Budget Day Irony: After Hearing Governor’s Fiscal Exhortations, Legislators Vote to Increase Spending

Posted on February 21, 2019 by admin


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Yesterday was the official launch of the state budget process in Hartford, with Governor Lamont presenting his budget proposal to a joint session of the House and Senate in the House chamber. He spoke to us, quite rightly, about Connecticut’s “chronically broken budget” and “fixed costs such as pensions, state employee healthcare and bonded debt – all growing faster than our economy”. He stressed the importance of taking the situation seriously, and of the importance not just of balancing the budget for the coming biennium, but also of making structural changes that will restore the state’s financial health over the long term.

The House was packed with staff, visitors, political figures, and members of the media, who covered the governor’s address and talked to legislators about their reactions.

But something else happened yesterday that the media didn’t cover.

Minutes after the governor’s budget address, we debated approving two state employee union contracts that had come before us in the Appropriations Committee on February 11. When the majority voted to approve these egregiously expensive contracts, the irony was glaring. When it comes to state spending, our job, as legislators, is not to sit on the sidelines. Our job is to be an advocate, not an adversary, for taxpayers. I made that clear on the House floor. And I voted no.

Click on the image below to see a video of my concluding remarks on the House floor.

As Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee, I will be heavily involved in the state’s budget process, every day. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like to discuss the budget, or any other issue, further.

Sincerely,

Gail Lavielle

State Representative – 143rd District