Some surprising defections on the budget from Bristol and East Hartford, two blue-collar towns that did well under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget, especially after the administration restored funding to reimburse them for a property-tax exemption on manufacturing equipment.
In the House, Democrats Frank Nicastro and Chris Wright of Bristol and Jason Rojas of East Hartford voted no, with the votes by Nicastro and Rojas coming after visits to the governor’s office.
Bristol’s conservative Democratic mayor, Art Ward, told The Bristol Press he would have voted for the budget, saying the city did better with aid than one could have reasonably expected. When it comes to budgets, Ward said, “You really do have to accept the fact that not everything will be utopia.”
Nicastro said, “People just can’t afford any more taxation. They really can’t.”
Bristol is a Democratic city, but its Senate seat was won last year by a Republican, Jason Welch, who voted with every other Republican against the budget.
Rojas won his seat with 55 percent of the vote in a district that includes parts of Manchester and Glastonbury, whose interests do not always coincide with Rojas’ hometown of East Hartford. He has bucked the party before. He voted for the Sustinet health bill, then switched to support the veto of Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
The trio can expect some unfavorable comparisons among their colleagues with Chris Lyddy, a Democrat who was re-elected with 51 percent of the vote in Newtown, a wealthy community that had been solidly Republican before he captured the seat in 2008.
Lyddy could have been expected to get a pass on the budget, but he voted yes.