McKinney: Pass Budget by April

The session opens tomorrow, and Minority Leader Sen. John McKinney (R) wants to see the budget done early.

“We want to pass the budget early, by April,” said Sen. John McKinney, minority leader.
 
“People are worried,” said Rep. Larry Cafero, minority leader. “They won’t stand for grandstanding.”(WFSB)

And the new Speaker agrees:

Speaker-elect Chris Donovan, D-Meriden, said he wants the Appropriations and the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding committees to finish their work two weeks ahead of schedule.
 
“We want to make the process work as quickly as possible so we have time to get it done,” Donovan said. (Stuart)

It’s encouraging to hear talk of finishing the budget early. That would go a long way toward giving the public confidence in the legislature. I bet that if Jim Amann were still Speaker, he’d be giving the media a long list of reasons why it couldn’t be done.

To be fair, it probably won’t be done. Amann was usually right about that sort of stuff. But it’s good that they’re willing to work towards that goal.

Committee Downsizing

To that end, Republicans are proposing streamlining the way the legislature works and combining or simply getting rid of certain committees:

In an effort to speed up the process, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Southport, said combining the two budget committees into one “Budget Committee” makes sense. The Appropriations Committee creates the spending side of the budget. McKinney said that often times Appropriations offers a bill that doesn’t match the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee’s corresponding proposal to fund it.
 
In addition to streamlining the two budget committees, Republicans have proposed eliminating the four Select Committees, which under current law cannot transmit legislation directly to the floor of the House or Senate, and consolidating six other committees into three. (Stuart)

That makes a certain amount of sense. It means longer hours for the committees that still exist, however, and it may mean that some things are overlooked. But it’s an interesting proposal. If there are ways to make the legislature more efficient that also result in better legislation, I’m all for them.

State of the State

The governor is scheduled to deliver her State of the State address tomorrow at noon. If she holds true to form, the speech will contain the following:

  • One proposal that Republicans really like that will never in a million years happen
  • A proposal that ought to appeal to Democrats, though many Democrats will suspect it of being a trap
  • A surprise that no one was briefed about
  • Something completely random that will be forgotten as quickly as it’s brought up
  • Something I’ll initially like which turns out to be a real turkey
  • Laugh lines that fall flat
  • Mild enthusiasm from all

This being an economic crisis year, I’m also expecting:

  • Predictions of doom, followed by…
  • A pep talk about how awesome Connecticut is, and how we’re all in this together

Should be a good time.

Sources
WFSB. “Rell Prepares For State Of State Address.” WFSB.com 6 January, 2009.

Stuart, Christine. “Williams On Upcoming Budget Talks:
If It Costs Money, It’s ‘Dead On Arrival’
.” CT News Junkie 6 January, 2009.

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7 responses to “McKinney: Pass Budget by April

  1. Passing a budget early sounds good, but is it good to pass a budget before tax day on April 15? It’s one thing to do things early, but we should at least know how much revenue is coming in before we do it.

  2. Anyone who believes Donovan is naive at best. The labor movement finally has its guy running the House, and there’s no way they will allow him to not pay them back for helping to get his supermajority elected. Essentially, it’s the equivalent of having Jimmy Hoffa as Speaker of the House. God help us all.

  3. …it’s the equivalent of having Jimmy Hoffa as Speaker of the House.

    Naah – by most accounts, Jimmy Hoffa was a fairly intelligent, reasonable man.

  4. CTcentrist,……right down the middle of the line as always, staying right in the center. Always critical equally of the left as he is of the right.

  5. ……Always critical equally of the left as he is of the right.

    It only makes sense that a centrist would criticize the left more than the right in Conneticut. After all, Democrats have super majorities in both chambers of the legislature, hold all four constitutional offices, and liberals have a clear majority on the supreme court. Other than Rell (who I have spoken unkindly of at times here), who is there to criticize on the right? I have consistently been a proponent of a more balanced government, and it doesn’t matter to me who would be in control. Balance is essential to getting things accomplished, and the scales are tilted drastically to the left in CT.

  6. It only makes sense that a centrist would criticize the left .

    I always interpreted centrist as relative to the center of the US. Which makes you a right wing radical in Connecticut.

  7. famillionaire

    In addition to streamlining the two budget committees, Republicans have proposed eliminating the four Select Committees, which under current law cannot transmit legislation directly to the floor of the House or Senate, and consolidating six other committees into three. (Stuart)

    This is an interesting idea with a lot of merit, but I think it is one of those things that happen in government where once easily created (as these select committees were) it is extremely difficult to undo. But anyone who has spent any time at the Capitol can tell you, there are way too many tracks and fiefdoms, which oftentimes do not converge effectively. This leaves the Leadership and their staff with the onerous task of untangling this Christmas tree lights of paths into a clear agenda.

    As a result however, it would allow Williams and Donovan to much more effectively control messaging – hopefully benefiting them in their PR battle with Rell.

    But I don’t see it happening. First difficulty is it would mean firing staff that legislators have to see every day. But more importantly, it means there won’t be enough Committees to which Chairmanships are spread. Those Chairs amount to a large bag of political capital in Leadership’s pocket.

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