THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 12: 00 o'clock p. m. , Speaker Joe Aresimowicz of the 30th District in the Chair. )

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The House will come to order. (Gavel) Representative Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and good afternoon to you and everybody here in the Chamber. There is going to be a Democratic caucus. I'm not sure if our friends across the aisle will, but they're gonna caucus as well, I'm told. So, we'll stand, subject to the Call of the Chair. We'll be in recess for a bit. Thanks.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The motion is recess, subject to the Call of the Chair. So ordered.

(Gavel)

(On motion of Representative Ritter of the 1st District, the House recessed at 12: 03 o'clock p. m. , to meet again at the Call of the Chair. )

(The House of Representatives was called to order at 1: 49 o'clock p. m. , Speaker Joe Aresimowicz of the 30th District in the Chair. )

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Will the House please come to order? (Gavel) Will members, staff and guest please rise and direct your attention to the dais, where Representative Pat Billie Miller will lead us in prayer.

REP. MILLER (145TH):

Let us pray. Heavenly Father, we seek Your blessing upon the work of this special session. That the concerns of the day touch the lives of all of our citizens. Enlighten our imaginations to come forward with creative solutions so that we might respond to the pressing needs of our state. Be with us in our deliberations. Amen.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Would Representative Simanski of the 62nd District please come to the dais to lead in the Pledge of Allegiance.

REP. SIMANSKI (62ND):

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Rosario. Representative Tong of the 47th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for a point of personal privilege.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, sir.

REP. TONG (147TH):

Mr. Speaker, on Monday morning, I think most of us, all of us in this Chamber woke up, looked at our phones, turned on our computers, and were horrified and shocked by the tremendous loss of life in Las Vegas. Fifty-nine souls so far that have been lost. More than 500 people injured. And in moments like this, I think you often say you can't imagine what it must be like to lose people like that. But here in Connecticut, we can. We know this pain better than most and we are now joined with the people of Las Vegas in a way that I'm sure that the people of Las Vegas and the people of Connecticut would hope that we had never been joined. And so I think it's important that all of us; I hope I can speak for this Chamber and the people in this state, offer our deepest condolences, offer our help and say sincerely that whatever the people of Las Vegas need, the people of Nevada and their families, we're here for them. And I hope that we can pledge that we'll honor the people that have been lost and their families by remembering them, by reading about them. I was heartened by the story of a young man whose sister jumped on top of him right away to shield him as the bullets rained down and she said, "I love you. " I would hope that my sister would do that for me too. And so, Mr. Speaker, I hope that this morning -- or this afternoon, we will honor the people that are lost and their families with a moment of silence.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Would all please rise? We'll observe a moment of silence. (Silence in the Chamber. ) (Gavel) Thank you, Representative Tong.

Representative Rosario of the 128th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. ROSARIO (128TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to think about and reflect on the people of the U. S. Territory of Puerto Rico and also the U. S. Virgin Islands and the people on the Island of Dominica. Like many people across the State of Connecticut of Puerto Rican heritage, many of our roots are back home on the island. The devastation that we've seen is something that -- it's heartbreaking. We feel helpless. My father passed away when I was 10 years old and they came to Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1978, and I was born here. And my father built a house in Aibonito, Puerto Rico, and that was one of the only memories that I really remember of my father. And once we started getting photos and videos of the damage that took place on the island and to see that the one thing that I had a physical memory of my father, was destroyed, and family members who couldn't communicate because bridges were gone. And slowly but surely, I've been getting messages from constituents who are having relatives die because they can't get the medical attention. It's heartbreaking. These are American citizens; people who have fought in wars in the United States Military. Just two years ago, we dedicated East Main Street to the 65th Infantry, the Borinqueneers. They fought in the Korean War. And to know that there are United States Veterans - Veterans, dying, suffering, it breaks my heart. So, for all the people that have perished and that are in pain right now, I ask that this House rise for a moment of silence.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative, we will do so, but I think there's a couple more Representatives that also wanted to speak on that. Representative Vargas of the 6th District, you have the floor, sir.

