HARTFORD, CT — Like it or not, Oct. 1 has come and gone and that means Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s revised executive order has gone into effect.
That means 85 of Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns will not receive an Education Cost Sharing grant payment, and 54 will receive reduced payments.
About one-quarter of the ECS grants are made in October, another quarter in January, and 50 percent in April. The October payments will total about $135 million less than they were a year ago.
Cities like Hartford, Bridgeport, and New Haven are expected to receive the same amount of funding they received last year, but it’s not clear if that will be enough to help cash-strapped Hartford prevent insolvency.
Local elected officials gathered at the state Capitol last week to call on the General Assembly to override Malloy’s veto of the Republican budget proposal.
Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi said the Wall Street rating agencies are just waiting to downgrade municipal debt in the absence of a state budget.
“We passed our budgets in May and June,” Marconi, a Democrat, said. “This veto only furthers the delay.”
On Monday, Hartford legislators were outside Hartford City Hall to send a different message.
They want to make sure the Republican budget, which passed with the help of eight of their Democratic colleagues, does not get overridden.
The budget that Malloy vetoed last week only gives Hartford an additional $7 million. The city said it needs $40 million to avoid restructuring under Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
“The narrative that our colleagues, the Republicans, have put forth is that, ‘hey just because you all have not put a budget forth ours is better’,” Rep. Brandon McGee, D-Hartford, said. “I think now it’s time for each of us on both sides of the aisle, all four caucuses, to come together and really negotiate and talk about the people whose lives have been impacted by this budget or lack thereof.”
Sen. Doug McCrory, D-Hartford, said the Republican budget “is an insult to the people who live here in Hartford, to the companies doing business here in Connecticut’s capital city.”
He said no Republican legislators have personally approached him about his vote on a potential veto override, but they’ve heard from their leadership that Republicans are looking for votes.
The Republicans need 29 Democratic legislators in the House and six in the Senate to override the veto.
Asked about the probability of a veto override, McCrory said, “In this business of politics you never know until you know. That’s why you always have to be able to count the votes.”
Legislative leaders and Malloy are expected to be back at the negotiating table again Monday evening.
Legislators in the House were told they will be in session at noon Tuesday, Oct. 3 to consider the possibility of overriding the governor’s veto.
Republican legislators have argued that a veto override wouldn’t be possible until Tuesday, Oct. 10, but Democratic legislators are expected to argue they are still in special session and those rules setting forth a date for a veto session don’t apply.