HARTFORD, Conn. — Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday officially vetoed the Republican-backed state budget that was narrowly approved by lawmakers, calling it unbalanced, unsustainable and unwise.
The governor had promised the veto since the $40.7 billion two-year package was passed Sept. 16 with the help of several defections by legislative Democrats.
Malloy said Thursday in a letter to the Secretary of the State that the plan relies on changes to the state pension system that wouldn’t go into effect for a decade and are “both financially and legally unsound.”
Malloy also has blasted the budget for cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from higher education, especially the University of Connecticut. He has said the budget would not provide enough funding for transportation projects and enough aid to municipalities such as Hartford, which he said would almost certainly be required to go bankrupt.
Connecticut is the last state in the nation without a budget in place for the fiscal year that began July 1.
Malloy has been running state government with his limited spending authority. And under an executive order, without a new budget law by Sunday, major spending cuts to cities and towns would automatically go into effect. Those include cuts to state education grants to local public schools. Eighty-five school districts would see their share of those grants cut to zero. Fifty-four others would see significant cuts.
Connecticut faces a projected $3.5 billion deficit over the next two fiscal years.
Republicans, who do not control either chamber in the legislature, have defended the budget, saying it doesn’t raise taxes and more fairly distributes education aid. The GOP leaders said Thursday they are not ready to concede defeat.
“We intend to fight for the bipartisan budget, which fully funds local schools and municipalities, by pushing our Democrat colleagues to override the governor’s veto,” said Themis Klarides of Derby, the House minority leader.
Klarides called the veto infuriating.
An override appears unlikely. It would require a two-thirds vote in both chambers, 101 votes in the House and 24 in the Senate. The budget passed with 78 votes in the House and 21 in the Senate.