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Lawmakers Reach Compromise With Malloy Over Rescission

by Christine Stuart | Jun 30, 2011 11:04am
(6) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Labor, State Budget, State Capitol

Christine Stuart file photo

House Speaker Chris Donovan, D-Meriden

(Updated 2:06 p.m.) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will get most of the rescission authority he requested, but after late night discussions with Democratic lawmakers it looks like the legislature will play a bigger role than initially intentioned in those decisions.

Sen. President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said the legislature will have the ability between July 15 and Aug. 30 to reject any rescissions Malloy makes through negotiations. If those negotiations fail then the legislature has the ability to call a public hearing and call themselves back into special session to vote on the matter.

Earlier this week, Malloy requested increased rescission authority up to 10 percent of any fund or $45 million of any line item. He also asked for the power to cut municipal aid by 3 percent. The request to cut funding to cities and towns by about $54 million each year of the two-year budget does not include cuts to education funding. Lawmakers are looking to reduce his request to cut municipal aid to 2 percent and only give him until Sept. 30 to make those cuts.

Currently the governor has no authority to cut municipal aid without the approval of the legislature. The legislature will vote on the additional rescission authority later today.

According to documents obtained by CTNewsjunkie, the governor will be required to submit the entire budget adjustment plan to the General Assembly on or before July 15, then the Appropriations Committee will hold hearings on any or all aspects of it. The legislature will then convene to reject or modify any or all elements of the governor’s budget adjustment plan and the governor’s rescission authority will expire Sept. 30.

House Speaker Chris Donovan, D-Meriden, said there were concerns in his caucus that the legislature was ceding too much power to the governor, so they spent Wednesday trying to craft a solution.

“We agree we need to deal with the problem and take decisive action to deal with the problem,” Donovan said. “And we want to be partners with the governor.”

House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said he was told by Donovan that the new bill will be modified and will still give the governor rescission authority, but for a more limited time period.

The governor requested the rescission authority for the next two years, but Cafero said it’s likely that will be modified, though he’s just not certain how. He said it’s possible the legislature will ask the governor to present some of the cuts for periodic hearings of legislative committees.

“I don’t know if it’s for a lesser period of time, or if he has to come before the legislature,” Cafero said.

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have expressed concern about giving the governor so much power — with Republicans doing so in public and the Democrats in private.

Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s senior communications adviser, said he can’t comment on the details, but he said he is hopeful a resolution can be reached today.

In addition to the rescission authority, Malloy also asked the legislature to change how pensions for state employees are calculated and for other changes to the collective bargaining process.

The proposed changes to the collective bargaining process come just days after the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition was unable to figure out a way to ratify the $1.6 billion concession package and Malloy’s announcement that he is preparing to lay off nearly 5,500 state employees.

Union members in their green AFSCME T-shirts lined the halls of the Capitol this morning to speak to lawmakers as they began to trickle in for what will likely be a long day.

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(6) Comments

posted by: BMS | June 30, 2011  11:48am

House now is in recess while members are in caucus. What is difference between a caucus and a cactus ? A cactus has the pricks on the outside.

posted by: oliviahuxtable | June 30, 2011  12:19pm

This is how democracy ends….and dictatorship begins….viva la dictator! Malloy granted total power!

Do ya think he’ll ever give that power up?

The legislators have spoken….the basta**s.

posted by: gumshoe | June 30, 2011  1:59pm

If Donovan, Williams and Malloy were required to resign if a balanced budget was not in place by July 1, we’d have a balanced budget in place by July 1 instead of interviews and statements before a camera.

I also think the union has spoken and those people should get back to work. They had better not be milling around the hallways on the clock.

posted by: DanCT | June 30, 2011  2:04pm

The legislature granting any rescission power to the executive branch violates the Connecticut Constitution. Rescission involves appropriating money.  Article Fourth Sec.16 states: “The governor shall have power to disapprove of any item or items of any bill making appropriations of money embracing distinct items while at the same time approving the remainder of the bill, and the part or parts of the bill so approved shall become effective and the item or items of appropriations so disapproved shall not take effect unless the same are separately reconsidered and repassed in accordance with the rules and limitations prescribed for the passage of bills over the executive veto.

The wording in this section clearly recognizes only the legislature as the final authority for   appropriations.

Moreover Article Second states there must be a distinct powers between the three branches of government:“The powers of government shall be divided into three distinct departments, and each of them confided to a separate magistracy, to wit, those which are legislative, to one; those which are executive, to another; and those which are judicial, to another.”

The unilateral transfer of power from the legislative branch to the executive branch blurs the line of distinct power. This fundamental change of power that can only occur by amending the Connecticut Constitution.

posted by: ko4478 | June 30, 2011  2:39pm

All this because workers actually expected elected officials to abide by and honor the contracts they entered into. I guess that is naive.

Well, the retaliation has started. Posts are being cut at all prisons starting today. I wouldn’t want to be living near a prison.

posted by: oliviahuxtable | June 30, 2011  10:51pm

There is an irrefutable assault happening on a national level against organized labor, and this assault is being perpetrated not merely by the usual anti-union, anti-middle class crowd called the Republican Party, but also by the traditionally-union-friendly Democrats. And it’s all tied in to MONEY…as corporations and special interests become more powerful, the Democrats will be fishing more often in their pond, and then who will be standing up for us?

Private sector folks—-your financial future is being assaulted, too. Your employers are turning against you and there exists little political will left to care.

Wait until Ryan and Bachmann and their ilk go after Medicare and Social Security…sure, you’ll get a Health Savings Account and money deposited it in every year, but wait until your wife gets cancer and your fund runs dry…it’ll be—-too bad, so sad, just die….it’s coming, don’t think it isn’t.