2 GOP legislators oppose bonding for ‘nonessentials’ [Waterbury Republican-American]

July 11, 2011

Story as it appeared in the Waterbury Republican-American on July 11, 2011

Republican lawmakers beefed about the pork on the State Bond Commission’s menu Friday. A dismissive Gov. Dannel P. Malloy paid no heed to the protests from Rep. Sean J. Williams, R-Watertown, and Sen. Andrew W. Roraback, R-Goshen. Williams and Roraback voted against several funding requests Friday to make a political statement on government borrowing and spending.

The two Republicans piped up when Malloy called a vote on a $4.7 million grant for a streetscape project in Hartford. They said they could not support pork-barrel projects that are not essential. “There are a number items on this agenda, governor, which are clearly desirable, clearly worthy, but also clearly nonessential,” Roraback said. Williams said he planned to support a number of projects, particularly ones related to public safety and public health. “Like Sen. Roraback, I can’t go back to my district and say streetscapes and things that are not of absolute, critical importance were things that I supported,” he said. Roraback and Williams reminded Malloy that Moody’s Investor Services just downgraded the state’s credit outlook from stable to negative. The state’s bond rating, though, remains unchanged.

Malloy did not respond to Roraback and Williams during the meeting. The Democrat governor pooh-poohed the Republican protests during a news conference that followed. “I heard the speeches at the outset, and then I noticed the overwhelming number of items were passed unanimously,” Malloy said. “People can say what they want, but the votes were pretty clear, so we move forward. I understand they may disagree with certain expenditures. I can assure you I was surprised by the number of unanimous votes that took place today.” After the meeting, Williams said he and Roraback took a stand to make a statement about government borrowing and spending.