Lawmakers pass on veto override vote; budget stalemate continues

Lawmakers pass on veto override vote; budget stalemate continues



HARTFORD — The Republican-crafted budget and the budget stalemate both remain alive after nobody in the House sought Tuesday to override Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s veto.

The outcome resulted in finger-pointing and accusations of political posturing from both sides as budget negotiations are now just days away from what appears to be another deadline.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said that, with scheduling conflicts for lawmakers at the end of the month, the legislature would likely need to adopt a budget by Oct. 13 to avoid having the stalemate stretch into December.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, called the House into session Tuesday for the possibility of considering Malloy’s veto of the Republican budget. The legislature adopted the budget on Sept. 15 with support from eight Democrats, but Malloy vetoed the plan last Thursday.

A vote on an override never happened, though, because no one who voted for the budget — 72 Republicans and five Democrats in the House — made the required motion.

After it became clear no vote would occur, House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, then suggested lawmakers come back soon to approve $850 million in new revenue that appears in the Democratic and Republican budgets to avoid the municipal aid cuts that are in Malloy’s executive order, which remains in place.

Legislative leaders then met with Malloy for budget negotiations, talks which Malloy said showed progress despite the partisan fighting that occurred after the House session.

“I think everyone in the room realizes we need to get a budget, and we need to get it sooner than later, certainly in October,” Malloy said. He also told reporters after the meeting that staff members for his office and each of the legislative caucuses would talk about various issues Wednesday, followed by another meeting between himself and lawmakers Thursday.

Prior to the meeting, leaders from each party accused the other side of playing politics. They are tried to frame their proposal as the best way to avoid the executive order’s cuts, including the elimination of Education Cost Sharing grants for 85 towns.

Aresimowicz suggested Republicans didn’t move for a veto override to avoid having to talk about their budget, which has been criticized by officials from Hartford and from public universities and community colleges, among others.

“Given the opportunity to discuss, defend, and vote for a veto override on their budget, the Republican party decided to take a pass,” he said.

Republicans accused Aresimowicz of trying to rush a vote to limit their chances at building support for any override. They have been urging Democrats to override the veto and avoid the executive order, saying lawmakers can fix problems in the future.

“Right now, there is no alternative that is out there that can garner a majority of support in this building,” Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said. “We have a budget that can do that. They don’t like it — I get that.”

Fasano pointed out that the Connecticut Teachers’ Association is seeking an injunction to block the executive order’s cuts for education aid, while Attorney General George Jepsen said it’s not clear what constitutional limits exist for the governor in the absence of a budget.

Republicans admitted they didn’t have the votes Tuesday to override Malloy’s — they need 24 additional votes in the House for a two-thirds majority —, but said they could get support over time.

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“Sitting down with Democrats, it’s very clear there’s a lack of understanding of what our budget does and what is in our budget,” Rep. Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, said. “Dialogue is important.”House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Debry, said she also wants to keep the budget on the table, as Republicans say their budget should be the basis for negotiations because it garnered legislative approval.

Republicans could still call for an override vote when the House returns for action, as the legislature has not ended its special session. Aresimowicz determines when to call the House back in for a vote, though.

Aresimowicz said Republicans are wasting time trying to build support for their budget, and he called Tuesday’s session as a way to conclude the debate on an override and refocus on the budget.

“Let’s stop talking about something that doesn’t exist,” he said. “Let’s get rid of the impossible and move to the possible, and if we all take our political parties off our sleeves, we can get to a budget.”

Democrats also believe they have an alternative to Malloy’s executive order, pointing out that the Republican budget and the Democrats’ deal with the governor, which never got a vote, have identical revenue changes that would produce $850 million. Ritter said the legislature should adopt those changes to give Malloy the funds needed to undo some of his cuts.

Republicans said the legislature should work toward a budget, though, while Malloy said his staff needs to study whether that proposal would be allowed under the state’s constitution.

msavino@record-journal.com

203-317-2266

Twitter: @reporter_savino


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