Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Update on Budget Situation

Amann Fires Back

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.


ctkeith said...

WOW,did you get the copy for this post from the Republican caucus?

Property tax is the #1 issue on every locally elected official in the state and the towns need the state to take their fair share of the burden.

The budget Ms Gerald Ford,oops,I mean unelected Gov. Rell submitted already required an emergency declaration exactly as she presented it.

Stop bashing the Dems for doing the right thing.Lets see if this unelected Governor is anything but the empty suit her State of the State Speach showed her to be.

Genghis Conn said...


You said:
"Property tax is the #1 issue on every locally elected official in the state and the towns need the state to take their fair share of the burden."

This is absolutely true! There is a major funding crisis for cities and towns, and it's largely being ignored by the administration. So why aren't Amann and the other Democratic leaders in the legislature saying that? Why do we get "let her get carpal tunnel" instead of "the governor is ignoring a real emergency" from Amann? Why do we get "I don't think the cap was ever meant to be a straitjacket...I think it was meant to be a guide" from Merrill? It's appalling.

We need to be critical of the party leadership in this case, because their senseless grandstanding is actually hurting the chances that towns and cities will get the help they need.

Rell is already coming out on top of this one. This afternoon, she extended the offer to negotiate with the Democrats, which makes them look like a bunch of raving lunatics while she looks perfectly reasonable. If Amann can settle down and hammer out a good deal with her that gets towns and cities more aid while keeping the spending to a reasonable level, this could end up working out well for everyone. If not... it's going to be a disaster for Democrats.

ctkeith said...

Did you know that During Rowlands "Reign of Corruption" between 4 and 6 BILLION,yeah with a B ,in "carveouts" anually were given to corperations in "tax incentives"(this means not paying state and local tax).
Makes the 650 million over 2 yrs seem rather small ,doesn't it?

Lets close out some of these "payments for bribes" Rowland handed out.

Scott Harris said...

CT Keith, Genghis is right.

If Rell was unpopular, then this tact might work. But she's not. She is making the Democrats look like whiners who don't know how to control their pockets. There is not going to be a monumental shift in debate to the way we tax people.

Anonymous said...

The spending cap has been exceeded four times - every year between 1998 and 2001 - under a Republican administration. This is not a revolutionary act and has not cost anyone an election. Rell herself wants to exceed the cap.

The cap also has a lot of problems and creates problems for sensible fiscal policy (eg, it creates incentives to refuse federal funds), as outlined in these briefs:

One can debate whether Jim Amann goes over the top at times. But he and Don Williams are light years of improvement over Kevin Sullivan and Moira Lyons, who sucked up to Rowland for years and could barely bring themselves to argue with him. Lyons, for instance, was known as the "worst soundbite in the building" and spent more time fighting the Democratic caucus than the Governor.