Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell stunned lawmakers a few weeks ago when she vetoed a bill to create a 25-member cabinet to study the funding woes of the nonprofit community groups that provide the bulk of Connecticut’s social services.
Not one Republican lawmaker voted against the bill the first time around, but on Monday attempts to override the bill fell short by one vote. Senate Republicans stood their ground and sustained Rell’s veto, a move that seemed to frustrate Democrats.
“Little more than month ago, each and every member of the Connecticut Senate cast their vote in favor of this legislation because it’s the right thing to do. We need to build a strategic plan to ensure that our neediest residents continue to have access to vital services from nonprofit providers,” Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, said.
“It’s unconscionable that this bill was vetoed, and it’s equally unfathomable that this veto will stand. Instead of choosing to be proactive, we’ve chosen to ignore a huge, glaring problem. This is a loss for the entire state of Connecticut,” Slossberg said.
Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, who voted against the bill Monday, said on May 2 when the bill first came up for debate that, “I think this is a wonderful initiative. And again, I would commend Senator Slossberg for bringing it forward, and strongly support it.”
Sen. David Cappiello, R-Danbury, a longtime supporter of the state’s nonprofits, said Monday that there is no need to study this issue again, since it was already studied by the legislature’s Program Review and Investigations Committee in 1994. He said the legislature needs to get creative and find ways to increase funding for these nonprofits, which save the state money.
About $2.4 billion of this fiscal year’s $17.6 billion state budget goes to contracts with nonprofits, whose social workers are paid half of what state employees in comparable jobs earn.
Click here to read our previous report about Rell’s veto of the bill.