Updated: Wednesday, 06 Mar 2013, 11:54 AM EST
Published : Wednesday, 06 Mar 2013, 11:54 AM EST
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told the state's largest business group on Wednesday that he's pursuing a fiscally conservative budget that will put state finances on the right track.
Malloy, speaking to about 200 members of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association with which he's sometimes clashed on spending, taxes and workplace legislation, again promised to not seek tax increases.
"A balanced budget is within reach in normal channels and I suspect will be in place by the required deadline for that to happen without a tax increase and without exceeding our spending cap," the governor said.
The Democratic governor and fellow Democrats who control the Legislature raised income and sales taxes in 2011 and won changes in the labor agreement with state workers to help control costs.
Malloy and businesses have clashed over spending, taxes and other issues. The CBIA strongly — and unsuccessfully — opposed legislation supported by Malloy in 2011 requiring certain businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees.
"I'm working with you all on your agenda items, many of which I agree with," Malloy told the business owners and representatives. "I reserve the right to disagree on some of those things, but I think in the last couple of years you all have come to understand there is more that we agree on than we disagree."
The CBIA is lobbying for changes to the unemployment compensation trust fund to reduce employer costs and is pushing to rein in state spending, including streamlining government, reforming the prison system and modifying retirement benefits for state employees with caps on annual pension payouts, eliminating overtime to calculate pensions and raising the retirement age to 65 from 62.
John Rathgeber, president of the CBIA, said business groups and the governor sometimes differ on policy. But he emphasized areas where business groups and Malloy agree, such as boosting research at state universities, bringing bioscience industry to Connecticut and pushing for education reform.