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Connecticut House Narrowly Approves Labor Deal

Jessica Hill
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, speaks to the House on the final day of session at the State Capitol in Hartford, Conn., in June.

The Connecticut House of Representatives voted to approve a state employee labor concession deal that’s expected to save the state $1.5 billion over the next two years. The deal was approved 78 to 72 on a party line vote.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, a Berlin Democrat, dismissed Republican opposition and pushed his members to approve the deal. Aresimowicz claimed the labor savings in the deal are necessary in order to get to a balanced state budget.

“Without the $1.57 billion in savings that the state employees have voted to give us, I don’t know that we ever have a budget. So this is a step that will lead to overall passage of a budget.”

Republicans, including House Minority Leader Themis Klarides of Derby, accused the speaker of rushing the vote before lawmakers could get a full analysis from the General Assembly’s Office of Fiscal Analysis.  

“Why is this contract being treated differently than the contracts we’ve done in the past? Why did the speaker go up and demand this gets done when OFA said point blank we didn’t have time to do the thorough job we normally do?”

The State Senate is expected to debate and vote on the labor concession deal next Monday.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.