REP. VARGAS (6TH):

Yes, I just want to echo what Representative Rosario said. But I also want to add a word of thank you to the generous people of the State of Connecticut, to our Governor, who sent the National Guard to the Island of Puerto Rico, to the many churches, nonprofit organizations, community groups, that have come together to do all they can to assist the victims, and to many of our legislators here who have been leading the efforts in their community. Here in Hartford, Minnie Gonzalez and Angel Arce and my colleagues and I and many of -- many, many other colleagues of ours throughout the State that have taken it upon themselves to lead this effort. And I join Representative Rosario in requesting a moment of silence.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Gonzalez of the 3rd District, you have the floor, madam.

REP. GONZALEZ (3RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First, I want to say thank you to every single person, every single organization that one way or the other has been helping. (Crying) Thank you to the Reps that went. This past Saturday, I was -- we were having a fund raiser at [Park - 00: 09: 12] Street, Representative Vargas, Representative Arce and myself. But I want to say thank you to all the Reps that show up over there to give us support. So, thank you. Thank you very much. You know, it's very sad, all of this that's going on - Texas, Florida, Las Vegas and Puerto Rico. But it's -- it's frustrating when you pick up the paper and you see people tweeting, saying that Puerto Ricans, the only thing that we like to do is just sitting and waiting to people to give us everything on our hands. In a way, it's like saying Puerto Ricans are doing nothing.

Well, for those that are not Puerto Ricans, I am Puerto Rican and I am 100 percent Puerto Rican, and I can feel it in my veins every single minute of my life. But saying that Puerto Ricans are not doing -- are waiting for people to do and help them. I can tell you that every single Puerto Rican out there, they are cleaning the streets, they are cleaning the roads, they are helping each other. Whatever you see a video; you can see people working together for the benefit of the island. But it's sad. It's very sad that knowing that we are a United States citizen; and it's hard and it's very sad to feel like we are, but people are treating us like a second-class citizen. It's bad. It's really bad. When things happened in Harvey, I know that a lot of Puerto Ricans, including Puerto Rico, that were shipping supplies to Texas. Yes. They were helping Texas. They were helping Florida. The Latinos, the Puerto Ricans, they got together in Florida and they were helping each other. And now, we need help.

We got our families, our friends dying in Puerto Rico and we need help. (Crying) And again, if you can help any way possible, just let us know. The Latino Reps, they're getting together and we're putting different events - New Britain, Meriden, Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven. And we planning to use that money to help the people from Puerto Rico. We're not using any kind of organization. We're planning to go directly. But I want to be very clear that everybody, every person that want to go to Puerto Rico, they are paying their own expenses. We're not gonna touch that money. That money is for the people that we have in Puerto Rico.

So, if anyone can help, you can get in touch with us. Right now I have a room in one of the schools, one in my school, Parkville, and we have supplies like you don't believe. We got volunteers putting everything in boxes, hoping that we can get help so we can ship that container to Puerto Rico. So again, we need help. And I will say, again, thank you very much for your help and the people that went us, including our Majority Leader that he was there for us Saturday. So, thank you very much. Thanks.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you Representative. Representative Arce.

REP. ARCE (4th):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise to follow up on what my colleagues has spoked about. You know, it's been a painful week for us Puerto Ricans. Knowing that our people in Puerto Rico are going through some hard time and we're not there to help them out. It's been a long week. We have collected many, many supplies to ship to our people in Puerto Rico. I want everybody here to know that we Puerto Ricans are very humble, very humble people, that we come to the rescue to everyone that needs us in a time of need. We never say no to anyone who is in need. And the first thing that we do is we stand there and we [inaudible - 00: 14: 38].

I haven't heard from any of my family yet. I don't know if some of my families are dead or they're still alive. There were many racial comments made on Facebook, but I don't pay mind to that. My father taught me to ignore those things. And it was very hurtful just to - we were already in pain in watching our people suffering and then reading all these racial comments that were made about us Puerto Ricans and the Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico. Comments like, "they should be exterminated. " Comments like, "they should die. " Man, that was hurtful. I was born in Puerto Rico. I was raised in the State of Connecticut and trust me; I love the State of Connecticut. I love this country. I love what this country stands for.

