HARTFORD — Democrats say the state budget is on time, balanced, and something to be proud of.
Republicans say it’s rushed, an abomination and constitutionally out of balance.
The budget passed the house mainly along party lines after nine hours of debate.
Sen. Marty Looney, (D) President Pro Tempore said, “We think it’s a budget to be proud of.”
The Senate will vote on the budget. But not if Republicans have anything to say about it.
Sen. Len Fasano, (R) Senate Republican Leader said, “We need to postpone this vote until there is evidence of an agreement.”
“Obviously we are not going to do that,” rebutted Sen. Looney. “We are going forward with the budget vote today as we should.”
In what the Governors office is calling a Hail Mary, Senator Fasano claims the budget is 450-million out of balance, violating the state constitution. He says hospital unions haven’t agreed to the pension savings structure.
“This was done rush rush yet again,” said Fasano. “He’s trying to get in done under the wire and I get it. He’s a new Governor, he wants to talk about how he got the budget done on time. But that doesn’t mean you cut corners.”
The Governors office responded saying, “There is no legal basis for what the senator is saying...Senator Fasano’s Hail Mary attempt to forestall the budget debate and vote is indicative of his party’s continued role in the process.”
We previously told you about the budgets main pillars. We told you about the new taxes you’ll pay, and about some of the tax cuts. But tucked into the budget are what some call pork. Rep.
Themis Klarides, (R) House Minority Leader said, “They are so arrogant now that they are not even hiding it.”
Some call then sweeteners or pet projects. How many were used to buy votes? “None, none,” said Speaker Aresimowicz and Majority Leader Ritter.
Democrats say the state can afford it.
“This year we’re not in that crisis mode and we’re able to be a little more responsive to community needs,” explained Senator Looney.
Projects like funding for robotics camps, money for a Greek Orthodox Church, preserving expiring tax credits for Cigna, a company that according to the Hartford Courant who cited Comptroller Kevin Lembo, threatened to leave the state.
There’s also more money for little league baseball. Rep.
Matt Ritter, (D) Majority Leader said, “What one might say oh that’s pork or that bought a vote, no it didn’t. It’s an investment in folks and I don’t know about you but some of the best memories of my life were on a little league baseball team.”
And remember the extra 1 percent meals tax. We learned that money was originally supposed to go back to cities and towns.
But now that they won’t have to pay for teacher pensions, the state is keeping it. Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, (D) Speaker of the House said, “We were going to send it to the municipalities to offset what they were paying for the teachers pension but the municipalities flat-out said we want no part of it.”
Going back to the issue of if this budget vote should be postponed, we heard from the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition, also known as SEBAC. They are saying they think it’s okay that the unions haven’t explicitly agreed to the pension fund savings. This budget debate is expected to last into the night.