Malloy vetoes, Republicans vow override effort
Updated 1:18 pm, Thursday, September 28, 2017
HARTFORD — One day after receiving the Republican-backed budget that narrowly made it through the General Assembly in the predawn of September 16, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy fulfilled his promised veto Thursday morning.
While seemingly pushing back the Legislature to the starting point of budget talks, Malloy expects the rejection to concentrate Republicans and Democrats alike to enact a new $40-billion compromise before major cuts to school and municipal aid for dozens of towns occur in October, under the second quarter of his executive order.
“I cannot overstate the urgency of the need for all parties to come together to negotiate a realistic, responsible budget that addresses our state’s fiscal issues, distributes eduction aid equitably, and balances without the use of illusory gimmicks,” Malloy wrote.
“In sum, this budget is unbalanced, unsustainable, and unwise,” Malloy said. “It cuts hundreds of millions of dollars from our colleges and universities, endangering our economic competitiveness; it creates the near certainty that our capital city will be plunged into bankruptcy; and it eviscerates proven funding and improvement programs for school districts with the greatest needs while seneding more money to the wealthiest towns.”
Republicans led by House Minority Leader Themis Klarides of Derby immediately vowed to pursue an effort to override the veto. But obtaining the two-thirds vote needed seems less likely, after the bill narrowly passed 21-15 in the Senate and 77-73 in the House.
The state has been without a budget since July 1, after lawmakers failed to first create a package in June that majority Democrats could support, then balked at several attempts to negotiate with Republicans, who on Friday the 15th and early Saturday the 16th, persuaded three Democratic senators and five House Democrats to approve their budget.
“While not unexpected, the governor’s decision today to veto the bipartisan budget is frustrating if not infuriating, not just for the legislators who got it through our chambers here, but more so for the local leaders who for months have pleaded for us to get a budget in place to allow them to provide the core services their constituents expect—educating children, paving roads, and simply keeping town halls open,” Klarides saidf in a statement shortly after the veto was released at 11:30 a.m..
“Make no mistake, the governor has stamped his seal on this crisis faced by municipalities and people who depend on core state services—he rejected the only plan that made it through the legislature, favoring his roughshod approach that will undoubtedly draw cities and towns deeper into the ‘permanent fiscal crisis’ he and his team in the legislature fueled,” Klarides continued. “We intend to fight for the bipartisan budget, which fully funds local schools and municipalities, by pushing our Democrat colleagues to override the governor’s veto.”
Malloy’s veto has cited criticisms he has leveled since the passage of the legislation: it would violate union agreements; slash job training; defer necessary pension investments; and cut unacceptable amounts of aid to higher education.
The veto message was released to reporters just before Malloy’s late-morning negotiating session Thursday with Republican and Democratic leaders in his Capitol office. The group broke for lunch shortly before 1 and planned to get together in the early afternoon.
The bipartisan meetings are aimed at finding some path to a bipartisan agreement on a two-year, tax-and-spending plan. Republicans had scheduled several events around the state Thursday morning to rally municipal officials against a veto.
The GOP budget was reviewed by nonpartisan legislative staff, who took a week to write it into the form of a public act, before returning the legislation to House and Senate clerks for their signatures, and finally Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, whose office gave it to Malloy on Wednesday. Malloy’s veto returned the legislation back to Merrill.
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