Residents Spar With Malloy Over Budget


It was standing room only and then some.

In a tightly packed room meant to only hold 150 people, Waterbury area residents gathered to listen and share their thoughts with Connecticut’s newly elected Governor. The new Veterans Hall within renovated City Hall hosted Dannel Malloy’s 4th Town Hall Meeting in just over two weeks. Malloy unveiled a two year proposal to close Connecticut’s massive $3+ billion deficit with hopes for $1 B in government employee concessions and taxes on virtually everything.

People began gathering at 5 pm according to some attendees, and at 6:30 the Veterans Hall was full. On the opposite end of City Hall, a video screen was set up in Aldermanic Chambers for another 100. Rumors were that the Mayor Jarjura tried to get the forum moved to Kennedy High School before tonight’s meeting but the Governor’s staff insisted on City Hall. Dozens in the hallway were shut out of the forum, unable to hear after fire marshalls ordered the doors closed to the main room after Malloy began speaking at 7:05. The event ran until just after 8. Most of those in line were able to get their point or question into the Governor, however.

Emotions ran hot, though often jovial. City resident Art Denze criticized Malloy’s tax hikes which led into how the state got into its deficit. Malloy referred to a deal Rowland made with state bargaining units good until 2017. “You probaly voted for him,” Malloy said to Denze. “I voted for a few people that went to jail,” replied Denze as the room erupted into laughter with the tough Waterbury spirit.

One Corrections Union representative pressed Malloy on a package of structural changes her workers recomended to Gov. Rell in the past. “Have you recieved our package? We’re trying to help, but feel like we’re not being heard” Malloy went into a rant on not wanting to cut police, fire or teachers. Those fields often come up as the worst kind of cuts the Governor could possibly make. “But that’s not my question” she pressed. Finally on her third plea, the governor said he would consider them strongly.

The mood overall was against the Governor’s budget – by taxpayers and state employees alike. Speculation also abounded on why the Governor proposed his solutions the way he did. Why not lower taxes? Why not layoffs? How will businesses cope? And the oft asked question: where will I move to?

Others asked why their programs were not being addressed. One charter school proponent noted that plans are in place for 8,500 student slots in magnet schools. “But there’s zero funding for Charter Schools”. Charter schools are essentially publicly funded schools run by a semi-private board of directors. Many have particular themes. Malloy responded that two Charter schools began in Stamford while he was mayor and it was largely up to the legislature to take care of her proposal.

Continue reading at CT News Junkie for more on the forum.

For the Governor, 4 down – 13 more forums to go.

Didn’t make it? The Governor will be in Bristol on March 14th as well as other nearby towns:

BRISTOL
March 14, 7-8 PM
City Council Chambers
111 North Main Street

MERIDEN
March 15
Time & Location TBD

NEW BRITAIN
April 5
Time & Location TBD

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