When I came here in 1967, we faced a lot of this racial stuff. I thought this was over. But it remind me of the time when I was growing up and I can't believe that today, in 2017, we facing this stance. My island needs help. My island (crying) -- thank you, Mr. Speaker. If anybody can help us, please.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, Representative. Representative Reyes of the 75th, you have the floor, sir.

REP. REYES (75TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On behalf of my colleagues that have already spoken, I'd just like to echo, first of all, thanks to the many people from the great State of Connecticut who have already gone above and beyond in helping. The assistance and the help has been overwhelming. So much so that our next big hurdle is actually how we're going to transport this material to the ports or to the airport to get it physically out of Connecticut and on its way to Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands for whatever it is that we need to do. That's really where our next area of concern of help is. But I would be remiss if I don't thank everybody who has been involved in any way, shape or form. And I will speak particularly in Waterbury, there's been two bus companies that have stepped up to the plate without anybody even asking them, and that's Durham Bus Company and All Star Transportation. They have volunteered their buses and we filled them and filled them and filled them and filled them. And then we ran into a problem that we needed a warehouse, and a solution came for that as well. So, there are so many people to thank on this side, but our real challenge now, as a group, is to try to get the materials over to the people that really need it, who are really suffering.

I have many relatives in Puerto Rico. I have not been able to talk to my sister in 15 days. She's in Utuado, Puerto Rico, which is in the -- kind of where the epicenter of the eye of the storm. Utuado is in the northern central part of the island and it's up high, so they lost power quickly. So we're dealing with no power and no water in a kind of a remote place. This is the kind of place that the Marines are gonna have to land in to go and help these folks out. As my colleagues already said, we thank those that already supported us in any way, shape or form and we continue to ask for God's prayer. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, sir. If we could please rise, we'll do a moment of silence as a moment of reflection and a moment of prayer for the ongoing recovery of the Island of Puerto Rico, but more importantly, the people of Puerto Rico. (Silence in the Chamber. ) (Gavel) Thank you.

Representative Walker of the 93d, for what purposes do you rise, madam?

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A point of personal privilege?

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Please proceed, madam.

REP. WALKER (93RD):

Mr. Speaker, I rise today because I want to talk about our family, the family that we have here at the Capitol. Part of our support family that we have is our nonpartisan staff that help us every day in crafting all the things that we do. They work hours and hours to help us understand the most about our government. Mr. Speaker, I rise to talk about one gentleman who lost his father last night. Neil Ayers, who is the director of Office of Fiscal Analysis, has done a fantastic job in helping us this past year and he has made a point of going through this without ever sharing any of the pains that he has personally. Last night, Dr. Albert Ayers of Norfolk passed away. He is survived by his wife, Corinne. Neil is a child of eight, so I know right now, he is with his family and he is giving the love and the compassion that he needs to to his family. So, Mr. Speaker, I ask that we all rise and have a moment of silence for Dr. Albert Ayers.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Just to make you pause one moment again. I know Representative Ziobron, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee in the House, also would like to say a few words.

REP. ZIOBRON (34TH):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much. And I couldn't agree with my good friend and colleague, Representative Walker, more, especially in the Appropriations wing. We really value the contributions of our nonpartisan staff and OFA in particular. And last night, I actually was up in their office at 5: 00 o'clock and peeked around to think I was gonna see Neil at his desk, because that's where he always is, ready, willing and able to help any legislator regardless of whether you're on Appropriations Committee or not. And when he wasn't there, I was a little concerned. Our thoughts are with him and his family as well on this side of the aisle. We could not do our jobs without the dedicated staff on the fifth floor and I appreciate the opportunity to also recognize that it is a family, when we are talking about that, like my good friend mentioned. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, madam. If we all could rise. (Silence in the Chamber. ) (Gavel) Thank you.

Is there any business on the Clerk's desk?

CLERK:

Yes, Mr. Speaker. There is a communication from the Secretary of the State, the Governor's veto message.

Dear Madam Secretary: I hereby return, without my signature, House Bill 7501 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2019, APPROPRIATIONS AND IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS THEREFORE AND AUTHORIZING AND ADJUSTING BONDS OF THE STATE FOR VARIOUS PURPOSES. This bill would implement a budget for the 2017-2019 biennium. Unfortunately, this budget does not balance, risks potential litigation, and undermines our fiscal stability, educational system, and economic development efforts.

