It comes down to this: Conn. Gov. Dannel Malloy doesn’t face the wrath of voters this November. The legislature does. The state budget is in the worst shape in recent memory. Malloy has proposed draconian cuts. Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey clearly hasn’t played in this bowl game before. Bet on Malloy to win.
Right now, Dan Malloy’s popularity is somewhere between the punk-ass hedge fund manager who jacked up the price of a much-needed drug more than 5,000 percent and the dentist who shot Cecil the Lion. Short-term, Sharkey may have scored point by distancing (read: insulting) Malloy. He can point to that in his reelection campaign. He may also have scored points with his clueless caucus. But that doesn’t mean he is helping the cause of fixing the budget disaster.
Sharkey saw fit to attack Malloy over his attack-worthy budget fix. Malloy, in his best passive-aggressive manner, chalked up Sharkey’s trash-talking to the Speaker “having a bad day.” Sharkey countered that his day was just fine. “I know you are but what am I?” is in the queue.
As for the Sharkey-Malloy dust-up, a source close to the situation tells The Shad, “Picking a fight with Malloy, [Sharkey] finally got the love and adoration of his caucus, but to what end?” To what end indeed.
The same source tells me that no matter what form the budget solution may take, “If this were a playground fight, I’d take Dan Malloy every day of the week.” There are two truths to that. It is a playground fight it seems. And Malloy is the favorite to win.
Senate President Marty Looney is no more pleased with Malloy’s slash and burn budget than Sharkey yet he is smart enough to maneuver so as not to look like Dave “The Hammer” Schultz. Looney is more chess player than antagonist. But he still plays to win.
There is no doubt, the state is in sad shape (and that’s without even going into the latest on the morass that is the DMV). Every time Malloy and majority Democrats think they have it figured out—at least on paper—more red ink bleeds. Perhaps we should find out why that is. If the revenue projections are consistently way too optimistic, how about we get rid of the rose-colored glasses and make more conservative predictions. Makes sense, right?
The big losers in all of this are the state workers who have been laid off. They have families, obligations and commitments just like everyone else not to mention their contributions to the state economy.
Perhaps there should be a day of reckoning within unions. The older workers are less likely to lose their jobs under the last in, first out policy. Despite proclamations of “brotherhood,” the union members who would be less likely to get the ax are in no hurry to agree to givebacks even if it could save fellow brothers’ jobs. They’d rather not pay more for prescriptions than help fellow members.
Not unlike Sharkey, labor leaders made the complete wrong first move when layoffs looked imminent. Chief negotiator Dan Livingston tried to claim he had no authority to talk with the Malloy administration about more concessions. Please. That probably honked off Malloy more than anything Sharkey could possibly say.
The state’s finances are a mess. It’s time to stop the sixth-grade nonsense and get to work. That means the governor, the House, the Senate and labor—if they can convince their brothers to come to the table.