Christine Stuart file photo

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal opined in this letter Friday that Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell can’t use the line-item veto to squash a last minute $8.3 million amendment because she refused to sign the entire $37.6 billion budget.

“Very simply, you may impose a line item veto on individual items in a bill only if you sign it,” Blumenthal wrote in a letter to Rell. “If you decline to sign it, the bill as passed by the legislature becomes law in its entirety, and any attempted veto of selected sections is null and void.”

And while she disagrees with Blumenthal’s decision, Rell said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that she would abide by it to save taxpayers from “a costly and protracted court fight.”

“The items I eliminated, however well-intentioned, were new expenses, added at the last minute by lawmakers who are simply unwilling – or unable – to say ‘no’ when it comes to spending taxpayer money,” Rell said Tuesday. “I respectfully disagree with the Attorney General’s advice.”

When Rell announced last week that she would neither sign nor veto the state budget passed by the General Assembly, she vowed to use the line-item veto to get rid of $8.3 million in what she called “pork.”

“If you do nothing and leave the bill unsigned, the entire bill would become law and the attempted partial veto would be null and void and without effect,” Blumenthal concluded in the letter he delivered to Rell on Friday.

While the opinion may come as a slap in the face to Rell, there are many at the YMCA in New Haven who will be happy to hear the news. Click here to read Paul’s report from last week on some of the items Rell intended to veto.