Gov. Ned Lamont gives a briefing on the budget on Tuesday, June 6. "First and foremost, you've got in place a broad-based income tax cut, really focused more on working families and the middle class," Lamont said. Yehyun Kim / CT Mirror

The good-time vibes that came with the passage of a bipartisan budget abruptly ended Thursday evening with five vetoes and a letter from Gov. Ned Lamont chiding lawmakers for failing to adequately address Connecticut’s reliance of shipping municipal waste to out-of-state landfills.

One of the vetoes, which are the first of 2023, would block a significant increase in municipal aid. The others addressed procurement, a local tax dispute and environmental issues, most notably waste disposal. Lamont has signed 223 bills into law.

Lamont vetoed Senate Bill 1143, which would have required the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to issue yet another request for information regarding new infrastructure for solid-waste disposal. Lamont said it was redundant.

“While well intentioned, DEEP has already completed an RFI earlier in 2023 for materials management infrastructure broadly, and many of the responses were from developers of solid waste disposal technologies, including gasification technologies,” he wrote.

Running a similar, if more limited RFI, would be duplicative for DEEP and “confusing for the private sector,” Lamont wrote.

In an unusual letter to lawmakers, Lamont said he was signing House Bill 6664, a bill he proposed, despite his view that legislative revisions to the measure produced a law that will fail to put the state on a path towards eventually ending the annual export of 860,000 tons of trash to landfills in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

“This is both environmentally and fiscally irresponsible,” Lamont wrote. “The multi-pronged approach I proposed in February would have returned Connecticut to self-sufficiency and significantly reduced, if not eliminated, our reliance on out-of-state landfills to manage our waste.”

House Bill 6664 provides for, at most, the diversion of 45,000 tons per year and offers “no clear path forward for developing new disposal infrastructure, while increasing electric costs by providing an additional $5 million subsidy for the three remaining waste-to-energy plants,” Lamont wrote.

He also complained that the bill, which outlines steps for winding down the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority, or MIRA, gives too much authority to one municipality, presumably a reference to Hartford. The city is home to a closed waste-to-energy plant that had been operated by MIRA.

“I hope we can work collaboratively in the next legislative session to develop a comprehensive solution,” Lamont wrote. One potential approach is to expand the diversion of food scraps from the waste stream, as is under way in limited test programs, he wrote.

He vetoed four other bills:

House Bill 6496, which was intended to lower costs to the state by utilizing new technologies and products. Lamont said it would undermine state procurement standards.

House Bill 6893, which was a vehicle for an amendment offered by Rep. Carol Hall, R-Enfield, which would have limited the ability of municipal tax assessors to adjust tax assessments following a change by a board of assessment appeals. Lamont’s veto message said the language was “aimed at resolving a local, seemingly singular, dispute.”

Senate Bill 73, which would have changed the Connecticut Siting Council by giving municipalities more control over siting projects in their borders. Lamont said he was concerned it could hamper the siting of transmission lines, solar facilities and other “climate-positive projects.”

Senate Bill 1213, which would have required the state to increase grants to municipalities from the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan fund from $52.6 million to $139.38 million annually. Lamont said the bill would have reduced budgeting flexibility and comes at a time when other aid has been increased.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.