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Legislature Heads to Special Session

With no end to the budget battle in sight, Democrats authorized a special session this weekend.  The General Assembly closes its 2009 regular session on Wednesday, and it seems likely it will be some time still before Connecticut has a budget in place for a fiscal year that begins July 1.

No sooner had the House and Senate approved the session than Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, blasted the Democratic majority, accusing it of “a shameful abdication of constitutional responsibilities.”

The Democrats — fresh off a series of back-and-forth votes with Republicans designed more to augment political pressure than to resolve the state’s budget crisis — fired back that it’s the governor’s irresponsibility that forced fiscal overtime. They charged that Rell tried all session to duck discussing publicly the most painful spending cuts needed to avoid tax hikes, and that she offered proposals for a gambling expansion and a battery of deep cuts to vital services only last week — just six days before session’s end.

Privately, sources on both sides of the political aisle said they believe this marked the opening salvo in what likely would be a summerlong fight to determine how much of a record-setting budget deficit would be closed by reducing the state’s chief services — health care, education, and social programs — and how much would be closed by increasing taxes, particularly on the wealthy.

“Journal Inquirer” June 1, 2009 Legislative session headed for budget overtime by Keith M. Phaneuf
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