The governor announced on Friday afternoon he signed an executive order in absence of state budget.
Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the executive order to "ensure the continued, efficient operation of state government until a new, two-year state budget has been signed into law." The executive order needed to be signed by July, which is the start of the fiscal year.
“Given that the legislature did not act on either a two-year budget or a short-term solution, I today exercised the limited authorities granted to me as Governor and signed an executive order that will allow state government to operate in the absence of an adopted budget," Malloy said.
The governor called it "a regrettable path, and one that I worked very hard to avoid."
"The executive order offers me less ability to avoid very deep cuts that will have a very real impact on our state and its citizens," Malloy said during the news conference on Friday afternoon. “Nevertheless, I want to assure the public that my administration will manage our finances during this period in a thoughtful and responsible way. Specifically, my focus will be on protecting services for our most vulnerable: the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled, and others who simply cannot care for themselves. And to be clear, even these services will need to be scaled back in one form or another."
On the very last day to adopt the budget, tourists outnumbered legislators at the State Capitol and the Legislative Office Building. Empty halls and escalators were not in operation on Friday, proof positive nothing was going to complete today expect the executive order.
"I've taken the steps necessary to protect to the greatest extent possible, the services that our citizens rely on. It's not a perfect solution," Malloy said. "I'm in search of a better solution and hopefully, we'll reach that."
On Thursday, progress on passing a state budget was halted. Legislators came close to passing a mini-budget that would have sustained the state for the next quarter. It had bipartisan support from the Senate and Malloy was hopeful it would get to his desk.
However, it stalled in the House, where Democrats there instead submitted a proposal of their own $40 billion two-year plan. That budget among other things called for a higher sales tax.
"The fact that the Speaker refused to bring anything to the chamber for a vote is malfeasance," Len Fasano (R-Durham, East Haven, North Haven, Wallingford) said.
Its reception was not positive with Republican members of the House and the governor also slammed it.
"Our discussion should not be led by revenue and I think they understand that," Malloy said.
Malloy met with house leaders on Friday for 45 minutes, cautioning them about any tax hikes before signing that executive order.
"We have a ways to go and we just have work to do," Malloy said.
"Whether it be the budget or the fact that they did not have enough of their legislators available, whatever be the story, they could not get their act together," Rep. Prasad Srinivasan (R-Glastonbury) said.
The governor said roughly $5,413,000,000 has been transferred to allow Connecticut to continue operations for next quarter.
The executive order that takes effect at midnight will cover the state for the next quarter. It protects, but reduces, services for the most vulnerable, the disabled and mentally ill.
"Even these services will need to be scaled back in some form or another," Malloy said.
However, it will also, for the time being, potentially eliminate other areas of state government.
“Areas like economic development, transportation and aid for municipalities are all things I support, but which will see deep cuts if we do not pass a new budget in the very near future,” Malloy said.
With the executive order, the governor said Connecticut state parks will remain open for the holiday weekend. In years past, state parks have closed as early as late July.
"When people are capable of putting the greater interests of the state and the citizenry as a whole as opposed to individually ahead of all other concerns," Malloy said.
Eyewitness News tried to get the house democrats to comment. They provided the station a 15-minute window, Eyewitness News could not make due to time and travel constraints.
To read the full executive order, click here.
For the full statement, click here.
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