Did You See This Editorial?

May 28, 2015

Editorial as it appeared in the Hartford Courant

Make Room For Republicans In State Budget Talks

Hartford Courant Editorial
May 28, 2015

It wouldn’t kill Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and legislative Democrats to invite Republicans to take part in budget negotiations, even at this late date.

The more ideas that are kicked around by negotiators, the better — and this year the Republicans have presented a budget proposal full of ideas.

Democrats, however, say they are close to a deal that will be acceptable to the governor and should have it in place before the end of the session on June 3.

So far, the Republican minority in the General Assembly has been left on the outside, per usual, to state its case in press events. Last week, in a letter to the governor, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano asked one more time that Republicans be included.

Why not?

Republicans do represent a large number of people in Connecticut. There’s no good reason to keep them out.

Besides, voters may be getting tired of partisan bickering (which reflects poorly on both parties) and majority-party power plays.

Here’s basically where each side started:

In an attempt to eliminate a billion-dollar-plus deficit in each of the next two fiscal years, Mr. Malloy presented a budget plan that doesn’t raise income taxes and instead takes deep cuts from social programs, among other things. When Mr. Malloy ran for governor in 2010, he promised to leave the safety net intact. Running for a second term last year, he was an apostle of no new taxes. Now he would leave the social safety net with some gaping holes.

Democratic budget-makers in the legislature propose to restore the governor’s cuts and then some — and raise taxes considerably to balance the budget.

Republicans would restore some of Mr. Malloy’s proposed cuts. But like the governor, they oppose tax hikes. They would balance the budget by asking for concessions from state employees.

The Republicans are on the right track. But either way, they deserve a seat at the table as the biennial budget takes shape.