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Malloy Stands His Ground On Budget Cuts, Transportation & Hospitals

by | Oct 5, 2015 2:24pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Health Care, Jobs, State Budget, Special Session, Taxes, State Capitol, Transportation, Colchester

Christine Stuart photo Gov. Dannel P. Malloy didn’t give any ground Monday when asked about Democratic criticism of his mid-September emergency budget cuts.

Democratic lawmakers have blasted Malloy’s decision to reduce Medicaid payments to hospitals and funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment, homeless shelters, and residential and day supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“I think it’s time that we sit together with the governor and talk about what’s appropriate to be cut here,” Rep. Cathy Abercrombie, D-Meriden, said last week. “These rescissions are not appropriate and many of my colleagues are saying the same thing.”

Democratic lawmakers are still compiling a list of alternative budget cuts. Meanwhile, at least one Democratic lawmaker, Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, has proposed looking at state employee furloughs as a way to find money to help some of the state’s neediest residents.

But Malloy wasn’t about to disclose whether he will ask state employee unions for furloughs, which are unpaid days off, when he sits down with unions to negotiate their salaries.

“I’m not going to negotiate through you,” Malloy told reporters Monday. “. . . We’ll be looking at making Connecticut more sustainable, as we have attempted to do with other efforts.

Malloy repeated remarks he made last week that he’s willing to have “serious conversations with anybody who is serious about having conversations.”

Those “serious” conversations between Malloy and Democratic legislative leaders have yet to take place.

Last week, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey and House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, asked the governor to release the overdue first quarter payments to the hospitals. The hospitals are given back a portion of the tax they pay to the state three times a year. That pool of money is separate from the Medicaid money Malloy cut on Sept. 18.

“This is an obligation of the state, and it is not an option to not pay our bills for services our hospitals have already provided. Having already cut future commitments to hospitals . . . holding back these funds makes a bad situation worse,” Sharkey and Aresimowicz said in a statement.

The reduction in funding for hospitals could be 25 percent higher if the first quarter payments are not made.

Asked about the reasoning behind withholding the payment, Gian-Carl Casa, undersecretary for legislative affairs at the Office of Policy and Management, said, “We have made clear publicly and privately for over a month that we have been open to their alternative ideas. We look look forward to eventually seeing them, because we continue to wait for them.”

It’s unclear when Democratic leadership will share their alternative budget cuts with Malloy.

What is clear is that it’s having an impact on the hospital industry.

Christine Stuart photo Hartford Healthcare announced Monday that it has ended negotiations on a strategic partnership with Day Kimball Healthcare.

“Given the magnitude of the state’s cuts, it would be imprudent for us to consider moving forward with such a partnership at this time,” James Blazar, Hartford HealthCare’s senior vice president and chief strategy transformation officer, said. “This reckless slashing of Medicaid funding makes it difficult for HHC to create a path forward with Day Kimball Healthcare right now. Both our organizations have just taken a gut punch.”

Malloy reiterated his position that the hospitals in the state are doing fine without the state’s help.

“What we need to do is look at where we can save money and where we can’t and do the best we can,” Malloy said.

Three of the 29 acute care hospitals in Connecticut lost money last year and Malloy said he thinks that’s a situation that needs to be addressed. But he doesn’t think the state should have to give money to the hospitals that are making the lion’s share of $916 million in total profits.

“I’m trying, I suppose, to find the right balance, and we’ll work with everybody on it,” Malloy said.

Last week, Democratic lawmakers suggested Malloy should scale back his 30-year commitment to transportation in order to help fund the $16 million cut to social services. But Malloy quickly dismissed the idea.

He said there’s plenty of money in the budget for those services. He said the state devotes a larger portion of its budget to social services than other states. And if the legislature wants to give him the authority to cut other places in the budget, then he would be happy to have that authority.

However, he’s not touching his transportation initiative.

“The most business-friendly legislation the House and the Senate could be engaged in right now would be to pass a constitutional lockbox and get it on the ballot next November and forever deal with this issue, so that no one could ever divert any income raised specifically to support transportation,” Malloy said.

He said he wants to make sure that some governor in the future doesn’t start diverting money dedicated for transportation and the fastest way to do that is to approve a constitutional lockbox. The legislature passed a statutory lockbox earlier this year with the acknowledgement that it contains loopholes.

“Connecticut underinvested in transportation for 40 years,” Malloy said. “It’s why we’re in the mess we’re in.”

