Governor Rell announced the end of the biennial budget battle. In an end-of-day press conference, she said she wouldn't sign the budget but she won't kill it either. In five days, it goes into effect. But, first, she nickeled and dimed a bit, using her line item veto to cut $8 Million of the $37 Billion in programs and services that managed to escape the chain saw of those seeking to clear-cut state government.
Until the budget implementer is approved, we won't know the full extent of the cuts to smart growth programs. We do know transit funding, regional planning organizations, housing programs, and Main Street programs all are impacted. We also know the Departments of Environmental Protection, Economic and Community Development and Transportation experienced significant losses of staff who chose to take early retirement.
The budget that passed will not propel the state forward through the economic downturn. It remains to be seen just how much sand the cuts and the debt it contains will throw into the gears of our recovery.
For today, please take time to thank the members of the House and Senate who voted for the budget. They protected us from deeper cuts. And they had the courage to infuse a little bit of much-needed progressivity into our state tax system.
If your Senator or Representative voted against the budget, please share your disappointment with them. The vote tally is here.