Republican state lawmakers and local town officials want Democrats in the General Assembly to override Gov. Dannel Malloy’s veto of their recently passed budget, saying that it’s time for the state to move forward.
State Sen. Kevin Kelly, R-21, joined Reps. Laura Hoydick and Ben McGorty and other state and town officials on Tuesday in front of Stratford Town Hall. The press conference was meant as a call to Democratic lawmakers to overturn Malloy’s veto of the $40.68-billion two-year state spending plan passed in late September.
The passed budget, Kelly said, would prevent an executive order passed by Malloy from going into effect.
Kelly said the lawmakers gathered in Stratford were urging Democrats to “stand up” to Malloy.
“The governor vetoing this budget and offering no alternative plan for our towns, cities and nonprofits but his executive order is a devastating event and completely unacceptable,” Kelly said.
Kelly noted that Stratford would lose about $31 million in municipal aid, including $27 million in education funding. Shelton and Monroe would stand to lose $7.4 million each and Seymour would lose $8.9 million in state dollars under Malloy’s order, Kelly said.
“We cannot allow this to happen and that is why we are all standing here today. Standing here to urge everyone throughout Connecticut to call their Democrat lawmakers and urge them to override this veto,” he said.
Kelly said the plan passed by Republicans and a few Democrats “not only avoids the governor’s executive orders that would hurt schools, but it also creates stability for our towns and cities over the next two years and for years to come.”
Hoydick, R-120, said the budget passed by Republicans and some Democrats “is not full of holes and not full of tricks.”
“It’s an exceptional budget that is a no-tax increase budget. I am so proud of the House and Senate Republicans and Democrats who worked with us on that budget. We haven’t had anything like this since I’ve been in the General Assembly for the last seven years,” said Hoydick, who is running for Stratford mayor as the Republican nominee.
Hoydick and McGorty, R-122, said after the gathering that they plan to contact Stratford’s Democratic representatives, Rep. Joe Gresko, D-121, and Sen. Ed Gomes, D-23, to convince them to support a veto override.
State Rep. Nicole Klarieds-Ditria, R-105, urged residents to contact their state representatives, mayors and first selectmen to push the veto override through.
“Tell them we want it passed, we want to override the governor’s veto. That is the only way we can start to move this wonderful state of Connecticut forward,” Klarides-Ditria said.
State Rep. J.P. Sredzinski, R-115, called Malloy’s executive order “irresponsible” and “reckless.”
Stratford Mayor John Harkins said it took “courage” for some Democrats to break with the rest of the party and pass the GOP plan. He also said residents are “concerned” with what he sees as a “lack of leadership” in Hartford.
“It’s October. This should have been done in the springtime. We shouldn’t even be here. We should all have our budgets passed, but unfortunately we don’t.” he said. “In the end, you have to govern for the people.”
Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti said local governments find a way to make things work and that Democrats should come back to negotiate and find a way to make things work.
“So many people are disproportionately affected and it is just unacceptable,” said Lauretti, adding that businesses are looking for stability lest more companies leave the state.
“Let’s get a budget in place that at least takes Connecticut in the right direction,” he said.
While most in the audience applauded the comments made by the lawmakers, Stratford Democratic mayoral candidate Stephanie Philips said it was “hypocritical” for Hoydick and Harkins to criticize Democrats when Harkins rejected three Stratford budgets. Three budget proposals for the 2017-18 fiscal year passed by four Democrats and two Republicans on Stratford’s Town Council were vetoed by Harkins and the town is currently operating on the previous fiscal year’s budget.
“I think it is hypocritical for Mayor Harkins alongside Rep. Laura Hoydick and friends to scold the Democratic legislators because the state does not have a budget,” Philips said in an email to The Star. “Harkins vetoed a ‘no tax increase’ bipartisan town budget [three] times, and issued executive orders to increase our tax bill to 39.9 [mills], higher than anyone proposed. Nothing has changed, just more of the same,”