Special Session Called for January 2nd

Gov. Rell has called a special session for January 2nd–just five days before the regular session begins on January 7th.

As for why?

“Some will question why I am calling the Legislature into session five days before the next regular session is slated to begin,” the Governor said. “The answer is as simple as it is stark: We cannot put off reality. We cannot wait to take action. The Legislature – the sitting Legislature – needs to take action.”

Okay… but if that’s true, why wait even this long? Why not call them into session tomorrow, or next week? We need to take action–bold action! …once Christmas break is over.

And what’s so important that it needs to be done without a second’s delay?

The Governor’s plan calls for further spending cuts, including $7.2 million in a third round of rescissions. Governor Rell has already ordered two rounds of budget cuts – the first a cut of $150 million and, most recently, a cut of $34 million.
[…]
The plan transfers $35 million set aside during the August special session in case Congress did not provide enough funding for low-income heating aid. Later Congress appropriated $5.1 billion in supplemental federal funding for the program, so the $35 million in state funding is no longer needed.

The Governor’s plan also transfers $185.8 million from special accounts within state government into the General Fund for operating expenses. These accounts contain funds well in excess of what they are estimated to actually require.

Whew! Thank goodness we’re getting on this as soon as possible! Otherwise we’d be in debt (on paper) for another week or so. The foundations of our democracy quiver at the thought.

You can read the entire plan here, but that’s really the gist of it. Later on in her release, the governor pats herself on the back for fixing up the deficit “…without raising taxes, tapping our ‘Rainy Day Fund,’ cutting state employees or increasing the burden on the hard-pressed families and businesses of Connecticut.” It won’t be so easy come June, of course.

So, look for the 2007-08 legislature to come back for one last gasp in early January.

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18 responses to “Special Session Called for January 2nd

  1. AndersonScooper

    She’s calling the Legislature back on the Friday after New Year’s? Will this be the new Legislature, or the old one?

    Sounds like more Rell grandstanding via press release.

  2. What??!!!!

    The Governor’s plan also transfers $185.8 million from special accounts within state government into the General Fund for operating expenses. These accounts contain funds well in excess of what they are estimated to actually require.

    So… even without Congressional support, we have $185.8 million that we weren’t going to spend anyway?!!! “WELL IN EXCESS”

    This wording makes everything seem like the budget crisis is all over. Very simply. And only after:

    – two special sessions
    – requests to all departments to monitor closely monitor spending
    – requests to all depts to cut back thier budgets twice more
    – negotiations (did they they actually meet or was it just an idea?) with the unions for contract concessions
    – threat of state employee layoffs

    All of these actions should be considered within the normal year-to-year review of state budgetting and programming anyway, but this year were touted as a crisis year and here we are sending out statements that say “hey look! Everything’s cool folks -we found a $5 bill under the couch! This should fix everything.”

    You know what? This Republican operative is gonna just give this one to the Democrats. You guys passed this budget with a little cushion and evidently the Gov has finally come aronud to realizing that. So take the credit.

    Surely I’m missing something, but until I find a hole in this bucket that we’re filling just fine right now, the Dems can have a field day for this. Enjoy!

  3. Okay… but if that’s true, why wait even this long? Why not call them into session tomorrow, or next week? We need to take action–bold action! …once Christmas break is over.

    Very good point. It does sound kind of funny when you think about it. If this is something that needs to be acted upon immediately, then why is she having them wait 2 weeks and 2 days before doing it? If we can wait over 2 weeks, then i’m sure 5 more days on top of that wouldn’t make that much of a difference. I smell a grandstand.

  4. Grandstanding???

    I suppose that is a very real possibly. Why wait until after the holidays to call them back? Well I also suppose there is the very real possibility that many could be spending their holidays out of state.

    But grandstanding or not we do have a very serious problem here and if we are going to deal with it effectively it must be dealt with honestly. It will only be effectively dealt with by using less of an eye toward party politics, and finger pointing, and more of an eye toward honestly understanding and accepting how we got here in the first place.

    From yesterday’s Meriden paper came this comment from our soon to be new Speaker of the House.

    “Connecticut has done every­thing right when it comes to the budget, Donovan said, citing the outgoing Bush administra­tion and greed on Wall Street as the reasons why Connecticut is facing a deficit.

    I suggest that we should look at that comment and ask who exactly is grandstanding? If Donovan really believes everything has been done right when it comes to budgeting here in Connecticut I see no reason to even hold a special session at all. Instead Rell should spend a few bucks of this newly discovered $185.8 million in excess funds found in a budget that “everything was done right in” on a crash course in accounting 101 for anyone in the General Assembly who thinks “Connecticut has done everything right when it comes to the budget”. She may also want to break the news to some of them that Santa doesn’t like naughty little boys and girls.

  5. Sounds like more Rell grandstanding via press release.

    Yeah well she’s packing a 68% approval rating, which of the do-nothing Dems has anything even close?

