Republicans object to budget process, say plan’s impact not really known

May 13, 2016

HARTFORD — Republican leaders on Thursday questioned the state budget process and accused Democratic lawmakers of making the decision to approve a plan prior to fully vetting it.

Senate Minority Leader Leonard Fasano, R-North Haven, said the budget was rushed to the General Assembly, as Republicans only received the budget implementer at 2:49 a.m. Wednesday, which didn’t allow lawmakers time to fully determine the impact to individuals.

“I don’t mind an imperfect process,” Fasano said during a press conference prior to the budget debate. “What I mind is a disastrous process. This is just simply unfair. It is unfair to the voters of the state of Connecticut.”

Furthermore, Fasano argued that sifting through the implementer with limited time is similar to trying pass the budget at the eleventh hour last week while facing midnight deadline to the end of the session.

“Not only is the process a horrible process, but we were promised that this would not be the process,” Fasano said.

“There’s no reason why we should rush today,” Sen. Kevin Witkos, R-Canton, said. “These bills should be fully vetted by not only the legislature, but by those who represent at the municipal level.”

Witkos said he has heard from municipal leaders who had an opportunity to see the bill but were pushing for changes and numerous individuals and agencies that had yet to see the details as of early Thursday afternoon.

“There are serious issues here, not only on the process, as well as the product,” Fasano said.

Witkos added that he believes Democrats planned to push for a vote to intentionally prevent the bill from being thoroughly vetted, while Fasano said he feels there needs to be a fundamental shift in spending in order to provide stability.

“Let’s be real about where we are,” Fasano said. “A cut is not a structural change. A cut does not mean that there isn’t a desire to spend more money. It just means I’m broke. … Structural change says we can’t go on living the way we’re living.”

Although Republicans expressed objections to the proposed budget bill, Fasano said early Thursday they had no intention to filibuster — a commitment he upheld later in the day.

“We’re not here to be obstructionists,” Fasano said, adding that he and his colleagues also wouldn’t “be enablers to a bad budget.”