Calling it an abdication of legislative responsibility, Representatives T. R. Rowe (R-123) and Tony Hwang (R-134) stood in opposition to the Democratic plan to cede unprecedented power to the governor to make budget cuts to balance the tax and spending plan voted on last night during a special session which was called by the governor following the rank-and-file rejection of union concessions by SEBAC.
“It was unfortunate the concession agreement was rejected by state employee unions, thereby leaving a $1.6 billion gap in our state budget. The legislature has a clear constitutional responsibility to balance the state budget. Giving the governor too much power may be politically convenient but it is disastrous public policy,” said Rep. Hwang. “I am willing to commit myself and forsake my summer recess to do the job we were elected to do.”
“We were elected to do a job,” said Rep. Rowe. “The legislature has an equal responsibility in the budget process with the governor, and last night the General Assembly punted, leaving the governor to make all the choices. This is a dangerous precedent.”
Both legislators noted that the Republican members of the General Assembly, who have been shut out of the entire budget-crafting process, had ideas to balance the budget without the massive tax increases which go in effect today retroactively to January 1st of this year. They expressed disappointment that none of those suggestions had been taken under consideration.
“This budget uncertainty and confusion reaffirms the widening disconnect between majority legislative leaders and Connecticut residents,” said Rep. Hwang. “Now state taxpayers are burdened with an historical tax increase, nearly $1 billion in new spending, and now getting a decrease in state services and massive layoffs.”
The measure passed the State House late in the evening by a vote of 78-56 in favor.