BOSTON, June 5 (UPI) -- Connecticut lawmakers will return in special session June 16 to again try to come up with a budget acceptable to Gov. John Rowland.
The Republican governor said early Thursday that for the third time this session, he would veto a budget passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature because it relied too heavily on higher taxes.
"With the level of taxation in this budget, there's no way that I'm going to sign this budget," Rowland said Wednesday afternoon.
The Legislature earlier Wednesday approved a Democratic-sponsored $27.7 billion, 2-year budget, and Rowland brought the regular session to an end with a short speech just after midnight.
"Our work is not done," he said.
With Rowland's veto setting the stage for the special session, the governor expressed confidence lawmakers would be able to fashion a spending plan he could sign.
"It is clear to me that the hard lines drawn early in this process are beginning to soften," he said, according to the Hartford Courant.
While Democrats say their plan increases taxes by $540 million in the first year, Rowland says the increase is closer to $700 million.
"We cannot afford to come back with another $700 million in tax increases," he said.
The governor has said he wants a budget that calls for no more than $250 million in tax increases. The state faces a potential $1 billion deficit in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
After announcing his intention to veto the budget, Rowland met with Democratic and Republican legislative leaders to discuss a timetable for the special session, the Stamford Advocate reported.
In Massachusetts, meanwhile, budget negotiators continue to try to resolve differences between spending plans approved by the House and Senate.
As they did so, a new poll reported Thursday by the Boston Globe indicated voters would prefer tax increases to program cuts to balance the nearly $23 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year.
The University of Massachusetts poll of 401 voters last week found that 47 percent favored higher taxes to close a $3-billion spending gap, while 29 percent preferred program cuts.
Poll director Lou DiNatale said compared to an earlier survey that was more evenly divided, the new poll appeared to indicate the "anti-tax sentiment seems to be ebbing."
Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, however, has vowed to veto any tax increase the Democratic-controlled Legislature might send to him.
Several bills to allow communities to raise local taxes to make up for local aid funds cut by the state were defeated late Wednesday in the House.
The Massachusetts Municipal Association said lawmakers "missed" an opportunity to empower communities to deal with their own revenue needs, the Globe reported.
The House, however, quietly and with no debate, later Wednesday did approve a bill giving legislative leaders greater powers to dole out pay increases to committee and floor leaders.
It was not immediately clear if Romney would veto the pay-increase bill.