House Speaker James Amann blasted the governor's reaction to a Democratic budget proposal that would exceed the spending cap and increase government spending by 13% over the next two years in a press conference yesterday:
Holding Rell's written statement aloft at a news conference, Amann dismissed it as "amateur hour" and vowed to quickly pass the Democratic budget proposal that would increase spending by 13 percent over the next two years. If she vetoes a budget, he said, Democrats would put another one right back before her.
"Let her veto it. Let her get carpal tunnel," Amann said, referring to the painful condition of the wrist often caused by repetitive motion. "I don't care." (Keating)
...And that was basically it. Very little about why the Democratic proposal should cause the governor to declare an emergency or extraordinary circumstances, which are the only two ways the spending cap can be exceeded under our state constitution. This statement seems to sum up the feelings of the Democratic leadership:
"We're the majority party," Amann said. "This is a democracy. We certainly can run a budget." (Keating)
Yes, and the governor can certainly either veto it or refuse to allow Democrats to exceed the spending cap! That's her perogative under the law. Just because the Democrats have a substantial majority in both houses doesn't mean they can ignore the constitution. "Amateur hour" indeed!
There is a strong case to be made that the sad financial state of cities, towns and schools does constitute an emergency or extraordinary circumstances. But the Democratic leadership has completely dropped the ball, preferring to try and strongarm the governor into doing what they want instead of arguing the merits of their position to the people. If this fight escalates and Democrats don't change their tune, they could pay for it at the ballot box in May, November and in 2006.
Source: Keating, Christopher. "House Speaker Vows Budget Blitz On Rell." Hartford Courant 20 April 2005.