The House will go through the motions today and approve the Democrats’ budget, which will then go to the governor. If you don’t think a swift veto, accompanied by a finger-wagging veto message, isn’t on its way, then take a look at how the governor responded to the Senate’s passage of the budget last night:
“The Democrats’ budget goes in precisely the wrong direction at precisely the wrong time. It is neither balanced nor remotely realistic … It contains so many holes — together with unachievable spending cuts — that new and higher taxes would be needed each and every year for years to come.”
Therefore, we wait for the House to take action today, and then tearfully send their little budget to its certain doom. Ken Dixon compares it to the Titanic, which is pretty apt except for the fact that, unlike that ill-fated vessel, no one ever had the slightest illusion that this thing would float.
Meaning, of course, that the votes last night and today are about sending a message and establishing political principles, rather than passing an actual budget. It’s a negotiating tactic. The hope is that the governor will now sit down at the table and negotiate some middle way between the cut-heavy budget she proposed and the tax-heavy budget supported by the Democrats. There is no guarantee that will happen, but that’s what the Democrats’ leaders seem to hope.
Still, it’s better than the Democrats’ lack of action up to and following the end of the regular session. Their leadership found plenty of time to criticize the governor’s stingy budget proposal, but only seemed to get serious about the budget they’re passing now in the past few weeks.
Williams and the Senate Democrats
The Senate vote tells us some things about the Senate, mainly that the fiscally conservative Democrats are feeling more comfortable voting against Don Williams and the majority. I wonder if they’ll all lose their parking spaces, and have to hoof it from the Morgan St. Garage for their insolence? They don’t seem too concerned. If the rumors of a putsch against Don Williams are true, he won’t want to alienate them any further.
The numbers are telling. Williams avoided disaster by only a single vote–if another Democrat had jumped the fence, there wouldn’t have been enough votes to pass the budget. That vote seems to have been Sen. Andrew McDonald, who initially was not thrilled by the progressive income tax proposal, which he said would hurt middle class families in his Stamford-area district.
However, a slew of education cash for Stamford later, McDonald ended up voting for it. Sen. Toni Harp denies that McDonald’s vote was bought, but it’s hard not to draw that conclusion.
If so, that’s a desperation move by a leadership that could be on its last legs.