Connecticut is without a budget. The legislature did not pass one before the 2017-19 biennium got underway July 1. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will unilaterally control the state’s finances via executive order until a budget is in place.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, has weighed in on the situation. “Any time you have a bipartisan budget, that would be a good thing for … Connecticut, but one way or another, we have to get a budget and we have to get 19 votes to pass something in the Senate,” he told reporters during a July 5 event in New Haven. “So, it is important for us, as Democrats and Republicans, to come together if we possibly can.”
Connecticut certainly needs a budget. However, if he is to help bring to fruition one that will tangibly benefit the state, Sen. Duff will have to engage in serious soul searching. Since becoming majority leader, he consistently has exhibited cluelessness and partisan pettiness.
Sen. Duff assumed his leadership role in 2015. That year and the next, the (then) Democratic-dominated legislature and Democratic Gov. Malloy adopted budgets that epitomize all that is wrong with Connecticut government. We addressed them in detail in previous editorials. The deficits and resulting drain on the rainy day fund speak for themselves.
Sen. Duff was a consistent cheerleader for these budgets. If he wants to give Connecticut residents and business people a budget that will get the job done for them, he and his caucus have to adopt completely different policy mindsets.
In a March 1 op-ed column for Hearst Connecticut Media Group, he suggested Republicans haven’t voted for budgets in recent years simply to spite Gov. Malloy – never mind that the GOP held the same budget position during the final years of the tenure of Gov. Malloy’s Republican predecessor M. Jodi Rell. Sen. Duff also claimed Republican senators on the legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee killed a minimum-wage bill in February to curry favor with the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, even though there are legitimate grounds for opposing minimum-wage increases.
With these rants, Sen. Duff looks more like an overgrown child than a mature, cool decision maker.
Hardly anyone will argue Gov. Malloy having sole control of Connecticut’s finances is good for the state. However, Sen. Duff’s modus operandi is not conducive to a favorable resolution. What the senator works for, and how he conducts himself, in the coming weeks will speak volumes about what kind of leader he is.