Exactly a week ago, The Hanging Shad issued a challenge to those who were incessantly calling the legislature’s approval of a new state budget “illegal” and “unconstitutional.” “FILE SUIT OR SHUT UP”—The Shad dared. Late last week, they did just that—filed suit that is.
A group of fringe, out-of-touch, semi-whack jobs got together under the banner of something called the Roger Sherman Institute (a self-described “think tank”—one that obviously needs some chlorine in it) to actually file the lawsuit. They claim the budget approval was illegal because the state Constitution requires the legislature to pass a “balanced budget.” This session’s two-year spending plan still has a $2 billion hole in it. The Malloy administration is working furiously to fill that hole. It hopes to do it largely with state employee union concessions. The plaintiffs ignore the fact that for decades, budgets have been passed with “assumed savings’ in them, albeit with much smaller numbers.
A look at the cast of characters filing the suit speaks volumes: Two are running for Congress—Mark Greenberg in the 5th district and state Rep. Chris Coutu in the 2nd; one is state Sen. Len Suzio (R-Meriden) who is so out of the mainstream he tried to defund Planned Parenthood in this past budget; and the key player, former state legislator and gubernatorial candidate Tom Scott whose relevant political days are so far behind him he can’t see them.
Also very telling is that the two Republican minority leaders in the General Assembly, Sen. John McKinney and Rep. Larry Cafero, didn’t join the suit although they expressed support for it. It’s pretty clear they couldn’t join the action because their own alternative, Republican budget assumed the same $2 billion savings the approved budget assumes.
In essence, the lawsuit is about trying to get name recognition for congressional bids (Greenberg and Coutu), pushing an extreme conservative agenda (Suzio) or trying to regain what once was (Scott).