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Malloy Says Plan Wins 'Begrudging Acceptance'

When Gov. Dannel Malloy fielded a question about a possible state health care plan last week at Norwalk City Hall, he had plenty of practice. "I'm happy to address the issue," he said in one of the last of the 17 town halls he held to address budget concerns. "It's the 14th of these, and it's the 14th time I've addressed the issue."

Malloy has one town hall meeting left, Tuesday in Middletown. During an interview with The Daily Norwalk on Thursday in the Capitol, he said sampling the "local flavor on issues" has been interesting and left him with a clear, if challenging, missive from the public.

"I think the message that comes out is that we should balance the budget without raising taxes or cutting services," he said, and acknowledged that it was a tall order. "Therein lies the rub," he said, and added that he felt he had made an impression on the public as well.

"We've been warned about the impact of some taxes as well as others, negative and positive," Malloy said. "Clearly there's a desire on some people's parts to maintain at least some portion of a property tax credit. But when I tell people that the property tax credit as currently constructed costs us $325 million and in essence $80 million of that is paid to the federal government, people suddenly understand the gravity of the situation."

Although he said, "I heard some good ideas," Malloy remained determined about his plan and thinks he may have persuaded people. "I think that there is a begrudging acceptance that the framework might be the right one," he said. "Then we start the debate, is each component part of the right approach? Is it a billion dollars in givebacks, is it $750 million in cuts? ... Should it be more on the wealthy and less on the middle class? Should we tax boats or not tax them? Those are all discussions that we can handle in the political process."

Do you think Gov. Dannel Malloy's town hall meetings have helped the discussion? Comment below.

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