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.

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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