  6. Not in defense of Rell’s ineptness, but she does have a statutory obligation to develop a mitigation plan and call them into session to deliver it if the state’s budget is in a deficit of more than 1% of the overall budget. Also, this will be the 2007-2008 Legislature because the 2009 will not be sworn in until Jan 7th.

    The question isn’t why – the question is what…as in what are they going to do?

  7. The Governor’s plan also transfers $185.8 million from special accounts within state government into the General Fund for operating expenses. These accounts contain funds well in excess of what they are estimated to actually require.

    There is a laundry list of funds here. Some, such as the Conservation and Load Management Fund, are not funded in the Budget but assessments dedicated to a specicfic fund for a specific purpose. The last time they “raided” the Conservation Fund, it took them 3 years to pay it back, and only after twisting Moira Lyons arm into a knot.

  8. “Connecticut has done every­thing right when it comes to the budget, Donovan said, citing the outgoing Bush administra­tion and greed on Wall Street as the reasons why Connecticut is facing a deficit.

    What? By increasing the budget by more than inflation and income growth year after year? By not funding their retirement promises to the point where Connecticut is #1 in unfunded liabilities? By saddling every Connecticut resident with more than $16k present value in long term obligations?
    God help us. Donovan sure isn’t.

  9. Governor Quarter-Time delivering lectures on how urgent it is for everyone else to show up to work early. Awesome.

  10. Governor Quarter-Time delivering lectures on how urgent it is for everyone else to show up to work early. Awesome.

    Matt, you make a good point……….. Honestly I think we would all be better of if the General Assembly followed her lead…….. This state obviously cannot afford it when the General Assembly shows up for work at all.

  11. To their credit, Al, they’re at least only paid to come in for quarter-time jobs… half-time, half the year, 28K.

  12. Governor Quarter-Time delivering lectures on how urgent it is for everyone else to show up to work early. Awesome.

    Wow. Another mindless Colin McEnroe listener and disciple. Matt, does your Outlook calendar list everything you do, every day? Mine does not.

  13. To their credit, Al, they’re at least only paid to come in for quarter-time jobs… half-time, half the year, 28K.

    LOL – Al’s comment went right over your head smartypants.

  14. matt,

    I have never heard any of the members of the General Assembly suggest they are there for the pay. Certainly if they were I would expect to see far greater turn over, wouldn’t you?

    BTW in addition to the pay they get fairly decent benefits. Most people in the private sector could only dream of these benefits for full time jobs, let alone quarter time jobs. As well as a pension if they are there the required time.

    Also I wonder just how many only get $28k as pay anyway since it seems they all have these very important sounding titles.

    Still I do understand as well as generally agree with your point regarding the Governor. I hope you can undertstand my point that if those who run the General Assembly do not think they have played a key role in our current fiscal problem we would be better off for them to follow Rell’s lead. We would all be better off if we just paid them to stay home.

  15. We would all be better off if we just paid them to stay home.

    We’d be alot safer that’s for sure.

  16. We would all be better off if we just paid them to stay home.

    I believe that as this budget debate heats up, your words will ring true as it becomes more and more evident that most members of the GA have neither an appreciation of the depth of the problems nor their causes.

  17. JM,

    Thanks for that comment. I know sometimes I get very passionate with some of my posts. Maybe it has something to do with my background trying to run a company in CT as well as world wide and save the jobs of the hard working people here in CT,who had no idea why their jobs were moving out of state, or out of the country. We have shipped too many jobs out of state, and country. If we are going to fix our mess we need to be honest as to why.

    I can accept comments from many partisans who post here as understandable. They blindly buy into the propaganda of their party. Maybe they never needed to meet a pay role. Maybe they never needed to tell the single mother on the second shift her job was being sent to Mexico. Maybe they never understood jobs exist to allow a company to make money, not just to pay minimum wage. I have far less tolerance with comments from those who are most at fault for our current problems pointing their fingers someplace else.

    What I do know is this. We are facing the most troubled economic times in our lifetimes. The politics that got us here is not going to be the politics that gets us out of here. The American dream that my parents and grandparents came here for from Italy is history. They worked very hard as did many others who came here for a new life. I would hope our politicians could learn to honor their dream, understand why for at least a generation it worked so well, and stop trashing it. The American dream was built on hard honest work, not finger pointing.

  18. Not in defense of Rell’s ineptness, but she does have a statutory obligation to develop a mitigation plan and call them into session to deliver it if the state’s budget is in a deficit of more than 1% of the overall budget. Also, this will be the 2007-2008 Legislature because the 2009 will not be sworn in until Jan 7th.

    This is not correct.

    State statutes require the governor to submit a mitigation plan when the deficit is more than 1% of the overall budget. However it does not require the governor to call the legislature into special session. It simply requires the governor to present the legislature with a plan.

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