Conservative group sues the state over a $2 billion budget hole

Two Republican legislators are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by a conservative group claiming the budget passed by Democrats this week is illegal because it relies on $2 billion in labor savings that have yet to be secured.

“It’s a phony budget, dressed up in gimmicks,” said Sen. Leonard Suzio, R-Meriden. “It’s an abuse, really.”

Suzio said he expects dozens more to join the suit that he filed in Hartford Superior Court. Rep. Chris Coutu, R-Norwich, has already joined the suit.

Tom Scott, a former Republican state senator and founder of the Roger Sherman Liberty Center which launched the lawsuit, said he hopes the courts will set a precedent that the legislature can not routinely pass unbalanced budgets.

“It was a dirty deal. It was a raw deal,” he said, claiming the $40.1 billion, two-year budget passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature is filled with “shenanigans” and “gimmicks”.

“Budgets passed here should not be out of balance,” he said. “This is a longstanding unconstitutional habit.”

“We researched the matter when the Republicans made this claim,” said Colleen Flanagan, the communication director for Malloy. “We’ve reviewed the matter and are confident that it is fully compliant with the Connecticut constitution and that the courts and won’t interfere with the duly adopted budget of the State of Connecticut.”

Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. called the lawsuit, “frivolous and hypocritical.”

“The same legislators who claim the $2 billion in savings is unconstitutional actually voted for a Republican budget amendment this week which included an even larger number. The lawsuit is a publicity stunt,” he said.

The suit also is likely to be moot before a court could take action.