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Lawmakers say 'tremendous strides' made in budget talks

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's Democratic and Republican legislative leaders contend they're moving closer toward reaching a possible bipartisan budget deal, saying ``tremendous strides'' have been made during closed-door negotiations.

The lawmakers met for most of the day Monday and plan to continue talks on Tuesday.

Democratic Senate President Martin Looney says it's possible a vote may happen sometime next week. Connecticut has been without a new, two-year budget since the fiscal year began July 1.

Len Fasano, the Republican Senate leader, says lawmakers are ``having very good conversations'' and are making ``tremendous strides.''

Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz says lawmakers are backing down on some issues they probably wouldn't have in March, April or May. Aresimowicz says the legislature's Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates the two sides are about $100 million apart.

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