Wait, Aren’t Dems in the Majority? Why the Outrage Without Action?

I only worked there for seven years so maybe things have changed. But last I checked, Democrats have majorities in both legislative chambers in Connecticut as well as a Democratic governor. Why then the moaning about budget cuts, possible closing of vocational schools and Conn. Transit fare increases? If they don’t like it, they have the full power to do something about it.

The reality is that it’s an election year. There is much more to be gained by Democrats by being “outraged” over potential cuts and fare increases than actually doing something about it.

The limelight lamenter is House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz. “Joe A to Z” held a news conference to express his “outrage” at the possibility of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget office closing two vocational-technical schools. Malloy says chill, there are no hard and fast plans to close the schools.

Similarly, one of my favorite lawmakers, state Sen. Gayle Slossberg got in on the act, touring the Bristol Technical Education Center and blasting any idea of closing it. Of course, the tour was put together by a candidate for state senate Democrat Michael Nicastro. It had political motivation dripping from it.

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I am the first to admit that when I was advising Democratic Senators in an election year, their reelection was first and foremost on my mind. But these cases of crocodile tears over budget issues are far too naked to work.

Legislative Democrats can at any time call a special to fix what they don’t like. Yes, special sessions are a hassle and they’re expensive but in this year’s case, the Democratic leaders just had a special session late last month to approve incentives for Sikorsky Aircraft to stay in Connecticut. It would have been more than simple to have expended the session to address potential budget cuts Dems didn’t like. They also could have rolled back CT Transit bus and rail fare increases that are now all the rage to be livid about.

State Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano has made these exact points in several news releases. But Republicans remain at the mercy of their Democratic majority counterparts. Ironically, Fasano’s call for other action during the special session was dismissed as political grandstanding. The reality is Democrats need political issues and now have them. Actually acting to solve the problems would be responsible but would ruin the plans.

I understand that if they did take care of business while already in special session, it would take away these matters as campaign issues for the next month. Dan Malloy is wildly unpopular so it makes sense for fellow Dems to make him the budget-cutting, fare increasing devil.

Legislative Dems better hope votes can’t see through this faux indignation on issues they have full power to change any time they want.