This budget adopts changes to the state's pension plans that are both financially and legally unsound. Prior administrations and legislatures have, over decades, consistently and dangerously underfunded the state's pension obligations, amassing an unfunded debt obligation that has increasingly stymied our ability to make the key investments necessary to strengthen and grow our economy - education, transportation and economic diversification. Since 2011, my administration and a legislative majority, working together, have put us on the right track by paying down unfunded liabilities, fully funding the pension obligations of current employees, and making historic agreements with labor that save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars in the coming decades. This budget would reverse that progress.

The bill makes prospective unilateral changes to vested pension benefits, creating significant risk of a constitutional challenge, as well as exposure to potential litigation and hundreds of millions of dollars of liability. It is a road Connecticut has been down before. The state is already paying hundreds of millions in penalties for a similarly foolhardy approach taken by a previous governor. Furthermore, the potential financial consequences of this measure -- this maneuver increase exponentially when used as the basis to avoid meeting our obligations to fund our pensions.

This budget grabs savings today on the false premise of change a decade from now, a promise that cannot be made because no legislature can unilaterally bind a future legislature. It eliminates $ 144 million dollars in pension contributions this fiscal year, $ 177. 8 million dollars next year, and hundreds of millions of dollars in the years to come, solely by seeking to limit the state's authority to enter into future agreements over pension benefits. Disguised as structural reform, these changes echo poor decisions of Connecticut's past, when the state failed to make full payments on our existing commitments. The 2017 SEBAC labor agreement, approved by a majority of the legislature, included structural reforms to the pension system by capping the impact of overtime in pensions for all new employees. This budget included the same provisions for limiting overtime, but in a manner that guarantees litigation will ensue. Through these fiscally irresponsible changes, this budget would fail to move the state closer to fully funding our pension obligations, a stated goal of legislative leaders in both parties.

In a similar gimmick, this budget diverts teachers' pension contributions to the general fund while at the same time offering no solution to reform funding for the teachers' pension system, potentially leaving future taxpayers at the precipice of a fiscal cliff that could reach as high as $ 6 billion dollars. The diversification of the teachers' retirement contributions from the teachers' retirement fund creates significant potential tax consequences for the employees and jeopardizes the tax status of the entire fund.

In addition to failing to address our pension obligations honestly, this budget undermines our efforts to grow our economy and our tax base. It would do lasting harm to our increasingly competitive K-12 and higher education systems, as well as our efforts to create a highly trained, capable workforce. This budget falls short in addressing the irrational and unfair Education Cost Sharing formula, and instead exacerbates the inequities of the current system. It purports to increase education funding, but cuts targeted aid for teacher training, student literacy, and programs for struggling districts and schools that tie funding to accountability. Cuts to Connecticut's neediest towns are used to pay for increases to the wealthiest communities. For example, Salisbury would gain 29 percent in total town aid, while Waterbury would lose 5 percent.

Beyond its damage to our K-12 education system, the proposed budget also makes cuts to higher education that our universities, community colleges, and economy cannot absorb. It cuts nearly hundreds of millions of dollars more from UConn, recently ranked as the 18th best public university in the Nation. Its proponents slash funding, then challenge the university to find funding for critical programs elsewhere, rejecting the realities of competition for top-notch students and faculty, fundraising limitations, and collective bargaining rules. It also cuts $ 93 million dollars from the state universities and community colleges, which are critical to training the skilled employees that our businesses need. Finally, it eliminates any new scholarships for Connecticut's neediest students. Taken together, these cuts to higher education will inevitably lead to drastic tuition increases, fewer seats for in-state students in Connecticut colleges and universities, and a substantial decline in the paying population of students at our community colleges.

In the area of town aid, this budget spins a false narrative about how much funding municipalities would gain. While proponents of this bill claim that it increases funding to municipalities, it achieves this purported increase only by understating 2017 town aid totals by more than $ 60 million dollars, failing to account for state reimbursements to municipalities under the car tax cap. In reality, when town aid totals are compared to the actual numbers and all line items are added up, municipalities that need help the most will not get it. Hartford, for example, would lose $ 6. 8 million dollars at a time when its financial future is in peril, almost certainly forcing it into bankruptcy.

