembly that neighboring Massachusetts faces a more than $600 million shortfall. Pennsylvania faces a $2.4 billion deficit. And Louisiana expects a nearly $2 billion deficit next year.

Malloy unveiled a proposed $19.8 billion budget that pares $569 million in spending, which he blamed on lower-than-expected revenues and an “inability” over past decades to make the changes and investments needed to move the state’s economy forward.

The new fiscal year budget faces a $500 million deficit.

Malloy said expectations of what the state government can afford must change, as well as how it provides services.


11 a.m.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is proposing to reduce spending for next fiscal year’s budget by $569 million.

The Democrat on Tuesday offered a revised $19.8 billion budget for the General Assembly to consider. Last year, lawmakers had approved a $20.4 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Lawmakers are returning to the state Capitol for the opening day of the new legislative session, which runs until May 4.

Ben Barnes, Malloy’s budget director, says the proposed budget cuts have been driven by reduced state revenues, including the personal income tax. Barnes is blaming slow wage growth for the drop in anticipated income tax revenues.

Barnes says the governor’s revised budget, which awaits negotiations with the Democratic controlled legislature, does not raise taxes.


4 a.m.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is unveiling his proposed changes to the two-year state budget enacted last year, promising to cut spending.

The Democrat is scheduled to address state lawmakers during the opening day of the General Assembly on Wednesday at noon.

Malloy is expected to present five principals he says will make Connecticut’s budget more predictable and the state’s economy more sustainable. The governor’s revised fiscal plan comes amid projections of a $500 million shortfall in the 2016-17 state budget. Larger deficits are predicted in the following two years.

Besides limits on spending, Malloy will call for changes to the state employee pension system, reprioritizing funding for core state services, reforming the budget process and requiring state agencies to be more cost-effective.

The legislative session will adjourn May 4.

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