Governor signs bipartisan budget deal, but with an exception - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Governor signs bipartisan budget deal, but with an exception

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The governor speaks about the signing of state budget. (WFSB) The governor speaks about the signing of state budget. (WFSB)
Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the bi-partisan budget on Tuesday. (Gov. Malloy Office) Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the bi-partisan budget on Tuesday. (Gov. Malloy Office)

Gov. Dannel Malloy has signed the bipartisan budget deal that was passed by lawmakers last week.

“After 123 days without a budget, it is time to sign this bipartisan bill into law and continue the steady and significant progress our state has made over the past several years,” Malloy said in a statement on Tuesday.

Both the state Senate and House of Representatives passed the two-year, $41.3 billion bipartisan plan last week. To read the full Connecticut budget, click here

"I was ready to sign a budget in early May and early July," Malloy said.

The governor had until Wednesday to sign that agreement. 

“Connecticut’s families and businesses deserve to have a budget in place, one that provides a stable environment to live and work. While there are certainly many provisions of this budget I find problematic, there’s also a clear recognition of many of the fiscal priorities and concerns I’ve consistently articulated since January,” Malloy said. "I appreciate the work of the General Assembly in passing a budget to my desk that I can sign.”

However, the governor said he used a line-item veto to remove what he called an illegal hospital tax proposal. Malloy said there are language issues on the hospital tax which could put the state on the hook for millions of dollars. By vetoing the line item, lawmakers can make an amendment vote on it. 

"Having signed this budget into law, I want to clear that this is not a document I would have negotiated and I have deep concerns with aspects of it," Malloy said.

The two-year budget is the work of months and months of bi-partisan talks. Both sides forced to negotiate after Malloy vetoed the GOP-backed budget. 

"There's nothing in this budget that could not be done in June or May,” Malloy said. "And I think people in the state of Connecticut are rightfully frustrated by how long it's taken."

But, the governor said it still has far more cuts to the University of Connecticut that he would have liked as well as damaging sweeps to energy funds and cuts to economic development. 

"This budget restores more than 100 million in funding to UConn and other state colleges from the budget I received in September," Malloy said. "It includes a new ECS formula."

The compromise has the following items: 

  • fully funds state pensions
  • restores deep education cuts and makes
  • structural changes such a cap on spending and bonding
  • helps Hartford avoid bankruptcy

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz reacted to the signing. 

"Though I disagree with his line-item vetoes, the legislature is committed to working with the administration on any fix necessary to ensure that taxpayers are protected," Aresimowicz said in a statement on Tuesday. 

The Republican leader in the Senate said they will fix the language, if necessary, which means lawmakers will have to return to the State Capitol to amend and vote. But, overall, Len Fasano said he feels what was accomplished in this budget made this a better process. 

"For the first time in a long time, I said this during negotiations, I like the atmosphere in this building," Fasano said. "I think it's refreshing honest forthright and better for the state of Connecticut."

Lawmakers are working on the language changes and will vote in the coming two weeks.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said this budget "establishes a framework for dealing with Hartford’s long-term, structural fiscal challenges in a responsible way."

“The budget creates tools that make it possible to put the City on a path to sustainability outside of Chapter 9, so long as all of our stakeholders are prepared to be a real part of the solution. We will now work on partnering to use those tools, and we will stay focused on true, long-term sustainability – not just buying time. I want to thank Governor Malloy for his recognition that sustainable, vibrant cities are vitally important to Connecticut’s economic competitiveness, and for his strong, consistent advocacy for cities throughout this year’s long budget process,” Malloy said in a statement on Tuesday.

Connecticut was without a budget since July 1. It was the only state in the country without one.

More from the governor's office can be read here.

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