Governor’s actions irresponsible to schools, municipalities
State Republican legislators today expressed disappointment that the Governor vetoed the only state budget to pass the General Assembly with bipartisan support. At a press conference in Plymouth earlier in the day, the legislators and local municipal leaders had called on the Governor to sign the budget. Now, they are calling on support to override the veto. State Senators Henri Martin and Craig Miner and State Representatives Whit Betts, Cara Pavalock-D’Amato, John Piscopo, and William A. Petit, Jr. were joined by Plymouth Mayor David Merchant, Plainville Town Council Chair Kathy Pugliese, Harwinton Michael Criss, and Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne.
Senator Henri Martin (R-31) said, “I guess the one good thing I can say is that the Governor is a man of his word. He said he was going to veto this budget and that is what he did. He did that knowing what his executive order has been doing and will continue to do to our communities, to our schools, to the elderly, and to those with disabilities. He has either been deaf to their pleas or he must have a heart of stone.”
The only recourse that can save core services, Sen. Martin said, is for the legislature to meet and override the veto.
Senator Craig Miner (R-30) said, “The bipartisan budget is not perfect, but it reflects the consensus intention that problems at the state level should not result in a disaster at the municipal level. The governor should not have vetoed this budget, but since he did, it is the legislature’s duty to override his short-sighted decision.”
Representative Whit Betts (R-78) said, “We continue to hear the pleas from our municipalities and school systems about the importance of moving forward on a budget and providing them with certainty and predictability. The General Assembly did its job and adopted a bipartisan budget which does just that. Although not surprised, I am disheartened by the governor’s budget veto today. I urge the Speaker of the House to call the legislature into session, and I’m hopeful that my fellow lawmakers will vote to override the budget veto.”
Representative Cara Pavalock-D’Amato (R-77) said, “The bipartisan budget that Governor Malloy vetoed today reduced state expenses and cut administrative costs throughout government while prioritizing core functions and maintaining funding for critical programs for those most in need, like Care for Kids. I am extremely concerned for my constituents about the governor’s executive orders that will go into effect on October 1, and the devastating impact it will have on these programs.”
Representative John Piscopo (R-78) said, “Now that the governor has vetoed the bipartisan budget, I’m greatly concerned about Governor Malloy’s looming executive order. Not only is it bad policy, it will be putting a terrible hurting our towns. Some of the finance houses in New York, namely Standard & Poor’s, have indicated that the bond ratings will be degraded in our towns if the executive order stands. We have seen the state’s bond ratings degraded four times in the last year and a half. It would be detrimental if this were to happen to our towns, because this is funding we depend on for our local infrastructure projects like roads and bridges.”
Representative William A. Petit, Jr. (R-22) said, “The bipartisan budget which helped towns and cities across our state with increases in municipal aid has been vetoed today, and we will now see drastic cuts to municipal aid with the Governor’s executive orders. In the Appropriations committee on which I serve, our mantra in crafting a budget has been to try and protect children, the elderly, and those with disabilities. Now, drastic cuts to vital social services, including Care for Kids, Meals on Wheels, and substance abuse treatment services, will go into effect on October 1, and our small towns and communities will not be able to sustain this extra burden that the state will be inflicting on them.”
The legislators said they hope that when the veto session comes, other members of the General Assembly will reflect on the words municipal leaders spoke during the press conference at Plymouth Town Hall today.
Plymouth Mayor David V. Merchant “We’re a small community. We don’t a have big fund balance. We’ve gone through some financial woes over the last couple years and we don’t have that extra money to make up in the middle of a year. . . We’ve got a school system that’s three months into the year and now we’re talking about making major cuts to that. We can’t sustain that. The Town of Plymouth, and I speak for a lot of small communities, we just can’t sustain that.”
Plainville Town Council Chair Katherine M. Pugilese “Plainville is looking at a reduction of almost $2 million in the current fiscal year in the Governor’s proposed budget. How do we take care of that? We have gotten no direction. Do we deplete our fund balance, which we have carefully guarded over many, many years of wise financial planning? Do we start to lay off the people that are so very important to our community, our teachers, our police, our people that take care of our parks and our roadways? . . . (Republicans) are here to protect the very people who are going to be asked to shoulder this burden: the taxpayers. That’s the only way the cities and the states can raise revenue is to increase taxes on the taxpayers, whether they are businesses or individuals, and they will decrease services while they are taking more money out of our pockets. I don’t imagine any worse scenario right now.”
Harwinton First Selectman Michael R. Criss “I will use the Governor’s words as he eloquently said it: Municipal leaders do it better. We do it better every day . . As small communities, we took time over the last three to four years and renegotiated our union agreements, our healthcare plans, our pension plans. Our union members sacrificed, for what? For our community. For our children’s future. For the future of this state. . . Our municipalities cannot shoulder this. We do not have extra money to bail Hartford out. We do not have extra money to bail Governor Malloy’s pet projects out. The money is earmarked for bridges. It’s earmarked for roads. It’s earmarked for the future of rebuilding Connecticut town-by-town.”
Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne “I second what First Selectman Criss said. Municipalities, we don’t have the luxury of not having a budget. We had to have a budget. And what we did in Bristol was we spoke to our representatives and we took a best guess at where our budget was going to be and the Republican budget is right about where they said it would be. The Governor, in Bristol, is cutting almost $4 million out of our budget. That’s over one mill. We cannot sustain that. We would be in trouble if we have to start making those cuts.” For more information on the bipartisan budget that Governor Malloy vetoed, visit: www.cthousegop.com/budget