Gov. Dannel P. Malloy did little to sell his proposed budget last year, prompting one GOP leader to assert the governor had “checked out.” Whether that was true, the contrast was sharp with 2011, when Malloy defended a major tax increase with an unprecedented series of 17 town hall-style meetings.
On the eve of presenting his budget revisions for the fiscal year beginning July 1, Malloy’s office says the governor is getting the band back together for a new tour to hear from residents on state issues, with a particular focus on the budget.
“Engaging the public and discussing the issues directly is important. We’ll be talking a lot about the future, and how state government can adapt to changing times,” Gov. Malloy said. “We all have the same goal – let’s help Connecticut achieve economic success, let’s ensure that residents receive the critical services they need, and let’s do what we can to make our communities stronger. We plan on having a robust conversation about how we can make decisions that will best improve Connecticut.”
There is little doubt Malloy will find residents willing to engage in a “robust conversation.” If the administration follows the same protocol employed in 2011, those conversations will be unscripted. Five years ago, speakers were chosen to question the governor based on the order in which they signed up.
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman played moderator on that first tour, and she will participate again.
“Everyone has a voice in shaping our future. While the governor and I enjoy visiting communities throughout the state, these town hall meetings give us a chance to delve deeper into complex issues, answer questions from residents, and offer a direct connection to state programs and services,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for us to spend time in a city or town and hear concerns, and for citizens to help inform the policy-making that happens in Hartford. It’s one of the great benefits of democracy that we can talk directly to government leaders – I urge everyone to participate.”
Times and locations are to be announced.