With new numbers showing the state’s current budget in deficit up to $121 million, a clearly frustrated Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano said, “For the life of me, I can’t understand why he [Gov. Dan Malloy] won’t sit down with the leaders and figure this out.” Fasano says he has written multiple times and called but got no response.
Malloy is required by law to present a deficit mitigation plan if the red ink reaches one percent of the general fund, or about $175 million. Fasano says there is no reason to let things get that bad. “Short of the statute that requires him [Malloy] to present a deficit mitigation plan, what is the trigger for when he will act? Why are we screwing around with this? Let’s get the G– damned job done!” Fasano said.
The governor can expect yet another letter from Fasano Wednesday proposing that Malloy and the legislative leaders—Senate President Martin Looney, Minority Leader Fasano, Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey and House Minority Themis Klarides—all get together and work out the problem.
“The governor has said in the past, ‘No party has a monopoly on good ideas.’ Well, it’s time to put that into practice,” Fasano said. “I don’t know why he is hiding in fantasyland that there is no problem here. It’s almost arrogance.”
The governor is expected to come up with another round of rescissions—or unilateral cuts he can make—to bring down the deficit number. The consensus from both Democrats and Republicans that the first round of cuts Malloy ordered hit social services hard as well as education and tourism.
After the first round of cuts Malloy announced back in November, state Sen. Beth Bye, the Democratic chairwoman of the legislature’s Appropriations committee, was skeptical “I definitely have concerns about the $6 million cut for board and care for children under DCF [department of children and families] care. I need to better understand what that looks like, exactly, because I don’t want anything to negatively impact our care for adolescents who have mental health and behavioral challenges. And I’m sure we’ll be hearing from the colleges. But we have an obligation to maintain a balanced budget, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Also back in November, House Republican Leader Themis Klarides was unconvinced things are being fixed, “Clearly the Governor failed to acknowledge what everyone else who was paying attention recognized: Connecticut has a lingering fiscal crisis that was never adequately addressed either because of politics or woeful disregard for the truth…This is just the first step forward that all sides must take together.’’