Connecticut State Comptroller Kevin Lembo sides with Republicans in the General Assembly, who say lawmakers should vote on the latest pension deal reached between state union leaders and the Malloy administration. Part of the deal changes the amount of money the state budget will contribute to the pension fund, avoiding massive balloon payments. Republicans argue the deal only “kicks the can down the road” and that the legislature should vote on the plan.
In Connecticut the governor and union leaders negotiate contracts and pensions, but it is up to the legislature to approve the deals. If no vote is taken within 30 days, the deal becomes law. For years, the Democratic-controlled legislature has refused to bring the contracts and pensions up for a vote, fearing voter backlash.
Once again GOP leaders have called for a vote on the pension deal. Now Lembo, a Democrat, is siding with the Republicans, but with a proviso. In an op-ed piece in Sunday’s Hartford Courant, Lembo writes of Republicans:
…they believe every legislator should vote on this agreement. I agree.
And should Sen. Fasano (Senate Republican President) and Rep. Klarides (House Minority Leader) have that opportunity to vote, I look forward to seeing whether they stand by their opposition and, in doing so, vote for the greatest tax increase in Connecticut’s history – because that’s what it would take to pay a $6 billion pension payment in a single year if the agreement fails.
Lembo also wrote Connecticut’s pension liability is effecting other budget priorities.