GOP Senator Says Malloy’s Renters’ Rebate Is Hypocritical [Courant]

July 10, 2014

Hartford Courant

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy traveled to New Haven on Wednesday to tout the elderly renters’ rebate program, but a high-ranking Republican senator said the appearance was hypocritical because Malloy had previously frozen the program.

Malloy stood with top-ranking Democrats, including Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, to hail the program that helps about 40,000 residents with a partial rebate on their rent and utility costs. The latest state budget, signed by Malloy, included more than $6.5 million in order to help nearly 13,000 additional renters to join the program.

But Sen. Len Fasano of North Haven, the second-ranking Republican senator, said that “the governor touting this expansion as his own achievement is completely inappropriate’’ in an election year.

“The only reason this program needed to be restored is because Governor Malloy phased out the program last year,’’ Fasano said. “When it suited his budget to eliminate the costs of an important elderly assistance system, he axed it. Now, he wants to be the hero. Taking something away from people and then patting yourself on the back for returning it is hypocritical and disingenuous.’’

Fasano said the appearance in New Haven was “a public relations stunt in an election year’’ because Malloy was “simply restoring a program that he himself cut.’’

Malloy, though, said the program would benefit low-income seniors and the disabled who earn up to $34,100 annually for individuals and $41,600 per year for married couples.

“This initiative will help make it possible for thousands of senior citizens and residents with disabilities to afford to stay in their communities and live with dignity, security, and independence,’’ Malloy said.

Malloy’s original two-year budget, proposed in 2011, froze any new enrollments in the rental program as of April 1, 2013.

Overall, the state has received more than 27,000 applications so far, and applications can be made until October 1 at the local social service agency or town assessor’s office.