Greater Danbury 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, greater Danbury 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.

“These misguided budget cuts will hurt the elderly, the sick, the disabled and the poor,” Sen. Michael McLachlan (R-Danbury) said. “They will adversely impact the delivery and quality of health care services in greater Danbury. I hope Democrats will heed the Republican call for a special session so that we can repair this damage as soon as possible.”

“The Governor’s cuts to hospitals will do serious harm to the health care system in the 30th District,” said Sen. Clark Chapin (R-New Milford). “Although I agree cuts in state spending need to be made, Connecticut residents would be better served if the Governor included the legislature in determining the least harmful areas to cut. Even though the Governor has unilateral rescission authority, I stand ready along with many of my colleagues to offer input in a special session.”

“The current budget is a mess,” said Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton). “The most vulnerable in our society are suffering because the cuts are now being done without regard to priorities. We must change how the state spends taxpayer dollars. If we don’t act on behalf of the residents of Connecticut now, the Governor will keep exercising painful 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.”

“Statewide, critical healthcare providers such as Danbury and New Milford Hospitals were recklessly targeted as quick fixes to immediate and recurring budget problems,” said Rep. Cecilia Buck-Taylor, who represents New Milford’s 67th House District. “These hospitals and, more importantly, the communities they serve and contribute to, have and will continue to suffer if the people who control the legislature continue to simply plug holes in a dam that’s on the verge of collapsing. We have to tackle our state’s budget problems now. Waiting until the next session several months from now will only make Connecticut’s challenges so much more difficult to handle.”

“Until the Governor and the majority democrats address the state budget from a global view instead of targeting and hurting certain professions and businesses, our state and citizens will suffer the ill-fated consequences,” said Rep. Richard Smith, who represents the 108th House District, which includes Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford and Sherman. “If the democrats are serious in making balanced cuts, they will join us in petitioning for a Special Session.”

“By proposing these cuts, Gov. Malloy has demonstrated he would rather protect failed fiscal policies instead of doing what’s right and taking care of the less fortunate, the sick and the disabled,” said Rep. Janice Giegler, who represents the 138th House District, which includes Danbury, New Fairfield and Ridgefield. “The legislature still has the power to work together in a bipartisan manner to reverse the unnecessary damage these draconian cuts will have on our hospitals and to show the people of Connecticut that we can work together to put out state back on sound fiscal ground without sacrificing the care of those who need it most. My colleagues and I stand ready and willing to meet in special session to address these shortfalls.”

“I am hopeful the governor and Democrat leaders stand by their promises to pursue mental health improvements in our state by reconsidering our request to hold a special session” said Rep. Dan Carter, who represents House District 2, which includes Bethel, Danbury, Newtown and Redding. “This is a momentous moment in the history of the Connecticut Legislature, and I hope that we can conquer it with bipartisan support and prevent future tragedies by ensuring mental health care is available.”

“No matter a person’s age or economic background, health care is of indispensable importance,” said Rep. Stephen Harding, who represents House District 107, which includes Bethel, Brookfield and Danbury. “It should therefore be one of Connecticut’s top priorities to invest in the future of innovation and cures, support our force of medical practitioners, and encourage future generations to continue pursuing an education in medicine. We can’t do this by investing in other areas of the economy and hoping that the profits will find their way towards balancing out the sectors we have neglected. So perhaps this is a question of priorities. I know where mine stand.”

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.