Monday, October 08, 2007

Rell Vetos the Pork Bill

Dear Secretary Bysiewicz:

I am returning to you without my signature Public Act 07-06 of the June 2007 Special Session, An Act Authorizing and Adjusting Bonds of the State for Capital Improvements and for Transportation Infrastructure Improvements and Concerning State Contracting Reform.

Public Act 07-06 was a well-intentioned effort by the General Assembly and contains many worthy components, including funding for clean water programs, school construction reimbursements and transportation projects. The total package, however, is simply unaffordable for the people of Connecticut.

Every time the state issues bonds to pay for a capital improvement project, we add to our debt. As a state, Connecticut is already deeply in debt. We have the third-highest bonded debt, per capita, of all of the states. And since the bonds we issue are repaid, with interest, over twenty or thirty years, this is long-term debt that ultimately will burden our children and grandchildren.

Over the last ten years, Connecticut’s spending habit has evolved into a troubling addiction. Ten years ago, our annual allocation of general obligation bonds was approximately $660 million. Last year bond allocations were almost $1.4 billion. Public Act 07-06 proposes bonding for the current fiscal year in the amount of $1.77 billion. We simply cannot continue to borrow money at this rate.

I have often compared state bonding to a credit card. We all know, as consumers, that we must be careful with our credit cards so that we do not borrow more than we can afford to pay back. As the state’s fiscal stewards, the General Assembly and I must be similarly prudent with our bond authorizations. In passing Public Act 07-06, the General Assembly has failed to exercise the level of prudence and fiscal responsibility that the taxpayers deserve and expect.
Public Act 07-06 not only sends the wrong message to our taxpayers, it sends the wrong message to the credit rating agencies that determine how much it will cost for us to borrow money. It continues the pattern of profligate spending that has developed over the last ten years and underscores an unwillingness to control borrowing. If spending continues at this level, not only will future generations be burdened with debt, our bond rating will be jeopardized and future borrowing will become much more expensive.

The time has come for the state of Connecticut to learn to live within its means. I am acutely aware that there are many necessary and beneficial capital improvement projects throughout the state that should be funded. I hope that the General Assembly will join with me in developing a bond package that contains funding for these necessary projects and maintains our debt at a responsible level.

Public Act 07-06 does not meet these criteria.

For all of the reasons stated above, therefore, I disapprove of Public Act 07-06 of the June 2007 Special Session.

Pursuant to Section 15 of Article Fourth of the Constitution of the State of Connecticut and Article III of the Amendments to the Constitution of the State of Connecticut, I am returning Public Act 07-06 without my signature.

Very truly yours,

M. Jodi Rell, Governor


Blogger mccommas said...

Madam: You have finally done something courageous that I agree with.

Now don’t buckle. Stand your ground.

October 08, 2007 2:43 PM  
Blogger Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

Not a bad blog John - good luck to you!

October 11, 2007 7:12 AM  
Blogger mccommas said...

We have not always seen eye to eye but thanks.

October 13, 2007 6:55 PM  

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