This evening brand new Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy announced tomorrow he will unveil his very first bond agenda, which the bi-partisan Bond Commission will be asked to approve on January 27.
Malloy said the unidentified 34 projects he, as chairman, wants commissioners to borrow money for will create/save 6,600 jobs.
But actually the agenda is online tonight at the Office of Policy and Management website. Just click on “January, 27.”
Back on the list? The $81.6 million for additional new train cars that caused some problems for Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s final bond agenda in December.
Related debt payments are part of the $3.5 billion total state deficit the governor will be tackling in his first two year budget, due in mid-February.
Malloy in today’s announcement said, “I have been very clear that borrowing money for operating expenses is not something I think is a good idea. But using our bonding authority to make smart, strategic choices to help create jobs and invest in Connecticut’s physical and technological infrastructure is a really good idea. It’s exactly what we need to do to get our state back on track once again.”
He made a similar argument back in November, when as Governor-Elect Malloy appeared on Channel 3′s “Face the State” program.
And Rell, despite her continued statements cautioning against increasing the debt, also in recent years argued there was a need to move forward with certain projects to boost employment during the recession.
Of course, one person’s stimulus is another’s idea of pork.
Earlier today I asked two lawmakers who have worried about Connecticut’s growing debt – Senator Minority Leader Pro Tempore Len Fasano, R-East Haven and Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford – about Malloy’s philosophy on borrowing.
Fasano, a land acquisition and zoning attorney, said he agrees that now is the time to invest in construction because of the prices.
“The cost has gone way down,” he said. But, Fasano said, if Malloy wants to prioritize certain areas – the governor has talked about the importance of transportation infrastructure – he’s “got to sideline other projects.”
Slossberg said states that do not maintain their infrastructure and their ability to attract new businesses and keep existing companies risk falling behind.
“I can’t tell you whether (Malloy’s first bond agenda) is good or bad because I haven’t seen the list,” Slossberg said. “I’m cautiously optimistic.”