Gov. Dannel Malloy’s courageous town-hall style forums on his budget have largely become an opportunity for people to complain (sometimes loudly and rudely) about higher taxes or cuts to programs. And they may be taking their toll on Malloy’s disposition at the events. Reporters covering the forums and average citizens who attended them tell The Hanging Shad the governor has become increasingly snippy and short-tempered at the gatherings, sometimes cutting off questioners in mid-sentence.
Malloy can hardly be blamed for getting tired of the criticism. He is trying to right the state’s fiscal ship after nearly 20 years of irresponsible budgeting overseen by his irresponsible predecessors. But his irritation at people who don’t want new taxes (who does?) or don’t want cuts to their special programs was especially apparent in a radio interview on WNPR’s “Where We Live” show hosted by John Dankosky Friday.
It was that interview and a news conference at the legislative office building shortly after it that Malloy started to float his “Plan B” budget. He said the alternative to his proposed plan would include “thousands and thousands and thousands” of layoffs of state employees and “the restructuring of the safety net [for the poor] to the point that we won’t recognize it.”
But it’s the way Malloy is expressing the reality of the situation that is a bit troubling. When the even-keeled Dankosky (who asks tough questions without ever seeming aggressive) followed up on a caller’s question and asked about additional spending cuts, Malloy snapped back, “You want me to cut the budget more? I’ll cut the budget more!…” and then he laid out the doomsday scenario.