HARTFORD - ? Local lawmakers met in Hartford Tuesday to discuss how the state budget deficit could impact their communities.

Mayors and first selectmen from Redding, Easton, Orange, Fairfield and Stratford were informally heard at a budget presentation and round table discussion. House Minority Leader Larry Cafero, of Norwalk, invited the local leaders to the discussion.

Officials say the cities and towns have already started their budget processes and are waiting to see how the state's billion-dollar deficit will trickle down.

?I think it is really important this year that legislators consider the fiscal impact on municipalities prior to proposing any new legislation,? says Redding First Selectwoman Natalie Ketcham. ?In the past, they have considered the fiscal impact on the state, but never on the towns, which is why we end up with unfunded mandates.?

Many state representatives and senators listened to the local leaders? arguments, and say they will take what they heard into budget negotiations.