By Dan Lovallo
Is Connecticut Senate Republican President Len Fasano correct to say Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is purposefully inflating the budget deficit to reinsert himself into state budget talks? The senator maybe onto something.
The governor, for the first time, was shutout out of budget talks by his own Democratic Party and Republicans, during legislative negotiations. Under state law, if the projected budget deficit is one percent of the state budget, the governor can submit a budget amendment. In other words, it puts the governor back in the game.
Sen. Fasano has accused the governor of purposely including items in the budget, already covered “to trigger the need for a formal deficit mitigation plan, a process that gives him the power to issue his own plan for the budget and make himself relevant.” Sen. Fasano suggested that Malloy inserted phantom costs from the “Juan F” case and the Rowland union settlement, without checking with the Attorney General’s office.
In talking with the attorney general’s office on Tuesday, I was told there has been no recent communication between the governor’s budget office and the AG’s office. A call to the governor’s budget office has not been returned. Another source found it curious that throughout his tenure, Gov. Malloy has always downplayed dire deficit projections, but now all of a sudden is playing up this particular projection.
The evidence would seem to point toward Sen. Fasano’s speculation that a lame-duck governor is attempting to become relevant.