HARTFORD, CT — Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Friday that he won’t be meeting with Democratic legislative leaders to go over their bipartisan budget agreement until he’s able to review a document.
“I cannot give feedback on a budget I have not seen and reviewed,” Malloy told reporters during a half-hour conversation in his state Capitol office. “In reality, without a line-by-line document with hard numbers there is no balanced budget to discuss.”
He said he’s more concerned as the days go on that legislative leaders reached a budget deal he won’t be able to sign.
Malloy has been running the state by executive order since July 1. He vetoed a Republican budget that passed with the help of eight Democratic legislators at the end of September. That’s when legislative leaders went into closed-door meetings without the governor to see if they could get a deal without him.
Earlier this week, they announced they had reached a deal. However, none of the details have been committed to paper even though they’ve shared several with the media, including eliminating the motor vehicle property tax in the second year; increasing teacher pension contributions by 1 percent; raiding the clean energy funds, and; cutting the University of Connecticut about $65 million per year.
“We’ve been told that poor towns are getting more aid, but how much?” Malloy asked. “Is it enough to begin addressing the major inequities in education in between wealthy and less affluent towns? Is it responsive to the court decision?”
Malloy also wanted to know how the compromise budget is balanced.
“How big are the lapses? How big are the sweeps? Do they truly have a balanced proposal?” Malloy asked.
Malloy told reporters that he’s amazed at their willingness to cover a budget they haven’t seen.
“I think it’s silly you cover a budget you haven’t seen a copy of,” Malloy told reporters.
Legislative leaders have said that nonpartisan staff is working at drafting the budget proposal based on their negotiations.
“Legislative leaders are continuing to flesh out the final details of the bipartisan budget agreement reached in principle earlier this week,” Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said Friday. “Once these details of the fully balanced bipartisan budget that represents consensus in the General Assembly are settled, we will share them with our caucus and the governor.”
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, was not dismayed by the governor’s insistence about seeing a document before having a conversation.
“I always appreciate the governor’s input, and a number of his ideas are part of the bipartisan budget that is being finalized,” Aresimowicz said. “I look forward to meeting with the governor soon to share details of the agreement, and hopefully secure his support. I also expect to have an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the House next week.”
Democrats and Republicans are expected to meet with their caucuses again on Monday to share greater detail, which could include information specific to their cities and towns.
When they announced they had the outline of a tentative deal, leaders from both parties agreed they would likely have to pass it with a veto-proof majority in anticipation of a gubernatorial veto.
That’s because they don’t believe Malloy will support the budget they’ve put together. Malloy has spent the last several weeks using the news media to let them know what he will and won’t support in a budget proposal.
Malloy expressed concerns about spending cuts to the University of Connecticut. He said a $65 million cut is “pretty outrageous.” He said he cut them about $20 million a year, and Democratic legislative leaders convinced him to get to $50 million a year to get an agreement with him on a budget that was never voted upon.
Malloy also said he doesn’t support an increase in the hospital tax.
Democratic legislative leaders had reached a deal with the Connecticut Hospital Association to increase the tax in order to leverage more federal reimbursement. Malloy said he supported the tax when he thought there was a budget agreement, but doesn’t support it without one.
He said he would support an increase in the hospital tax if the hospitals agreed to settle their lawsuit with the state challenging how the tax has been structured in the past.
Malloy said he’s concerned about the sweeps from clean energy funds and the Green Bank.
He said that taking ratepayer money for one purpose and using it for another makes almost a “bait and switch” tax.
“I have not hidden my disdain for large sweeps in the budget,” Malloy said.
Another concern, one-time revenue. He said while every budget includes one-time revenue, he wants to know the percentage included in this budget.
He said he has never invited anyone to a negotiation without a document.
Senate Republican President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said this is Malloy’s third press conference where he had “nothing helpful to say.”
He said Malloy, who is not running for re-election in 2018, “is an irrelevant leader trying to make himself relevant.”
He said the governor continues to make himself an impediment to a bipartisan budget deal.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy declines to meet with Democratic legislative leaders to learn what’s in the bipartisan budget until he sees the document.
Posted by CTNewsJunkie.com on Friday, October 20, 2017