SHELTON, Conn. -- They had hoped for a message from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy at the start of the 2016 legislative session that indicated a serious change in fiscal direction for the state, said State Reps. Jason Perillo (R-Shelton) and Ben McGorty (R-Shelton, Stratford, Trumbull).
Instead, they said they heard a partisan budget message that lacked the types of structural changes that the state of Connecticut needs to end continuing budget deficits and build the economy.
Before a joint session of the House and Senate last week, Malloy outlined his plan for a $19.87 billion state budget that requires reductions across numerous state agencies, without spelling out what line items will actually be reduced.
“I think we can all appreciate that the governor is finally saying we need to live within our means when it comes to setting a state budget, but he used tough talk last year, too, and there was zero follow-through,” said Perillo. “It’s too bad that it has taken him five years to realize that we can not sustain the level of state employee benefits we currently have here. We’ll see if he stays that course, or reflexively reverts to more tax hikes come May.”
McGorty echoed that feeling.
“We heard some strong rhetoric today about requiring the state to live within its means and the need for bipartisanship – rhetoric that generally doesn’t match the history of this administration,” said McGorty. “I certainly welcome the notion of finding the way toward a leaner and more efficient government, but taking away legislative authority to review spending priorities by state agencies represents a consolidation of executive authority that I can’t support.
"The legislature is the voice of the people, and we have the right to review and set budget priorities as a separate but equal branch of government.”
This session of the Connecticut General Assembly will adjourn at midnight, Wednesday, May 4.
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