Senator Kelly, Representatives Perillo, Hoydick and McGorty stand with Republicans calling for special session to fix failing state budget
Following calls by hospitals, advocates for the disabled, and many others for legislative action to address Governor Malloy’s recent devastating budget cuts, Senate and House Republican legislators including Senator Kevin Kelly and Representatives Perillo, Hoydick and McGorty have all signed a petition seeking a special session of the General Assembly to rebuild the state budget.
“The most vulnerable in our society are suffering because of the recent cuts made by the administration without regard to the fallout out on the very people this Governor says he stands up for. Medicaid recipients are going to lose affordable and accessible health care because this administration decided to fund pay raises in the executive office instead of critical programs like senior services. We must change how the state spends taxpayer dollars. If we don’t act wisely on behalf of the residents of Connecticut now, the Governor will keep exercising painful cuts at will. I urge Democrats to stand with Republicans and sign this petition so that we can go into special session and work collaboratively to fix this mess,” said Sen. Kelly.
Tuesday, the lawmakers submitted all 79 petitions to the Office of the Secretary of the State signed by each and every Republican state lawmaker. If a majority of state lawmakers in each chamber sign this petition, it will trigger a special session. To gain a majority, at least 4 Democrats in the Senate and 12 Democrats in the House will need to join Republicans in signing the petition. Thus far, the governor and Democrat leaders have denied Republicans’ requests to hold a special session.
“Connecticut’s hospitals and the quality of healthcare available to our seniors and those in need are being jeopardized by the governor’s cuts,” said Rep. Jason Perillo. “Democrats in the legislature appear to recognize this just as Republicans do, so it’s time to shelve the partisan rhetoric, sit down together to come up with collaborative solutions that will reverse these dangerous policies. Doing anything less is irresponsible – it’s time for action.”
“It isn’t enough to say you disagree with the cuts the governor has unilaterally made to our state hospitals and our municipal budgets,” said Rep. Hoydick. “Closing budget holes you created by siphoning off healthcare providers and looting local budgets the way they have lifted $250,000 from Stratford does not pass for sound economic planning. It is the responsibility of the legislature to take a leadership role where the governor has chosen to leave a vacuum. The only way these dangerous cuts that jeopardize the quality of our state’s health care and raid local coffers will be reversed is if we call a special session and make it happen. If the legislature sits idly by, it is just as responsible for these cuts as if they had actually authored them.”
“We have tried things the governor’s way and it has clearly failed,” said Rep. McGorty. “The governor cannot be relied on to create a balanced budget, and now he has demonstrated that he can’t be relied on to make good policy choices when faced with making necessary cuts. Instead of living month to month praying for state receipts to rebound, the legislature needs to convene and make sound policy decisions, reverse these cuts to our state hospitals and restore the funds he is sweeping out of the treasuries of cities and towns.”
The petition calls for a session, “To make adjustments to the state budget for the biennium beginning July 1, 2015, including adjustments to restore Medicaid funding and other state support for hospitals, health care and other services.”
The General Assembly can be called in to a special session by the governor or by majority party legislative leaders. However, if rank and file legislators demonstrate that a majority in both chambers deem it necessary to meet in special session, they can initiate a session themselves.
The governor’s $103 million in cuts include millions in cuts to mental health and substance abuse services and programs that help those with disabilities – all areas that were already slashed in the Democrats’ budget. It also includes $64 million in Medicaid cuts that directly affect hospitals and translate to a loss of $128 million in federal dollars. The result is a total loss of $192 million in funding for Connecticut’s hospitals and a $422 million tax hike on our nonprofit health care providers.