Money for Post-Newtown Initiatives Not in Gov.’s Budget; Lawmakers Not Worried

Back in January when Gov. Dannel Malloy gave his state of the state address, just about everything he said was somehow influenced by the Newtown massacre. Having shown great leadership at the scene and afterward, Malloy was determined to take action. He formed a special commission to make recommendations. But the budget presented to the General Assembly a week ago lacks any funding or line item for costs that will inevitably come with any recommendations his commission may make.

The legislature also went into action with a special task force to look at all aspects of the issues brought about by Newtown. They held jam-packed hearings on gun control, mental health and school safety. Legislative leaders intend to take up a bill before the end of the month. They even plan to bypass the committee process. The same question applies—how will they pay for what they implement?

State Senate Majority Marty Looney says lawmakers are not worried. “He [Malloy] wouldn’t have known how to quantify the costs in the budget. It’s all part of the budget process. By the time the appropriations and finance committees report out [their budget plans], which may be sometime in May, we’ll have a much better idea of how any proposals would be funded,” he said.

Even if Malloy’s budget is adopted as is—which it won’t be—there is the prospect of even more state spending. But it’s probably safe to assume generating revenue for post-Newtown legislation would be easier to pass than for other spending.

Still, the specter of blowing through the state spending cap remains. Before post-Newtown spending is factored in, the governor’s budget is already well past the spending cap unless the definition of the cap is redefined. The governor’s budget does just that.