Gov. Malloy on Target with Focus on Economy, Fiscal Responsibility
Governor Dannel Malloy says although we face a crossroads of crisis and opportunity in the state, our “best days are ahead” if “we reach deep, rally hard” and commit to “shared sacrifice with a purpose.”
Speaking at his inauguration and later before the full legislature, Gov. Malloy said he would work to “restore economic vitality, create jobs and return Connecticut to fiscal responsibility.”
Fueling the state’s crisis, he said, is “an unfriendly employer environment, a lack of educational resources, a deteriorating transportation system, and an enormous budget crisis of historic proportions. All coddled by a habit of political sugarcoating that has passed our problems onto the next generation.”
The governor will present his first budget proposal next month and indicated it would include “reducing the size of government, from the size of my office, to the number of state agencies. And not just cutting for cutting sake, but re-conceiving government so that better decisions are made and implemented faster.”
CBIA believes that Gov. Malloy laid out a vision for the legislative session that sets the right priorities for the state. By focusing on economic growth, creating a more employer-friendly climate, and reforming state government to make it more efficient and affordable, the state can attack its fiscal crisis and create an environment more conducive to investment and job creation.
The new governor spoke at length about reigniting Connecticut’s can-do, entrepreneurial spirit and removing barriers to job creation and economic development. Among those barriers, he said, are high energy and healthcare costs, and a burdensome regulatory system.
“We will put in place an economic development strategy that makes sense for the 21st century economy, aggressively competing with other states and nations for lucrative biotech, nanotech, fuel cell technology and stem cell research jobs.”
His administration will “adopt a responsible tell-it-like-it-is approach to balancing and managing our budget.” To that end, Gov. Malloy signed his first executive order, beginning the process of keeping the state’s books under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Under this more transparent system, the state’s budget deficit is expected to rise dramatically, from the current estimate of $3.7 billion to about $5 billion.
Earlier in the day, Nancy Wyman was sworn-in as lieutenant governor, as were state legislators. During the governor’s inauguration ceremonies, also sworn in were state Treasurer Denise Nappier, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Comptroller Kevin Lembo and Attorney General George Jepsen.
Gov. Malloy takes over the reins of state government at a time of a severe fiscal crisis and still-struggling economy. CBIA urges the governor to make Connecticut’s economic recovery his administration’s overall priority. Working with employers to solve problems and accomplish regulatory goals will unlock good ideas and improve business confidence in our state.
More than 30 new state legislators are serving in the legislature this year, and numerous open seats—created by lawmakers who have left, most of them for positions in the new administration—will be filled by special elections this winter.
Six of the open seats were held by lawmakers who were committee co-chairs in the previous legislature.
Special elections must now be held to fill the seats of:
• Sen. Andrew McDonald (D-Stamford), previously co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, who is becoming the governor’s chief legal counsel
• Sen. Don DeFronzo (D-New Britain), previously co-chair of the Transportation Committee, who will become commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services.
• Sen. Tom Gaffey (D-Meriden), co-chair of the Education Committee, who resigned his seat this week
• Rep. Christopher Caruso (D-Bridgeport), who will become an urban policy advisor in the Department of Economic and Community Development
• Rep. John Geragosian (D-New Britain), previously co-chair of the Appropriations Committee, nominated to be state auditor.
• Rep. Deborah Heinrich (D-Madison), named by Malloy to head a new Community Nonprofit Human Services Cabinet
• Rep. Michael Lawlor (D-East Haven), previously co-chair of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, now undersecretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning in the Office of Policy and Management.
• Rep. David McCluskey (D-West Hartford), tapped by Malloy to serve on the state’s Board of Pardons and Parole.
• Rep. Jamie Spallone (D-Essex), previously co-chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee (GAE), is deputy secretary of the state.
Democrats reelected Sen. Don Williams (D-Brooklyn) as senate president pro tem, and Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven) as majority leader. In the House, Rep. Chris Donovan (D-Meriden) was reelected speaker and Rep. Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) was elected the new majority leader, replacing Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. Republicans reelected Rep. Larry Cafero (R-Norwalk) as House minority leader, and the Senate minority leader is again be Sen. John McKinney (R-Southport).
The 2011 session will run no later than midnight on Wednesday, June 8. Lawmakers’ main order of business over those five months will be to create a new, two-year state budget; if that is not accomplished by June 8, summertime special sessions are likely.
Dave Conrad is a CBIA writer/editor. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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