Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has vetoed a bill that restored $54 million to a program that helps more than 100,000 seniors and people with disabilities pay for Medicare-related expenses.
The Democrat said Tuesday the budget changes lawmakers made to fund the program "are wishful thinking, double-counting, and pushing problems off into the future."
Democrats and Republicans disagree with Malloy's characterization. House Republican Leader Themis Klarides called for a veto override.
“The General Assembly has spoken clearly in overwhelmingly voting for the bipartisan plan to restore the Medicare Savings Program. I expect that Democrats and Republicans will remain consistent in their votes when we are called back for a veto session," Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Republicans and Democrats stood together earlier this month to restore funding for the Medicare Savings Program without increasing this year’s deficit. We acted together to do what was right for thousands of Connecticut seniors and disabled individuals. Today, I am calling on the Democrat legislative leaders to protect Connecticut’s constitution by standing with us again to override the governor’s veto. While Gov. Malloy thinks he has his own solution to the MSP funding issue this year, his plan to ignore state law as defined in the budget violates the state constitution. Gov. Malloy has executive authority, but he does not have legislative authority. He cannot just ignore part of the budget the legislature passed. That is why we needed a legislative fix, as we already voted on and passed, to protect our constitution. Furthermore, Gov. Malloy’s ‘solution’ entails deficit spending, conflicting with the promises he made in the fall not to spend any money that would increase this year’s deficit. The governor’s actions demand an immediate and swift response from the legislature to 1) correct the significant constitutional flaw with his plan and 2) to prohibit the state from increasing the size of this year’s deficit. Absent an override of his veto, lawmakers will be setting a dangerous precedent that any governor can abrogate legislative authority under his or her sole discretion," Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven) said in a statement on Wednesday.
Malloy had urged lawmakers against passing the bill, telling them he delayed the cuts until July 1.
Also Tuesday, new revenue estimates show Connecticut's budget reserve account has grown to nearly $900 million, due to unexpected income tax revenues.
However, new budget rules prevent that money from being used to address the current, approximate $260 million deficit.
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