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Local Representatives Keep Bipartisan Budget Alive Despite Majority Party Efforts to Kill the Bill

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HARTFORDState Representatives Mike France (R-42), Holly Cheeseman (R-37) and Kathleen McCarty (R-38) on Tuesday afternoon helped beat back a partisan scheme by House Democrat leadership to kill the bipartisan budget that would maintain the state funding that our cities, towns, and local school districts need to keep normal operations up and running.

All three legislators, along with other House and Senate Republicans, have been working behind-the-scenes to persuade additional Democrats to join together in overriding Gov. Malloy’s recent veto of the bipartisan budget. The goal is to have sufficient support to override during an upcoming veto session. House Democrat leadership, however, called an impromptu session Tuesday when it became apparent that some legislators—including key Democrat votes that supported the bipartisan budget—would be unavailable. The representatives said Connecticut can’t afford that kind of gamesmanship.

“There is one budget that has been passed by the legislature on a bipartisan basis,” said Rep. Cheeseman. “That is the one budget that maintains funding for the schools in East Lyme and Salem, keeps municipal funding level this year, and protects the most vulnerable in our society.  By his actions today, the speaker made it clear that he is determined to kill that budget for good. Fortunately, we still have the opportunity to override the governor’s veto and I urge my colleagues to end the governor’s rule by executive order by voting to do so and ending this ordeal.”

“The Speaker of the House provided little notice of the session and the day’s agenda, prematurely calling us to the Capitol without even knowing whether the motion to override would be called,” said Rep. France. “It’s simple: they wanted to kill the bipartisan budget because they knew momentum was building among not only legislators, but also local leaders. We did what was best for the state of Connecticut by not allowing their partisan games to erase the hard work that has been done to achieve a true bipartisan budget. Not just a budget that has ideas from both sides of the aisle, but one that actually earned votes of support from both Republicans and Democrats. The result of the events on Tuesday is that the bipartisan budget is still alive, providing hope to Connecticut residents that we can, in fact, enact a budget that doesn’t shift the burden of irresponsible and unaffordable spending by the state of Connecticut onto our local cities and towns.”

“We need to do this right, and that means not resorting to acts of ‘political power’ that places a ‘now or never’ ultimatum on the House of Representatives,” said Rep. McCarty. “Fruitful negotiations by leadership in the four caucuses need to continue over the next week so that there is hope of arriving at a negotiated bipartisan budget using the current bipartisan budget as its foundation. The bipartisan budget that passed both chambers last month is gaining momentum. Such a budget has the potential of overriding the Governor’s veto.”

At present, the state is operating under Governor Malloy’s Executive Order. That means local funding, in particular education funding, will be slashed throughout the state. With that in mind, the legislators said it was an irresponsible act for House Democrat leadership to try and kill the only viable budget—the only plan that had enough support to make it through both chambers and to the governor’s desk.

Visit www.cthousegop.com/budget to learn more.