GOP left out of budget discussions

State officials negotiated a plan to close Connecticut’s budget gap last week, but one group of legislators was noticeably absent: Republicans.

According to members of the General Assembly interviewed by the News, negotiations on last week’s budget gap mitigation measure were exclusively between House and Senate Democrats and the office of Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell. Republican legislators were left out of the loop — due to the losses sustained on Election Day, Republican input is no longer necessary.

Of the lobbyists massing in the halls of the statehouse last week hoping to influence the legislation, few bothered to speak to Republicans.

Senate Deputy President Pro Tempore Toni Harp, a Democrat from New Haven, said Republicans had minimal say in the final version of the bill.

“Republicans were invited to present some of their proposals to Democrats before the vote,” she told the News last week. “But that was about it.”

State Sen. Len Fasano ’81, the Republican leader, acknowledged that he and his colleagues were mostly left out of the budget negotiations, but said in the future they will likely have more input.

But according to some legislators in Hartford, the special session was just a small taste of what is to come in the upcoming regular session.

“There really aren’t too many of them left,” said Harp of Assembly Republicans. “But they still have the Governor’s Mansion.”

Democrats currently hold a veto-proof majority in the House and will increase their margins in both Houses once the new session begins in January.

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