The Democratic primary in the 5th District is just a week away, and all of a sudden there's a lot of interest in the state budget negotiations from 2009-when both Chris Donovan and Elizabeth Esty were serving in Hartford.
I was there, serving on the Appropriations Committee, so I wanted to share what really happened.
After Wall Street crashed the economy, we faced a big budget deficit.1 Governor Rell proposed deep cuts. But Democrats in the General Assembly came up with a better idea-we made smart cuts, but we also made sure to protect critical health and education programs by raising taxes on corporations and the wealthiest taxpayers.2
Our budget had the overwhelming support of Democrats in the General Assembly, but a small group of Democrats-including Elizabeth Esty-came up with a Republican-like budget that asked less of the wealthy and made deep cuts to health care and education funding.3
In the end, I voted with Chris Donovan and 89 other Democrats in the House to pass our progressive budget. Elizabeth Esty joined 13 Democrats and every Republican in voting against it.4
Those are the facts. If Elizabeth Esty and her allies want to argue that their plan was better-that making $146 million in cuts to Medicaid and HUSKY Health, and $54 million in cuts to education funding, so that the rich could pay lower taxes, was the right thing to do-they're free to do that.
I think they're wrong. But they're entitled to their own opinions.
What they're not entitled to is their own facts. And the fact is, Chris Donovan's leadership was crucial in passing a budget that protected the programs working families rely on. It's a big part of why I'm supporting him.
1. "Deficit Dilemma: CT Facing $343 Million Shortfall," NBC Connecticut, January 5, 2009
2. "Synopsis of the Democratic Alternative Budget Plan," Office of Fiscal Analysis, August 7, 2009
3. "Text of August 19, 2009 OFA Analysis of Democratic Alternative Budget," Office of Fiscal Analysis, July 27, 2012
4. "SB 1801-Biennium Budget Bill-Voting Record," Project Vote Smart, June 26, 2009