Failed Veto Attempt Was Fitting End

Sept. 14, 2009

It’s been a while since I chimed in to our state’s Paper of Record. This just-completed summer is the perfect opportunity.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s unconstitutional attempt to use the line-item veto to cut spending in a budget bill she refused to sign is a fitting end to an embarrassing budget process that needlessly dragged out until early this month.

It’s nearly comedic that she still contends her move was in keeping with the state Constitution, even though the attorney general pointed out two specific places where it’s forbidden.

The process started with the governor low-balling the amount of the deficit in her budget address in February, seemingly so she could say “no new taxes.” It ended with her walking away from the final version that will leave us billions short in the coming years.

Using one-time revenue sources to fund ongoing programs is a practice that has been used for many years, but not to this extent. The piper will come calling in 2012 (and most probably before) and we’ll be in bigger trouble than we just experienced.

It seems the governor has no standing to criticize the budget if she lacks the courage of her convictions to veto it. Her cynical line-item veto attempt was simply a diversionary tactic to deflect attention from her inaction. And that $8 million in “pork” she targeted included money for a food pantry and a program for the children of the incarcerated. Fortunately, the funding was restored.

We should all learn a lesson from this summer of budget discontent and employ it next fall.

Patrick Scully, Wethersfield

•The writer is a communications and media consultant and a former communications director for the state Senate Democrats.

Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant