It was all talk before, now its been officially vetoed. The bond package that the Democratic majority sent to Rell has been vetoed by the Governor. The war of words can be summed up; Rell says state credit card is maxed out, the reality is that the bonding package is only a spending wish list, that ultimately Rell controls.
Rell has complained that local officials do not understand that the bond package is a “wish list” of projects, some of which never will be funded. She wants the package to reflect real spending priorities, which would shift pressure for local projects from her to legislators.
Legislators say Rell is vetoing necessary investments in infrastructure because she is tired of telling local officials why she won’t endorse their projects.
“The governor has constructed this crisis,” Amann said in a statement. “No bonding takes place without the governor’s approval, so she is the only person responsible for running up the citizens’ credit card.”
In her veto message, Rell said the bonding package was “a well-intentioned effort by the General Assembly and contains many worthy components, including funding for clean water programs, school construction reimbursements and transportation projects. The total package, however, is simply unfordable for the people of Connecticut.”
In a press statement, Rell said: “Connecticut has the third-highest bonded debt, per capita, of all states. Connecticut already owes $14.5 billion from past borrowing and 11 cents of every state budget dollar pays for principal and interest on that debt.”
The real intrigue will be over the test of the Democratic super majorities. It looks like Amann has the votes for an over ride, but in the state senate garnering the 24 votes looks more difficult. Mark Pazniokas writes:
For now, Rell has the upper hand, thanks to the defection of Sen. Joan V. Hartley of Waterbury, a fiscal conservative described Saturday by Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, as the only Democratic senator unwilling to override Rell’s veto.
House Speaker James A. Amann, D-Milford, said he has 101 votes for an override, but that will not be tested unless Williams first gathers 24 votes. An override must start in the Senate because the bonding package is a Senate bill.
Williams said Democrats are likely to draft and pass a new bonding package rather than attempt an override.
Hartley said Saturday night she would support the bond package if the revised version was stripped of loosely written language that commits the state to spending more than $1 billion on the Connecticut State University system over the next 10 years with little oversight.
“This ought to be a stand-alone bill” reviewed in detail by several legislative committees, Hartley said. As written, she said, “It is a blank check.”
Digging into Rell’s claims that the bonding package will ruin Connecticut’s bond ratings, Pazniokas concludes:
In a recent article in the financial trade paper The Bond Buyer, the bond rating agencies all but dismissed Rell’s concern that the $3.2 billion general-obligation package would harm Connecticut’s favorable credit rating, noting the state’s high per-capita wealth and the rapid rate at which it pays off its bonds.