In fact, taking help away from those with the greatest need is a common theme in this budget. It deprioritizes areas where we have made significant progress in helping our most vulnerable residents, such as affordable housing, fighting homelessness, assistance to the elderly, and critical early childhood programs. In addition to dismantling highly successful energy policy reforms, it sweeps funding from the nationally acclaimed Connecticut Green Bank, diverting money from a surcharge that helps businesses and homeowners transition to clean, renewable energy. The budget also fails to lay the groundwork for the state's future success as it contains no plan to stabilize the Special Transportation Fund, endangering our ability to maintain and improve critical transportation infrastructure - a key factor that companies consider when choosing to maintain and grow their businesses in Connecticut.

In sum, this budget is unbalanced, unsustainable, and unwise. It cuts hundreds of millions of dollars from our colleges and universities, endangering our economic competitiveness. It creates the near-certainty that our capitol city will be plunged into bankruptcy, and it eviscerates proven funding and improvement programs for school districts with the greatest needs while sending more money to the wealthiest towns. It creates the illusion of fiscal responsibility, but what lurks behind that illusion is increased fiscal uncertainty, perilous constitutional and contractual risks, and a reversal of the real reforms we have made. Like so much of Connecticut's past fiscal decision making, it sacrifices our state's future prosperity in order to achieve an ostensible short-term fix.

I cannot overstate the urgency of the need for all parties to come together to negotiate a realistic, responsible budget that addresses our state's fiscal issues, distributes education aid equitably, and balances without the use of illusory gimmicks. And I must note that failure to reach a deal soon could risk federal approval for $ 343. 9 million dollars in increased provider tax revenue and $ 366. 5 million dollars in federal Medicaid reimbursement, which are critical to balancing the budget and increasing reimbursements to providers. I remain committed to engaging in honest dialogue with legislative leaders to reach an agreement that achieves these goals.

For all of these reasons, I disapprove of House Bill 7501 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2019, APPROPRIATIONS AND IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS THEREFORE AND AUTHORIZING THE ADJUSTING BONDS OF THE STATE FOR VARIOUS PURPOSES. Pursuant to Section 15 of Article Fourth of the Constitution of the State of Connecticut, I am returning House Bill 7501 without my signature.

Sincerely, Daniel P. Malloy, Governor.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

I order that to be printed in the Journal. (Gavel)

Will the Clerk please call Emergency Certified House Bill 7501?

CLERK:
Vetoed by the Governor, Emergency Certification House Bill No
. 7501 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2019, APPROPRIATIONS AND IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS THEREFORE AND AUTHORIZING AND ADJUSTING BONDS OF THE STATE FOR VARIOUS PURPOSES.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you very much, Clerk. Before calling for a motion, I'd like to point out to the Chamber that in order to take up this bill that was vetoed by the Governor; we need to follow a two-step process. The first step is a motion for reconsideration. Assuming that that motion is adopted, it would have to be by somebody from the prevailing side. And assuming that that motion is adopted, we will then move on to the second motion. That motion would be the motion to repass the vetoed bill. The first motion, the motion for reconsideration, is decided by a simple majority vote. The second motion is a motion to repass legislation and that motion requires a two-thirds vote or at least 101 members. I am requesting that members avoid a prolonged discussion on the first procedural motion and reserve their comments and remarks for the second motion to repass the legislation. With that being said, is there anybody that has a motion? (Pause) Is there a motion for reconsideration of Emergency Certified House Bill 7501? (Pause) Is there a motion from any member on the prevailing side of the vote on House Bill 7501? (Pause)

Seeing that no member from the prevailing side on House Bill Emergency Certified 7501, I recognize Representative Ritter of the 1st District.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I had words and remarks about where we have gone, but I suppose those are not really helpful to anybody at this time in this Chamber. So I would ask that the members listen to me if they could and the things I'm gonna say because I hope this is a step forward that we so desperately need for our state.

