Conn. State Reps Want Changes in Budget; ‘Yes’ Votes Not Assured

The Connecticut General Assembly adjourned Wednesday without voting on state budget adjustments agreed to by Gov. Dannel Malloy and majority Democratic legislative leaders. Malloy says there will be no changes in the spending plan now scheduled to be worked out in a special session. But not so fast. The reason for the delay was because there weren’t enough votes in the House to pass it. And now, some state representatives, unhappy about the spending cuts, want changes in the plan.

Before the constitutionally mandated adjournment Wednesday, House leaders said they indeed had the votes. “We could have absolutely ran the budget [Wednesday],” Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz told CTMirror. “There were two reasons why we decided not to: Number one, to allow for a full democratic process to happen within this chamber and to allow both sides of the aisle more time to review the document in final form.”

But sources tell The Shad the more progressive members of the House caucus balked at voting for the plan, at least on Wednesday.

Speaker of House Brendan Sharkey (L) , Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz
Speaker of House Brendan Sharkey (L) , Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz

As Malloy was making his pronouncement about not reopening budget talks, some House members were compiling changes they want to see. Will they support the plan “as is?” “I don’t know,” said Rep. Matt Lesser, a leader in the so-called Young Caucus that has been active in the budget process. “There’s been no hard count [of votes] in the House.” That, of course, contradicts what Aresimowicz said.

“There are things I like and things I am concerned about,” Lesser said of the budget. “When you’re cutting $900 million, it’s hard to say you like that. There are some incredibly important programs being cut. I’m frustrated that we’re cutting so much,” he said.

It’s clear that all is not well in Houseland. Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey has gotten into verbal scraps in this whole budget mess. First with Malloy—not a smart move. Then, with Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano as they crossed paths outside the Capitol press room—also not smart.

It would be best for the whole process if House leaders concentrated on placating unhappy caucus members so they can get the votes needed to pass the damned thing.

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