Boucher: Failure to override vetoes was partisan

State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) said in a press release she is disappointed partisan politics prevented the override of Gov. Malloy’s vetoes of multiple pieces of legislation that originally passed both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support. She said the governor’s vetoes slow down the state’s efforts to improve fiscal stability and progression toward an improved economy.

“Considering the bipartisan efforts to negotiate these bills and the tremendous support when the measures came to a vote, I cannot understand why my colleagues across the aisle would sit on their hands and allow Gov. Malloy to continue to cause financial distress and weaken oversight of state agencies,” she said. “The legislature did the right thing when it passed these bills. We should have continued to do the right thing and put the future of Connecticut ahead of partisan politics.”

Boucher offers her thoughts on why the veto overrides were necessary and why, on one bill, she voted to uphold the veto because she believes improvements to the legislation surrounding classroom safety are needed.

SB 188 — An Act Establishing the State Oversight Council on Children and Families

“We have seen too many tragic examples of the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) failure to protect our state’s most vulnerable children. Too many children have died because DCF failed to conduct the proper background checks, failed to follow up on children’s well-being, or simply ignored what was right before their eyes. Oversight of this agency is desperately needed. In not overriding the governor’s veto, the state has failed these children once again.”

SB 528 — An Act Concerning State Contract Assistance Provided to Certain Municipalities

“The serious financial situation that the City of Hartford has created for itself by overspending and overcommitting money it does not have should find resolution in bankruptcy court so that its obligations can be restructured. Detroit did just that and is now on rebound. Instead, the governor gave the city a bailout using taxpayers’ money. The bill that the governor vetoed was an attempt to rectify this. Without this fix, I believe that the bipartisan compromise budget would not have had very many votes on the Republican side of the aisle. There was an understanding that if the legislature would help the city, it would be for a short time. After the budget passed, the administration made a different deal, a multi-decade deal that shocked everyone. This is inconceivable to us. If legislators had known that the governor would unilaterally give the city a taxpayer handout that could last 20 years or more, Republicans and many Democrats would not have compromised and would have voted no. The taxpayers cannot afford it and future generations cannot afford it. They cannot afford the governor’s expensive union contract that passed on a straight party line vote just before the budget vote.

“The governor was wrong to veto a bill that originally passed overwhelmingly. But it is even more disappointing that Democrat legislators did not have the will to do the right thing in overturning the veto on a bill that should have been enacted if we are going to see movement toward fiscal responsibility in our state.  

SB 261 — An Act Extending the Manufacturing Apprenticeship Tax Credit to Pass-through Entities

“Connecticut must support legislation that helps businesses grow, thrive and create jobs. This legislation offered a tax credit to boost investment in manufacturing and job training. But apparently, reducing taxes in any form for any reason is anathema to this administration.

“The last eight years have made Connecticut one of the worst states in the country to do business. This legislation would have been a step toward reversing that trend. The fact that my colleagues would let it die is more than disappointing.”

HB 5171 — An Act Prohibiting the Executive Branch from Making Rescissions or Other Reductions to the Education Cost Sharing Grant During the Fiscal Year.

“Before Gov. Malloy, no one would have imagined that an administration would make dramatic reductions to school funding during the school year. Knowing how much funding a school system will receive is vital to our children’s education. To have a governor arbitrarily decide in the middle of the year that funding from one community must be decreased so it can be given to another usurps legislative authority. It also sends us back to the old days of picking winners and losers in education. We have a real funding formula that uses sound information to determine school funding. Once that funding is approved by the legislature, no administration should be able to change it.”

SB 453 — An Act Concerning Classroom Safety and Disruptive Behavior

On the veto Sen. Boucher voted to uphold, she said:

“We worked hard in the Education Committee this year to address the serious issue of teachers and students facing physical attacks in the classroom and the disruption of the learning environment. I believe the vetoed bill had many necessary measures that would improve safety. Some teachers have told us that the problems they now confront in the classroom have them leaving the profession and parents seeking alternative school settings. In discussing the bill with superintendents, school boards and special education parents, I found that there are concerns that still need to be worked out. In the end, I voted to sustain the veto with the assurance that this bill will be taken up again very soon. I am committed to making sure we do more to protect our teachers and students from physical harm in the classroom. I am reassured by Education Commissioner Wentzel's response to my many questions that we have the same goal of creating workable legislation to create a safer classroom environment. She has committed in writing to convening a working group in the near future to address these issues and I look forward to working with her in moving this essential legislation forward.”

Boucher represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.