Clock Is Ticking Faster On Bipartisan Budget Deal; Speaker Predicts Veto Will Be Sustained
HARTFORD, CT — While legislative leaders hurled derogatory adjectives at each other’s various budget proposals, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Monday that based on everyone’s schedule he needs a budget he can sign by Oct. 13.
And that’s only if the legislature realistically wants a two-year state budget in place by Nov. 1.
Why is that?
“We have weddings taking place, we have people’s travel plans, we have all kinds of things going on,” Malloy said.
Malloy has been operating the state under an executive order since July 1. This week the Education Cost Sharing grant for 85 communities was eliminated and 54 communities saw their funding reduced.
To get a budget to Malloy by Oct. 13 means legislative leaders would have to have a “meeting of the minds on a budget I can sign by the 8th or 9th,” Malloy said.
The governor said he’s struggling to get legislative leaders to agree on a cap on spending and revenue to see if they can back into a bipartisan budget.
It’s a tall order for legislative leaders, who exited Monday’s meeting calling each other’s budgets “silly” and “lacking courage.”
The House will convene at noon Tuesday to seek to override Malloy’s veto of the Republican budget that was passed with the help of eight Democratic legislators.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said he has the votes to sustain Malloy’s veto and to end the “political silliness.”
Democrats hold a 79-72 majority over Republicans in the House, but Republicans were able to get five Democrats to help them pass a budget 77-73 on Sept. 15. In order to override the veto, Republicans need 101 votes out of 151 representatives in the House. That means 29 Democrats would have to vote with Republicans to override Malloy’s veto. If Aresimowicz’s prediction is correct and he has the votes to sustain the veto, then the budget won’t need to go to the Senate where they would need 24 votes to override.
“We need to get serious about passing a budget for the state of Connecticut,” Aresimowicz said.
He said Republicans can say it was a “bipartisan budget,” but they left one individual out of the compromise — and that was the governor, who has the authority to veto the budget.
The House could have waited until Tuesday, Oct. 10, to take up the consideration of the governor’s veto, but Aresimowicz called for a session Tuesday.
“Is it cutting short a week of political silliness? Absolutely,” Aresimowicz said.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, stood next to Aresimowicz and told him just because he doesn’t like something doesn’t make it silly. She said there is another option beyond having the governor sign a budget, and that’s a veto override.
She said because Democrats are not willing to do that, they’re “lacking courage.”
Aresimowicz said taking $300 million out of the University of Connecticut, which is vital to our economic future, is “silly.” He said removing a car tax cap on cities is “silly.”
“Going out and hurting the middle class of Connecticut is silly and that is the silliness,” Aresimowicz said.
In the same breath, Aresimowicz admitted the Democratic budget proposal didn’t have the votes to pass. He said they need to move beyond these “political documents that won’t become law.”
Senate Republican President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said it’s not a budget Democrats like, but there is no other budget on the table that can pass. And that means the governor’s executive order, which cuts $135 million out of education funding, will remain in place.
“Without having a budget that’s ready to go, what are you doing? There is no alternative,” Fasano said. “There is nothing.”
He said he understands the House will “more than likely” sustain the veto.
“I get it,” Fasano said. “But if they think that’s going to put the state in a better position, I am terribly sorry because when that phone starts ringing and constituents start calling it wasn’t Republicans who put them in that position.”
Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, jumped in and said despite the partisan bickering that had just occurred in front of the news media, the discussions in the room were very cordial and bipartisan.
“The compromise is somewhere in between Senate A and Senate B,” Looney said.
Senate A was the Democratic budget proposal and Senate B was the Republican budget proposal.
The partisan bickering begs the question about whether Republican legislative leaders should continue to be in the room, if it’s unlikely they will bring any votes. Some have wondered whether it would be easier to invite the eight Democratic legislators who voted in favor of the Republican budget into the room to see if they can get a deal with the governor that gets the necessary votes to pass.
Malloy said he’s still hoping they can reach a bipartisan compromise.
“There were some areas of agreement that were reached today,” Malloy said.
Legislative leaders emerge from an hour and a half long session and partisan bickering erupts.Posted by CTNewsJunkie.com on Monday, October 2, 2017