Governor Rell Is Right To Veto Democratic Majority’s State Budget By Senator Rob Kane

June 30, 2009

The General Assembly met last week in an eleventh hour attempt to pass a biennial state budget before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1st. But, even as we were debating and voting on the Democratic majority’s plan, legislators and the general public understood that Governor Rell would most likely veto this irresponsible tax and spend document.

Not surprisingly, Governor Rell promised this past weekend to veto the Democratic majority’s budget plan as soon as it hits her desk. Furthermore, Governor Rell made it clear that she is prepared to run the state by executive order in the likely event that a new budget is not passed by the start of the fiscal year, July 1st. She is right to take both actions. Even more importantly, she has brought legislative leaders of both parties back to the negotiating table to craft a budget that will help Connecticut survive this recession and position the state for a return to prosperity once it ends.

In explaining her decision, Governor Rell characterized the flaws in the Democrats’ budget as a “recipe for disaster” and said that her veto is necessary because a state budget is about more than dollars and cents. It is, she wrote, about the future of Connecticut, and the future we are creating for our children. Furthermore, she notes that the budget passed last week “is neither balanced nor remotely realistic in its assumed ‘savings’ and ‘spending cuts.’”

I agree with Governor Rell’s opinion regarding the Democratic majority’s budget, which I voted against. Among other problems, this two-year tax and spending plan has a built-in deficit of about $263- million, and calls for imposing $2.5 billion in increased taxes. In explaining her decision to veto it, Governor Rell said the “savings” and “cuts” included in the majority budget are largely unachievable. For example, she noted that the budget calls for unidentified state agency cuts of $70 million without explaining how these so-called cuts would be made.

Additionally, Governor Rell said the Democratic majority budget does nothing to reduce the size of government, something that is especially necessary now when so many families and businesses are struggling.

“By not reducing the size or cost of state government now, the Democrats’ budget sets the stage for further – and larger – deficits in the years to come,” Governor Rell said. “With its built-in deficits, the Democrats’ budget would inevitably result in still higher taxes falling more and more heavily on Connecticut’s already overburdened middle class.

Connecticut needs a responsible, workable, budget that provides state programs and services at a cost we can afford. We need a state budget that provides for a smaller, more efficient, and less expensive state government. The Democratic majority’s budget falls far short of meeting those goals. Soon, I hope to be able to report that the General Assembly has finally passed a good state budget, and explain its details. Meanwhile, as always, I welcome hearing from you.

Senator Rob Kane represents the 32nd Senatorial District, which includes the communities of Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Middlebury, Oxford, Seymour, Southbury, Thomaston, Roxbury, Watertown, and Woodbury. He can be reached at his legislative office in Hartford at 1-800-842-1421 or via e-mail to [email protected].