As a former member of the legislature, I understand the legislative process as well as anyone. The rules for the legislature can be confusing, archaic, and downright strange.
So I understand when our legislative body gets side tracked once in a while on an issue or issues. Sometimes the legislative process just drives the General Assembly into a ditch.
But the actions– or rather the inaction, of our deliberative body in Hartford this session is breathtaking.
Let’s make no mistake, the State of Connecticut is facing an absolute financial Armageddon. The $500 million dollar deficit facing Connecticut this fiscal year will be replaced by an almost $8 billion dollar deficit in the next two year budget.
So what is our General Assembly doing? Restructuring government? Nah. Cutting spending? No way. Rethinking the future of government in Connecticut? Nope.
They have spent the better part of the last month arguing about another job killing mandate for small and medium size businesses– paid sick days for part-time employees, and debating whether or not your local package store should be open on Sundays. Good grief.
So whose to blame? Well in fairness, it is up to the legislative leadership to set the agenda of the General Assembly.
Recently, 15 moderate Democratic legislators wrote to their leadership asking that the deficit become the number one priority for the legislative leadership–good for them.
The clock is ticking, fixing the deficit should be the first and the last priority on the legislative agenda.
The State of Connecticut’s financial woes will have a profound impact on our local municipalities and their residents. The sooner that we begin tackling our financial problems the better.
The State Legislature has always been sort of a jumbled group of people and of interests. In good financial times, it has been amusing to watch a lawmaker advocate for a bill that would rename a highway, or declare some animal the state mammal.
But our moment has arrived. The next eighteen months will be critical to the future of our state.
It’s time to put aside everything else and clean up our mess..