Today’s State of the State address from Governor Dannel Malloy may reveal the first hints of the policy agenda at the state capitol for 2017.
With narrow partisan margins in both the House and Senate, and a looming budget deficit, there is reason to expect a slow moving or even paralyzed process. There are only hard choices to be made this year as Connecticut faces potential budget shortfalls - over the next two years - of $3 billion or more.
Governor Malloy has three basic choices from a leadership perspective. He can put his best budget proposal on the table and then leave hard decisions in the hands of the legislature. He can propose a traditional Democratic policy approach and hope the Democratic leadership can secure the votes to pass it. Finally, he can take a more conservative approach to the state’s budget challenges in the hope he can force moderates on both sides of the aisle to come together to form a bi-partisan majority.
As is always the case, there are many options in between. Today’s speech will only give hints of what is to come, because Malloy is not due to unveil his specific budget proposals until next month.
It does seem clear that the results of the recent legislative elections, and disappointment in the business community over decisions made during the last two sessions of the legislature, are still having an impact on the tone of the debate and policy priorities. The legislature remains extremely sensitive about moving forward on any issue that might be perceived as having a negative effect on the state’s economy or business climate.
More Preview Analysis:
Is Connecticut Broken - Hartford Courant
What to Know - CT Mirror
Unscripted 2017 - CT News Junkie