Area Republicans Call for Special Session to Fix Failing State Budget

October 14, 2015

Following calls by hospitals, advocates for the disabled, and many others for legislative action to address Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s recent devastating budget cuts, north-central Connecticut Republican legislators have all signed a petition seeking a special session of the General Assembly to rebuild the state budget.

On Tuesday (Oct. 13), a petition signed by every Republican state lawmaker was submitted to the Office of the Secretary of the State.

If a majority of state lawmakers in the House and Senate chambers signs the petition, it will trigger a special session. To gain a majority, at least four Democrats in the Senate and 12 Democrats in the House will need to join Republicans in signing the petition. Thus far, the governor and Democrat leaders have denied Republicans’ requests to hold a special session.

“We continue to worry about the impact of these budget cuts on the frail elderly, the sick, and the disabled,” Sen. John A. Kissel (R-Enfield) said. “We hope Democrats will heed the Republican call for a special session of the state legislature so that we can repair this damage as soon as possible.”

“”The current budget is unstable and will continue to hurt the residents in our state,” said Sen. Tony Guglielmo (R-Stafford). “Changing how the state prioritizes spending is long overdue. We have to do something now, otherwise the Governor will keep exercising cuts at will. I urge Democrats to stand with Republicans and sign this petition so that we can go into special session and work collaboratively to fix this mess.”

“The Governor and majority democrats must look at the budget as a long-term document instead of targeting certain professions and businesses to close budget shortfalls, the taxpayers in both Somers and Stafford will continue to suffer the ill-effects of this budget until a new approach to budget policy is adopted,” said Rep. Kurt Vail, who serves the 52nd House District which includes Somers and Stafford. “If the majority party wants to join us in creating a better document, then they should support our call for a Special Session.”

“From everything we’re hearing and reading, many majority party lawmakers share our concerns about the governor’s budget cuts,” said Rep. Tami Zawistowski, who serves the 61st House District covering Suffield, East Granby, and part of Windsor. “Will we have different ideas and fixes? Sure. But as things stand today, we won’t have that opportunity to build on that common ground and discuss and implement solutions. This deficit demands action now, not months of deliberation.”

“Going after our hospitals – the sick, the most vulnerable people in our society – is not the right way to solve our financial problems,” said Rep. Sam Belsito, who serves the 53rd House District which includes Tolland, Willington and Ashford. “I can only hope that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle can put politics aside and agree to this special session so we can work together to find a better way.

The petition calls for a special session, “To make adjustments to the state budget for the biennium beginning July 1, 2015, including adjustments to restore Medicaid funding and other state support for hospitals, health care and other services.”

The General Assembly can be called in to a special session by the governor or by majority party legislative leaders. However, if rank and file legislators demonstrate that a majority in both chambers deem it necessary to meet in special session, they can initiate a session themselves.

The governor’s $103 million in cuts include millions in cuts to mental health and substance abuse services and programs that help those with disabilities – all areas that were already slashed in the Democrats’ budget. It also includes $64 million in Medicaid cuts that directly affect hospitals and translate to a loss of $128 million in federal dollars.