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(12) Archived Comments

posted by: Fisherman | October 5, 2015  3:03pm

Will SOMEBODY please tell this idiot that Connecticut HAS a “constitutional lock box” on its transportation funds… and has had one in place since 1983?

posted by: OutOfOutrage | October 5, 2015  3:38pm

OutOfOutrage

I don’t generally agree or trust Dan but I give him credit for being somewhat honest about the entitlement spending and standing by his transportation funding.  At some point someone has to stand up for something.  We’ll see if he follows through.

posted by: Janster57 | October 5, 2015  5:22pm

Hartford: Where money goes to die.

posted by: Janster57 | October 5, 2015  5:51pm

There are times when you wish that Malloy and his cronies were actually running the state rather than supporting their political careers and giving paybacks to supporters. Very sad. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve seen a CT politician put anything ahead of their own nest egg and ambitions.

posted by: Noteworthy | October 5, 2015  7:30pm

i’m ready for a serious governor who knows the meaning of serious, and who knows the difference between truth telling and lying about the truth. Unfortunately, what we have in Governor Malloy is a petulant, spoiled, denigrating governor who feels free to lie, bully and brag without basis about our fiscal health, the state deficits and his own party’s fatally flawed budget. That this small state can’t balance its affairs with the gross amount of taxes and fees we pay is nothing short of pathetic. His dig at republicans and the “serious” thing is just lame - Malloy should be willing to sit down with everybody to craft a wise alternative set of cuts that does the least amount of harm and has some chance of not being revisited. The bully thing isn’t working.

posted by: SocialButterfly | October 5, 2015  8:29pm

@OutOfOutrage: Giving credit to Malloy as being somewhat honest “means he is careless with the truth.”

posted by: TheGreatPazuzu | October 6, 2015  6:23am

What about those unjustifiable raises commissioners received a while back?  How about rescinding those? 

58 members of the CT Board of Regents currently exceed the recommended salary cap.  How about looking at those?

posted by: One and Done | October 6, 2015  6:56am

Malloy magically had $5 million to give to a developer in Norwalk to build more apartments it doesn’t need and no one wanted.  The developer couldn’t get financing from real sources because the project is a lemon.  Search POKO.  This was done to pay back the lousy mayor there who is very busy giving the city back to unions.  Malloy and his cronies are cutting healthcare and education to do projects like this.  We need a recall or the AG to get off his ass and do his job and indict people.

posted by: art vandelay | October 6, 2015  8:22am

art vandelay

The largest cost to any business is LABOR!  The same is true in government when you incorporate negotiated pensions & retiree benefits. 

When businesses need to reduce costs the first item on the chopping block is labor in the form of pay cuts & layoffs.  The same should hold true with government.

The problem in Connecticut is that the unions control the Democrat Party which has a chokehold
on state government.  As a result labor concessions and layoffs which are necessary to break the deficit cycle are completely off the table.

Until meaningful concessions (not suggestion boxes) are implemented including privatization of certain departments, the state will continue in a deficit spiral which will eventually result in bankruptcy.

posted by: eastrivertype | October 6, 2015  10:49am

Why don’t I feel good about a “lock box” for transportation funding?  Didn’t we have a “spending cap” that was gutted by the same people who are trying to tell us that a lock box will keep us safe?  Are we still wearing our stupid signs?

posted by: oldtimer | October 6, 2015  6:04pm

Malloy’s cuts are a direct attack on the state’s poorest and most vulnerable. The residual affect of these cuts will impact the healthcare of every CT citizen and slam the door shut to any business looking to relocate to or startup in CT. A proven liar, Malloy has exaggerated the “profits” of the state’s 26 non-profit hospitals. In typical Malloy book keeping fashion, it’s filled with ridiculous assumptions, distortions and lies. Malloy has reneged on payments to hospitals for services already rendered. And he’s refusing to pay for future healthcare services for CT’s poorest. The weasel who politicized the tragedy in Newtown, using it as a tool towards banishing our right to own firearms, has further cut the budget for mental health. And we all know that the ONLY thing that could have prevented the Newtown tragedy was the proper diagnosis and care for the assassin’s mental health. If Malloy were serious, he’d bring the state workers back to the bargaining table. He’d reign in the lavish spending on state employees, like the 15 with $50K salaries who made an additional $150K in overtime last year! And the several more with overtime checks ranging from $50K to $100K. And if he wants to cut “where the money is”, cut the funding and salaries to the UCONN sports programs, UCONN’s professors as well as it’s president. I could go on forever, because there’s lots of low hanging fruit, but we all know Malloy won’t listen. It’s all about keeping his voter base enslaved to him so he can remain in power. Bankruptcy for CT can’t come quick enough.

posted by: Fisherman | October 6, 2015  8:00pm

Sorry @EastRverType; Devon Puglia gets to wear the “I’m With Stupid” tee shirt.

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