Voters havenâ€™t even cast their ballots in this yearâ€™s municipal election but a wide array of state politicians are already lining up for next yearâ€™s gubernatorial contest. Mayors from every corner of the state are vying for attention, while legislative leaders and, perhaps, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman may throw their proverbial hats into the ring.
That race, of course, will sort itself out over time but weâ€™d like to call your attention elsewhere - that is to the men and women of the General Assembly - specifically those who allowed our state to go for months without a budget.
Last week, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy finally approved a two-year, $40.2 billion budget to end a stalemate that forced the state to operate without a spending plan for 123 days.
Lawmakers wrestled for months over how to close a sizeable deficit, leavings schools dangling and some social service programs empty-handed. But weâ€™re not so much concerned with the final package as the process that it took to get it there.
For months last spring, when the Legislature was in session, negotiations were - as usual - carried on in secret. The so-called â€śrank and fileâ€ť - those who directly represent most of us - were kept in the dark about what the leadership was planning. And, when it was finally unveiled, members had less than a day to study it and determine whether it hurt or helped their constituents. Us.
Thatâ€™s why weâ€™re recommending that, in the coming months, when legislative candidates ask for our vote, we challenge them to tell us how a similar budget crisis can be avoided. Will they demand more openness early on? Will they pledge to work across the aisle? And, if they canâ€™t, letâ€™s seek out new leadership.