STATE LEGISLATIVE REPUBLICANS: ‘CUT SPENDING! (EXCEPT FOR MY IDEA)’

There is a strange dynamic playing out in the state legislature as the General Assembly examines and tweaks Gov. Dannell Malloy’s reality-inducing and painful budget. Ask any Republican member of the legislature and you’ll get the standard, “We need to cut spending even more before raising taxes.” However, there are some instances where individual Republicans want funding for their pet projects.

The last time I co-hosted FOX-Connecticut’s “The Real Story,” well-spoken state Rep. Sean Williams (R-Watertown) was making the case for the state providing CO detectors in all schools after a scare at a school in Waterbury. It’s an excellent and worthwhile public safety idea—everyone wants school children to be safe. But when host Laurie Perez and I pressed Williams on how he was going to pay for it in the current nasty budget climate, his answer was in essence, “We’ll cut somewhere else.” The House Republicans are reportedly working on an alternative budget.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Rob Kane (R-Watertown) completely contradicted himself on the issue of state spending in an appearance yesterday on The Real Story. Kane bemoaned the fact that his hometown would lose more than a half million dollars under Gov. Malloy’s budget. He then when on to say that spending cuts need to be made on the state level.

Memo to Sen. Kane: State aid to cities and towns is state spending. So which is it? Do you want state money restored for Watertown or do you want to cut state spending? If the answer is both, then you need to identify where you would cut to make up the restored local aid and stop sniping from the cheap seats.

Kane also wants to expand the use of the Amber Alert for abducted children and the Silver Alert for the elderly to include runaway children and teens. His idea comes in the wake of the 3-day search and eventually successful locating of 13-year old Isabella Oleschuk of Orange. About a half-dozen agencies, including the FBI got involved in the search. The state police sent a helicopter, plane, dive team and troopers with bloodhound. The entire state breathed a sigh of relief when Isabella was found.

Leaving aside for a moment the fact that the public hasn’t had a satisfactory accounting of the circumstances around the girl going missing (her father claimed she was stressed over the Connecticut Mastery Tests. The superintendent of the Orange public schools says the CMTs were completed the week before she ran away), expanding Amber and Silver clearly costs money. Again, it would be great to have these alerts for runaways and The Shad fully supports the expansion. But Kane couldn’t explain where the money would come from.