Hundreds protest CT mental health cuts

(07/21/03)HARTFORD - Governor John Rowland (R-CT) signed his fourth executive order Monday authorizing another week of spending, and some protesters raised a cry about one money-saving provision. A group delivered 4,500 signatures to the governor, urging him not to privatize 30 group homes.

But the Department of Mental Retardation says as a result of the state layoffs and early retirement programs it does not have enough workers to staff the homes. The privatization will also save as much as $4 million.

Meanwhile, the stalemate at the state capitol continues as Republicans and Democrats wrestle with a budget that remains about $100M shy of a deal. Republicans think a one-year budget plan would work better than a two-year plan. Senate President Kevin Sullivan, a Democrat, says the one-year plan is fiscally irresponsible.

Another round of bipartisan talks is scheduled for Wednesday with neither side appearing ready to compromise on their basic positions.

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