There is no budget right now that is law in the State of Connecticut that avoids the current predicament that we're all in. And we all share a great deal of passion for what could happen if we don't find a way to begin to put some numbers and some words to paper that we can pass. I've heard of middle schools closing. I've heard of draconian cuts being made, property taxes having to be raised, and I agree with all of it. And one of the arguments has been, from both sides of the aisle, that if you don't put something up that passes, we are left with the Executive Order. So whether we did a reconsider and didn't override the veto, this was not gonna pass today. And whether we did our own budget, potentially, without the support of the Governor and we passed it by a couple of votes, it wouldn't have become law either. So, we both have battled that idea and the realities I talked about a few weeks ago about our state constitutional requirements.

So, let me talk about a path for it, and I hope that the only question that we ask ourselves when we leave here today - Are we prepared to do this next week? Because it is a real path for it that will avoid October 31st. I say this, perhaps at great risk to myself, my own political career, because I don't know that I've talked to everybody about it. I don't know that I've talked to every Senator about it, and I don't know what's gonna happen when I go in the Governor's Office, when I say what I think we should do. But I do think there is a common-sense way to avoid October 31st and move the ball forward. Because there is no part -- there is no budget right now that can pass both Chambers and garner his signature, and there is no budget that could override a veto. We do agree, because for the first time, 2 weeks ago, we had two budgets side by side, OFA vetted. Not in a press conference, not in theoretical terms. We had two budgets side by side. So, we could see for the first time the line items that were identical. This takes no interpretation. It doesn't take one to argue over it. The line items are either identical or they're not. On the revenue side, which is what is so desperately needed for the Governor to avoid what he has to do; and it's not his fault there is no revenue coming in. There is $ 850 million dollars that is identical. So, to the people watching at home, let me explain what I mean by that. No negotiation needs to be done. There is no debate that would have to occur. The Republican budget that passed, and the Democratic budget that did not pass, literally identically, side by side, had $ 850 million dollars in agreement in revenue. One need not read further. One need not study it. They're identical. We could pass that.

We are unable to climb the mountain today, but we need to begin to take chunks off of this problem and avoid October 31st. So who among us can argue, if we have it in both of our budgets and it's unanimous and we agree on it? No dispute! It's in both budgets. Why not do that? Provide some stability, give comfort to our towns, implement the provisions the towns need, whether it's on ECS, MBR, we could do that. So what's the danger of this approach? Some have said -- there's two criticisms of it. One is it's not a full budget. Shirking your -- I agree. As I said, I stand here at great risk. I don't know what people are thinking in this Chamber right now. But this is really the best path forward as we negotiate a final budget. And let me say, progress is being made. Members are talking, leadership is talking. I do think we will get there, but we need a bridge over troubled financial waters, and that we do not have. And we're certainly not looking at having it in the next few days.

So I ask anyone in this Chamber, if we put on the board, a piece of paper, that was just the revenue that we all agreed upon. It's one sheet of paper. If that's all we did to start, the Executive Order could go away. We could appropriate what we needed to appropriate in ECS, give our towns comfort. It doesn't mean we stop our conversation. But the criticism that it's not a final budget, I take it right on the chin. I don't disagree because it's not feasible between now and Thursday. The budget that passed two weeks ago will never be overridden or we will never override the veto. And although we're working at it, the time it's gonna take to draft the language and get a final deal in a bipartisan way, I think is doubtful to occur in the next four or five days.

There are probably some other things we could implement that are in agreement So, how far away from balance would we be? I don't know, $ 400 million dollars, $ 500 million dollars, $ 300 million dollars? I get it. We'd be right back in deficit mitigation. But we need something. We need momentum. And today, we stood up as Americans to think about all the things we have in common - all the things we have in common. Connecticut needs us to find that commonality right now. This is a dire, dire moment. So, to my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, if what I say offends you intellectually, if you think I'm crazy, I will take all the heat. But I stand here today that I believe there is a solution to avoid October 31st, that provides comfort, that should pass 151-0. Because all you have to do is look at the two budgets and pluck those things that are agreed upon. There's no debate. It's already been voted on.

