When policy and management secretaries attack

Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes – the state’s budget czar – is out with a scathing rebuttal to the GOP’s alternative state budget plan.

You can read it below.


Barnes, who has had a long professional relationship with Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy, is proving to be far more combative in his role than mild-mannered predecessor Robert “Bob” Genuario.


Remember last month when Barnes dressed down a major credit agency for downgrading the state’s rating?

Genuario worked for Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell and is now a judge in Stamford. Sure he’d come to her defense. But it was not unusual during an interview for Genuario to make a comment critical of legislative Democrats, only to seconds later decide he didn’t want it publicized or wanted to choose his words more carefully. He wasn’t keen on playing the partisan attack dog.

Barnes clearly doesn’t mind getting down and dirty.

-Angry Genuario

-Angry Barnes

Here’s Barnes’ statement on the GOP proposal:

“For 16 years under Republican governors, Rep. Cafero and Sen. McKinney held exactly zero press conferences to highlight the financial games the governors from their party were playing.  Zero.  If they’d spoken up then, they’d have more credibility now. 

Governor Malloy has spent his first 13 months in office trying to clean up the mess from those 16 years, and he has made substantial progress.  But the hole they dug was deep, so there’s more cleaning up to do.  And this Administration is committed to doing it.

Every budget submitted over the decade before Governor Malloy took office showed deficits in the out-years.  For reasons only the Republican leadership can explain, Governor Malloy is being held to a higher standard than his predecessors.  We appreciate Senator McKinney’s confidence.

The 5.7% growth rate cited by Senator McKinney is for growth in our tax base, not overall economic growth.  Economic growth in Connecticut’s tax base is always greater than growth in the overall economy when the economy is growing, and lower than the overall economy during downturns.  For instance, in 2009 our tax base shrunk by 11%, according to the date data provided today by the Republicans.  If our economy had shrunk that much we would have 30% unemployment.  Sen. McKinney and Rep. Cafero have been around a long time.  They should know better.

The Governor’s budgets have average growth that is 10% lower than the spending under Governor Rell and almost 20% lower than under Rowland.  Our growth projections are 3.8%, compared to 4.5% and 4.8% respectively under the two previous Republican Administrations. 

The Republicans are constantly looking for ways to say Connecticut isn’t doing well. They should instead note how much we’ve accomplished in little more than a year and so help make us more attractive to people and businesses from elsewhere.

The budget is under the spending cap because of almost $120 million in cuts.  If the Republicans have other specific cuts they wish to offer, they should communicate those to us and to the Appropriations Committee. They can start with identifying cuts to pay for the new spending they propose.”

Categories: General
Brian Lockhart

7 Responses

  1. Liberty says:

    LOL, We are stuck with a “state’s budget czar” who is so experienced he doesn’t know how state government works. Hey Ben, go back to school, in the 4th grade you find out the Legislature (in our state that’s called the General Assembly)makes the budget. There has been a veto-proof majority for years. That means ALL the blame for the “deep hole” belongs to, THE DEMOCRATS!!!!! Ben, grow up and stop reading the WH Press briefings, they can’t figure out how to cut a budget either. Read the bills passed in our (can you say it now? General Assembly), it’s fascinating how a bill to cut a tax for businesses is so loaded with millions to UCONN, unfunded mandates and construction costs, that they have crippled manufacturing. Thanks Governor Malloy, you have saddled us (not with a RINO, that’s a Republican in Name Only), but with a dumba–!

  2. BobDog says:

    If we take Barnes at his word, then because someone else did it, it is okay for him and Malloy to do it?

    Malloy and his team were elected to lead. Lead or quit.

    May I also remind Barnes the Democrats have been in LARGE LARGE majorities in both houses for Decades.

    Barnes, lead or quit. Any jerk can complain and blame, and most jerks do.

  3. Phil Smith says:

    Ben Barnes uninformed comments are further evidence that the Malloy administration is stuck in camapign mode with no idea of how to actually govern.

  4. David M. Cooper says:

    Ben Barnes talks about the Rell mess he has to clean up, but what about the mess him and Dannell left in Stamford? He was on the Board of the WPCA and look how that mess is causing to the residents of Stamford. Ben Barnes blaming Rell, who had to deal with a Democratic Majority, is like the”pot calling the kettle black”.

  5. Rusty says:

    Hey Ben:

    Next you will be blaming George Bush for the problems in the state.

    You are responsible for the largest tax increase in state history and you still can’t balance a budget. So who has no credibility? You and your boss continue to spend what we don’t have on earned income tax credits which is just wealth distribution, state college tuition for illegals, bus routes to no where, phony union savings and giveaways to corporations in a desperate attempt to bring in jobs because no business will come here with the current tax structure.

    Look in the mirror Ben, you might not like what you see!

  6. Ken Langley says:

    Ben Barnes needs to grow up and get his facts correct. Most (although not all) of the fiscal gimmicks he complains about were engineered by the same legislative democrats that he now calls his friends.

    As for his lame attack on Moody’s, what can you say about that except “the truth hurts”.

    For someone who walked away from one mess in Stamford and another at the Bridgeport Board of Education, Barnes has an awfully big, and irresponsibile, mouth.

  7. Beth Anne says:

    He went to Swarthmore. They don’t fool around at that school.