A possible solution for Connecticut’s budget crisis – “Throw the bums out…”

Watching a horrible car crash take place would be less traumatic than witnessing Governor Dannel Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly careen toward their constitutionally mandated deadline of midnight tonight (May, 4, 2016.)

While a Special Session of the Connecticut Legislature will undoubtedly be needed to “clean up” a state budget plan that was developed behind closed doors and remains a mystery to the people of Connecticut, and most of the legislators who will be voting for or against it in the coming hours, the sad reality is that most of the Democratic members of the Connecticut State Senate and State House of Representatives appear to be willing to vote for a state spending plan that continues to coddle the rich while instituting unprecedented cuts to vital human services, Connecticut public schools and other critically important programs.

As Connecticut’s media outlets report, details about the budget are “scarce.”

In fact, it would be impossible for most legislators to have a real understanding of how the Democrat’s “compromise” budget will impact the state, their districts or the people they have sworn to represent.

The media headlines paint a disturbing picture of the mismanagement that continues to mark Dannel Malloy’s time in office.…

Democrats, governor strike budget deal, aim for Wednesday vote (CT Mirror)

Dems Get A Budget Deal, But Republicans Have To Let Them Pass It (CT Newsjunkie)

Malloy, Legislative Leaders Reach Deal On Deep Cuts, No Tax Increases (Hartford Courant)

A true snapshot of the problem becomes evident as the CT Mirror reports;

Democratic legislators ended a tense day of negotiations with the governor Tuesday by announcing a deal on a new state budget that the General Assembly will race to adopt Wednesday before the constitutional adjournment deadline of midnight.

Passage will require the cooperation of the Republican minority, an uncertain prospect after House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, exchanged insults outside the Capitol pressroom.

Sharkey and Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, largely glossed over the spending cuts necessary to balance the budget, focusing instead on positive aspects: No tax increases, more money for transportation funding and revenue-sharing with towns, albeit at lesser amounts than originally planned. It also avoids tapping Connecticut’s emergency reserve.

[…]

The leaders said the package would close a nearly $1 billion gap in the fiscal year that begins July 1, but the line-by-line details would not be available until Wednesday.

The plan imposes deep cuts on salary accounts in most state departments and commissions that probably would require Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to reduce the state workforce beyond the nearly 2,600 jobs his administration is striving to eliminate through layoffs, retirements and attrition.

[…]

Though full details weren’t available, Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, co-chair of the Appropriations Committee, confirmed that this budget — similar to proposals from Malloy and from GOP legislators — probably reduces funding for agency and departmental salary accounts by hundreds of millions of dollars.

These cuts probably require more personnel savings than Malloy will be able to achieve through workforce reduction efforts currently underway.

The administration began serving layoff notices last month, and the governor said he expects about 1,900 to 2,000 workers will have received pink slips by mid-June.

The administration also expects to eliminate roughly 600 more jobs through retirements and attrition.

Bye said the budget also “sends signals” to state employee unions about another key area in which legislators hope to curb spending in the future: health care and retirement benefits.

As Malloy and legislative leaders prepare to jam through a vote on a new state budget, the bottom line appears to be that the Democrats intend to adopt a spending plan that is based on;

Deep cuts to vital services

An unprecedented attack on state employees

No effort to require the wealthy to pay their fair share

And a state budget that continues to rely on the use of one-time revenues and budget gimmicks.

The real question today is not so much whether the Republicans will allow the Democrats to pass a budget, but whether the voters will continue to put up with elected officials who are unwilling or unable to properly deal with the financial and policy challenges that face Connecticut.

To drive that point home, when asked about the rush to vote, Republican Senate Leader Len Fasano responded with what may very well be the quote of the year.  Fasano explained;

“Maybe they feel threatened by us. I don’t know. And I understand why they feel threatened.  They have screwed up this state so badly, I understand they are very nervous about November. I get that.”

But alas, what makes the entire situation even worse of the people of the Constitution State is that the Republicans have done just as bad a job when it comes to articulating a reasonable alternative to the Democrat’s crash and burn approach to governance.

Thus the best solution may be for the voters of the state to simply throw them all out and start anew.

  • jhs

    I do agree with you throw them all out. But here is a cautionary tale about taxing the rich: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/01/business/one-top-taxpayer-moved-and-new-jersey-shuddered.html

    I still maintain the cuts to the most needy are a ruse by the Democrats to get everyone to agree on raising taxes or borrowing more. The Democrats have been lousy stewards of the taxpayer money. The pension system is a big problem they don’t want to tackle for fear of losing union support. The Republican proposals seem to have less impact on the most needy. But they have little say in the matter, and the Democrats are positioning to blame them. The Democrats have cut medicaid reimbursements to the hospitals affecting the most needy, and Malloy was able to give his admin staff raises last year. None of the salary increases from last year were rolled back. The gov has exacerbated the budget problems to far worse than anything he inherited, while the Democrats have controlled the legislature for decades. And now we are told that the legislature and gov want to create another agency, presumably self funded, that will provide IRA type accounts for the 600,000 people who don’t have retirement accounts. The legislators think people are too stupid to go to Vanguard or some other mutual fund, and open a free IRA account and invest it in what they want. The reason why people don’t have savings is because the job climate in the state is so bad because companies are not moving in but moving out. After the election, the Democrats, assuming they are still in control, will raise taxes, or borrow more, and rehire the laid off union workers to keep the support of the unions. The budget will still be in deficit because the Democrats haven;t a clue how to run this government. We need a lot more new blood on both sides in Hartford but we need a lot less people beholden to the unions. Sorry for the rant.