I hope you will join me. I know that there are people in my caucus and leadership and staff; we have talked about concepts like this, and often times, people do not agree with me, for the reasons I laid out. Or that it will make it harder to get a final budget. I probably concur with that thought, but it's October 3rd and all I'm hearing from my -- from the members on both sides is, "can you guys stop the bleeding? Can you stop October 31st?" So, breaking with custom, perhaps tradition, and at great risk to being greatly criticized for what I suggested, whether it's in the editorial board or comment to the newspaper, I believe it is our best bet in the next seven to ten days. It will avoid the Executive Order. It will be unanimous. It'll be bipartisan. And yes, we have more work to do. But you can't -- we're trying to chisel away a mountain, when we should be aiming to chisel away a boulder. And if we put this in place, our deficit would go from about $ 1. 6 billion dollars, to about $ 500 million dollars. I hope everyone in this caucus will consider joining me next week.

If we can do this in a bipartisan way, it sends a message upstairs and there that the negotiations have changed, the debate has changed, the framework has changed. I believe now is a great moment of opportunity. And for those who criticize and disagree, I wholeheartedly respect you. I'm putting myself out there. I believe this is the only solution that will work in the next seven to ten days. Mr. Speaker, having said that, I move that we adjourn, subject to the Call of the Chair.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

The question before the Chamber is on adjournment. (Gavel)

REP. KLARIDES (114th):

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to say a few words.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Representative Klarides, are you going to make a motion for reconsideration or no? I'll just have the Clerk remove that from the board.

REP. KLARIDES (114th):

No, I will not be, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Clerk, will you please remove House Bill 7501 from the board? Are there any announcements or introductions? Representative Klarides, you have the floor, madam.

REP. KLARIDES (114th):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I stand today to say I certainly respect the Majority Leader's comments. And we make comments we make and we have conversations we have not because we think everyone will agree with us. And I would hope that we respect everyone's opinion in regards to that. My problem is, I think it over simplifies this problem. We talk about where we are with this budget as if it's April, not October. We talk about where we are with this budget as if October 1st did not happen two days ago. And most of our towns or cities are either getting zeroed out with education funding or significantly cut.

We talk about this budget as if there is not a viable option out there. I have said a million times, and I will say until I am blue in the face, this budget that passed that the Governor vetoed is not perfect. There is no such document that exists. But is beyond me why on October 3rd, 2017, we do not start with a budget that has passed as a base and move forward. The Majority Leader, the Speaker, the Senate Leaders and the Governor and I have been in negotiations for the past week. We met last night. We're supposed to be meeting today. The point of that is to try and move the State of Connecticut forward! Clearly I was wrong in my understanding. Clearly I was wrong in my understanding that the purpose of that was to come to an agreement in any way we can.

To hear that we came in today, because we want to end the silliness, to hear and talk about a budget as if this doesn't exist, as if there was no other budget on the table. I gotta tell you, I have -- as frustrated as I have been, I remain hopeful that we can move this forward and make the changes that you and you and you want to make in a responsible way. But the Majority Leader is correct, we do need something. We have something. We have an option of what we do with it. To sit here in the middle of negotiations and to call us in today, knowing (swear) well that those votes were not here today and we possibly could've gotten them moving forward, is a disservice to the state, is a disservice to the negotiations and all the parties, and is a disservice to the citizens of the State of Connecticut. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Madam Minority Leader, with that being said, are you prepared now to offer a motion for reconsideration?

REP. KLARIDES (114th):

No, Mr. Speaker, I am not.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

Thank you, madam. Majority Leader Ritter.

REP. RITTER (1ST):

Mr. Speaker, just quickly, since we don't have a motion to reconsider and we will not be taking this up, I would again just ask the question to everyone in the Chamber. Everyone in this Chamber has agreed on that revenue I discussed on - 150-0. Let's end the Executive Order, let's change this conversation. Let's do it next week. And I look forward to work with you all in that capacity. I move that we adjourn, subject to the Call of the Chair.

SPEAKER ARESIMOWICZ (30TH):

We are adjourned, subject to the Call of the Chair.

(Gavel)

(On motion of Representative Ritter of the 1st District, the House adjourned at 2: 35 o'clock p. m. , sine die. )

CERTIFICATE

I hereby certify that the foregoing 38 pages is a complete and accurate transcription of a digital sound recording of the House Proceedings on October 3, 2017.

I further certify that the digital sound recording was transcribed by the word processing department employees of Alphatranscription, under my direction.

________________________

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