Simsbury First Selectwoman Mary Glassman said if she were lieutenant governor she would change how the state Bond Commission does business.
Instead of being just a commission that approves borrowing based on an agenda set by the governor, she would allow it to have a broader conversation about the state’s bonded indebtedness. She said instead of canceling its meeting today it should be meeting to talk about a decision several weeks ago by one of the three bond rating agencies to lower Connecticut’s rating.
Her opponent in the Aug. 10 primary, state Comptroller Nancy Wyman, says Glassman seems to be “confused” about the role of the Bond Commission.
“Mary appears to be saying that the Bond Commission should meet more in order to spend less, when exactly the opposite is true,” Wyman, said. “And she wants them to take up matters they have no jurisdiction over? It just doesn’t make sense.”
“It’s true some people prefer the Bond Commission not meet because every time they do they add to the debt and to the cost to the taxpayers of Connecticut,” Glassman said.
But Glassman wondered if the conversation about the state‘s bonded debt wasn‘t happening at the Bond Commission meeting then “where would that conversation be held?”
“It’s certainly not being held in last session where we saw another billion being bonded for ongoing expenses,” Glassman said. “It’s time for a new way of doing business in Connecticut.”
Wyman, a member of the Bond Commission, explained that the General Assembly borrowed $955 million in economic recovery bonds during the last session, “which the Bond Commission had no authority over.”
“We cannot continue to borrow from the future to pay for the past,” Glassman said. “It’s out of control and we need to have a conversation. We need to have a plan about how we‘re going to get Connecticut‘s fiscal house in order.”
Asked if the Bond Commission was really where the conversation should be had, Glassman insisted, “It’s exactly the place to have it.”
Sen. Donald DeFronzo, D-New Britain, said this year the state deauthorized $422 million in bonds and has slowed the amount of borrowing over the past couple of years. He said the conversation about setting borrowing priorities and bonded debt continues.
DeFronzo said it always strikes him as odd when Republican candidates talk about the high level of bonding in the state because for the past 20 years Republican governors are the only ones who have been able to put items on the agenda.
“Ultimately the level of indebtedness is up to the person who controls the debt,” DeFronzo said.
In Connecticut that’s the governor.
For years the Democratically-controlled legislature and Republican governor’s have been fighting over which projects get put on the state credit card and which don’t.
The state’s net indebtness is $15.1 billion.