Republicans urge override of governor’s budget veto

State Republican legislators Thursday expressed disappointment that the Governor vetoed the only state budget to pass the General Assembly with bipartisan support.

At a press conference in Plymouth earlier in the day, the legislators and local municipal leaders had called on the governor to sign the budget. Now, they are calling on support to override the veto.

Senator Henri Martin (R-Bristol, Plainville) said, according to a transcript of the press conference, “I guess the one good thing I can say is that the governor is a man of his word. He said he was going to veto this budget and that is what he did. He did that knowing what his executive order has been doing and will continue to do to our communities, to our schools, to the elderly, and to those with disabilities. I’m not sure he truly understands the implication of his veto on municipalities.”

The only recourse that can save core services, Martin said, is for the legislature to meet and override the veto.

Representative Whit Betts (R-Bristol) said, according to the transcript, “We continue to hear the pleas from our municipalities and school systems about the importance of moving forward on a budget and providing them with certainty and predictability. The General Assembly did its job and adopted a bipartisan budget which does just that. Although not surprised, I am disheartened by the governor’s budget veto today. I urge the Speaker of the House to call the legislature into session, and I’m hopeful that my fellow lawmakers will vote to override the budget veto.”

Representative Cara Pavalock-D’Amato (R-77) said, via the transcript, “The bipartisan budget that Governor Malloy vetoed today reduced state expenses and cut administrative costs throughout government while prioritizing core functions and maintaining funding for critical programs for those most in need, like Care for Kids. I am extremely concerned for my constituents about the governor’s executive orders that will go into effect on Oct. 1, and the devastating impact it will have on these programs.”

Representative William A. Petit, Jr. (R-Plainville, New Britain) said, the transcript reported, “The bipartisan budget, which helped towns and cities across our state with increases in municipal aid has been vetoed today, and we will now see drastic cuts to municipal aid with the Governor’s executive orders. In the Appropriations committee on which I serve, our mantra in crafting a budget has been to try and protect children, the elderly, and those with disabilities. Now, drastic cuts to vital social services, including Care for Kids, Meals on Wheels, and substance abuse treatment services, will go into effect on October 1, and our small towns and communities will not be able to sustain this extra burden that the state will be inflicting on them.”

The legislators said they hope that when the veto session comes, other members of the General Assembly will reflect on the words municipal leaders spoke during the press conference at Plymouth Town Hall today.

Plainville Town Council Chair Katherine M. Pugilese said, the transcript reported, “Plainville is looking at a reduction of almost $2 million in the current fiscal year in the governor’s proposed budget. How do we take care of that? We have gotten no direction. Do we deplete our fund balance, which we have carefully guarded over many, many years of wise financial planning? Do we start to lay off the people that are so very important to our community, our teachers, our police, our people that take care of our parks and our roadways? . . . (Republicans) are here to protect the very people who are going to be asked to shoulder this burden: the taxpayers. That’s the only way the cities and the states can raise revenue is to increase taxes on the taxpayers, whether they are businesses or individuals, and they will decrease services while they are taking more money out of our pockets. I don’t imagine any worse scenario right now.”

Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne said, the transcript reported, “Municipalities, we don’t have the luxury of not having a budget. We had to have a budget. And what we did in Bristol was we spoke to our representatives and we took a best guess at where our budget was going to be and the Republican budget is right about where they said it would be. The governor, in Bristol, is cutting almost $4 million out of our budget. That’s over one mill. We cannot sustain that. We would be in trouble if we have to start making those cuts.”