No one in Connecticut politics became more irrelevant than Governor Dannel Malloy did yesterday. Suffering a smack down by Moody’s Investor Service and his feeble attempt at relevancy by proposing a fourth budget (one outright rejected by BOTH parties) the weakened chief executive was not just lame, but had his feathers plucked as well. There is an unsubstantiated rumor going around that Merriam-Webster is trying to decide which pixelated portrait of Malloy they will use to illustrate the term “lame-duck” in their next dictionary. Shortly after Malloy made his fourth budget available to the public, Moodys sent out the following warning to lawmakers.
Moody’s Investors Service, (“Moody’s”) has placed ratings of 26 Connecticut cities/towns and 3 Connecticut regional school districts under review for downgrade, affecting approximately $3.5 billion in outstanding debt. Moody’s has also assigned negative outlooks to ratings of an additional 25 Connecticut cities/towns and 3 regional school districts and maintains the existing negative outlook on the rating of 1 town, affecting approximately $3.45 billion in additional outstanding debt.
For anyone counting that is nearly $7 billion dollars of debt that just cost a third of the towns in the state more money. That’s on top of the additional costs Malloy wants to rain down on municipalities statewide.
The old adage goes, ” Negotiate from a position of stength.” This news put the GOP negotiators in a much more strengthened position. They were able to pass a budget by getting eight legislators to jump the aisle. It must be difficult to not to merely slide the passed budget back over to Senate President Pro Temper Martin Looney and House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz and say give us the votes to override the veto. As this point, no reasonable person would think the GOP should be compromising on anything.
A number of democrat representatives are vulnerable in the next election. But none more than Speaker Aresimowicz who for some reason was not available for yesterday’s press conference around 3:00 pm after the negotiating members provided an update on the talks. On the day a ratings agency just excortiated fifty plus borrowing agencies, Aresimowicz’ absence provided an optic that the dominoes are falling one by one. One has to wonder how many democrat legislators are ducking questions from fellow municipal, party members running for re-elction. Never in recent memory have state issues become the overriding theme of municipal elections as they have in this cycle. From mayors, selectmen to candidates for Boards of Education and Finance are getting railed by voters on the budget mess.
But ultimately Malloy has become toxic. He has no teeth left to bully legislators to go his way. In a tone deaf response to the ratings review Malloy spokesman Chris McLure stated after the news broke,
“This warning by Moody’s is yet another clarion call that we need an adopted budget and we need it now, We cannot continue to pretend that inaction is inconsequential.”
Inaction? The only action people across the state have seen comes form Malloy who vetoed a budget that did not raise taxes nor make the cuts and increased costs foisted upon towns without any opportunity to plan for them.
The governor is right we need a budget now. We needed it six months ago but arrogance and hubris have led us to this dark place. Malloy was provided a budget, but because he refuses to accept the fact he is now nothing more than the naked emperor his fiefdom will pay. Governor Malloy, even your own party are starting to notice you wear no clothes.