Democrats say the legislature’s Republican leaders have failed to offer a constructive budget proposal.
Republicans say Democrats are trying to distract the public from the fact that their numbers don’t add up.
And both sides are accusing the other of “playing politics.”
On Thursday, officials with the state Democratic party came to the Capitol. (They had planned to deliver chicken wings to GOP leaders, but their publicity stunt was rebuffed by Capitol police.)
Democrats have been hitting John McKinney, the Republican leader in the state Senate, and Larry Cafero, his counterpart in the House of Representatives, for several weeks now. Democrats say McKinney and Cafero, both of whom are considering runs for governor, are shirking their responsibilities by criticizing the legislature’s Democratic majority and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy yet not offering any budget proposals of their own.
“It is deeply disappointing that the Republican leaders are choosing to play politics rather than offer a constructive budget proposal,” Senate President Donald Williams said in a statement issued Thursday. “In order to address tough problems we need real solutions from Republicans and Democrats. Unfortunately, the Republicans have opted out of being part of the solution. The Republicans are ducking their responsibilities – they want to criticize but refuse to offer an alternative.”
Republicans reject the Democratic attacks, saying they are just a desperate attempt to deflect attention from the majority party’s flawed budgetary proposals.
“What the Democrats are trying to do now is deflect attention away from the very bad choices they’ve made in their budget,” McKinney said. Those “bad choices” include cuts to hospitals and college scholarship programs, among other proposals, McKInney said.
Cafero said Democrats are “just trying to bait us because they’re looking for a diversion.”
Republicans have come up with an alternative budget proposals since 2006 but they have yet to do so this year. McKinney said Thursday afternoon he has never said “we as Republicans wouldn’t offer a budget.” But, he added, given the tone of the Democrats’ rhetoric, “I don’t need to show [them] what I’m working on at this point.”
Cafero said Democrats generally show little interest in his budget ideas. “This is the first time where they’ve ever paid any interest in any budget proposal the Republicans have put forward,” he said.