Legislators may vote Friday on a new deal to tax Connecticut’s hospitals as a way of pulling in more federal funding. Leaders of both parties got together Tuesday in the first bipartisan negotiations since the unexpected passage of the Republicans' budget more than a week ago.
Revenue from the hospital tax is a key part of both parties’ budget plans. If the state settles on levying a tax, the hospitals can claim higher reimbursement from the federal government.
But that issue may need to be settled before October 1, which is the start of the federal fiscal year.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz told reporters it isn’t a done deal yet.
“The administration and the hospitals have been in ongoing discussions based upon what we proposed in both of our budget, and we’ll see what happens in those discussions,” he said.
It sounds as if the hospitals still have changes they’d like to see to the deal.
“There is some ongoing discussion with the hospitals that would suggest some refinement to the language,” said Senate Democratic leader Martin Looney.
No one has promised a vote on a full budget this week, blowing yet another deadline set for passage of a new two-year deal. Friday will mark three months since the budget was supposed to have been finalized.
“Clearly if we needed to do something that allowed the hospital tax issue…to move forward we certainly don’t want hospitals to lose money,” said House Minority Leader Themis Klarides. “But there’s also the bigger conversation of the universal negotiation and hopeful settlement at some point.”
All sides dismissed the potential pain for municipalities and school districts when there’s no full budget on October 1. That’s the date when Governor Dannel Malloy’s latest executive order will go into effect, imposing large cuts on education funding.
“It appears to us that most cities and towns will have the wherewithal to operate through the month of October,” said Malloy.
He invited towns that believe they won’t have the cash to get in touch with his budget office.
More negotiations are scheduled for Wednesday. Connecticut now has the distinction of being the last state in the nation to be operating in the new fiscal year without a budget.