Malloy calls for budget talks to begin next week
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Friday proposed another $220 million in cuts to close the state’s budget deficit, which will be the subject of a special legislative session that begins Dec. 19.
The Democratic governor’s ‘‘roadmap’’ identified areas where he believes cuts can be made, including $63.6 million at the Department of Social Services and $13.6 million at the Department of Education.
State Comptroller Kevin Lembo is projecting a $415 million deficit in this year’s $20 billion state budget. The estimated shortfall is $50 million higher than a Malloy administration figure.
Malloy appealed Friday for support from minority Republicans in drafting a final plan to bring before the General Assembly. He called for private negotiations to begin Monday with legislative leaders.
‘‘It is my hope — and I've communicated this to legislative leaders from both parties — that the final plan will be a bipartisan one,’’ Malloy said in a news release. ‘‘That’s my goal, and if all sides come to the table in good faith, I'm hopeful we can get it done.’’
Senate President Donald Williams Jr., a Democrat, said the governor deserves credit for initiating bipartisan talks.
‘‘The reality is, there are no easy choices but difficult cuts must be made,’’ Williams said. ‘‘I agree with the governor, however, that mid-year cuts to municipal aid should not be included in the mitigation package.’’
Last week, Malloy ordered more than $100 million in spending cuts across state agencies. The new proposal identifies where additional cuts could be made by various agencies, but it does not include details.
‘‘This won’t be easy, and parts of it will be very difficult. We are very mindful of the fact that most of the cuts that will end up being part of the final package will have a real impact on people’s lives, so we want to do this as carefully as possible. But the reality is we have no other choice; spending must be cut,’’ Malloy said.
The governor already has authorized $550 million in temporary lines of credit at the request of the state treasurer in case the state needs cash to pay its bills.