Republican legislative leaders blasted their Democratic colleagues and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy last week for making late appointments to a panel charged with fixing the state spending cap. The panel still hasn’t met, even though its statutory deadline to begin work was Feb. 27.
State officials will move forward Tuesday with new constitutional language to protect transportation spending, despite warnings Monday from one of Connecticut’s staunchest “lockbox” advocates that a hurried approach could lead to trouble.
While the General Assembly is expected to adopt a plan in special session Tuesday to close most or all of this fiscal year’s budget deficit, restore some funds for hospitals and finance modest business tax breaks, almost 40 percent of the plan diverts resources from specialized funds and various one-time sources.
Connecticut’s constitutional spending cap, often a major weapon in political and policy fights, carries no legal authority because of the legislature’s failure to formally implement the measure, Attorney General George Jepsen said Tuesday in a legal opinion.
When it comes to state finances, the constitutional spending cap has been the elephant in the room for the past decade. But the leaders of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee took the first step Monday to force a debate on a broken budget mechanism that increasingly promotes fiscal maneuvering, hefty borrowing, secrecy, and forfeiture of federal dollars.
The legislature’s budget-writing panel recommended adding $514 million in spending to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s plan — and embraced a radical new interpretation of the constitutional spending cap — primarily to bolster human services and education.
While Gov. Dannel P. Malloy portrayed the spending cap Thursday as an unavoidable constraint on the next state budget, governors and legislators from both parties have skirted that constraint repeatedly for a decade.
EAST HARTFORD – Despite recent arguments that his new state budget proposal is out of balance and over the constitutional spending cap, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Wednesday he wouldn’t propose more spending cuts or otherwise adjust his plan.
Unless Gov. Dannel P. Malloy softens his position on the constitutional spending cap, legislators already reeling from deep proposed cuts could be scrambling to make at least $100 million more per year.