JOURNAL OF THE HOUSE

JOURNAL OF THE HOUSE

Tuesday, March 4, 2003

The House of Representatives was called to order at 2: 16 o'clock p. m. , Speaker Moira K. Lyons in the Chair.

Prayer was offered by the House Chaplain, Reverend Michael S. Galasso of Hartford, Connecticut.

The following is the prayer:

Almighty Father, we seek Your blessing upon us this cold wintry day, as we gather in formal Session. Be close to us in our deliberations so that the common good of all might be served. Amen.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Representative Dillon of the 92nd District.

REPORT

The following report was received on the date indicated, read by the Clerk and referred to the Committee indicated:

Report - Office of Health Care Access - Annual Report on the Financial Status of Connecticut's Short Term Acute Care Hospitals for Fiscal Year 2001. (Pursuant to Section 19a-670 of the Connecticut General Statutes. ) Date Received: March 3, 2003
Referred to the Committee on Public Health.

FAVORABLE REPORTS OF JOINT STANDING COMMITTEES
HOUSE BILLS

The following House Bills were received from the committees indicated, the bills read the second time and tabled for the Calendar and printing:

GENERAL LAW. H. B. No. 5811 (RAISED) (File No. 8) AN ACT CONCERNING INTRODUCTORY RATE OFFERS AND AUTOMATIC RENEWAL OF CONSUMER CONTRACTS.

LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. Substitute for H. B. No. 6215 (RAISED) (File No. 7) AN ACT CONCERNING DISABILITY RETIREMENT BENEFITS FOR CORRECTION OFFICERS.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
HOUSE AND SENATE BILLS

On motion of Representative Amann of the 118th District, the first reading of the following bills and resolutions was waived, the list of bills and resolutions as prepared by the Clerks was accepted, and the bills and resolutions referred to the committees as indicated thereon in concurrence.

ENVIRONMENT

H. B. No. 6546 (RAISED) ENVIRONMENT. 'AN ACT CONCERNING THIRD-PARTY LIABILITY FOR CONTAMINATED PROPERTY', to protect a purchaser of land from liability for pollution that occurred prior to purchase.

H. B. No. 6547 (RAISED) ENVIRONMENT. 'AN ACT CONCERNING PESTICIDE STORAGE', to prohibit the storage of a granular lawn care that is sold in a nonrigid container unless such pesticide is stored in a certain outdoor facility.

S. B. No. 1030 (RAISED) ENVIRONMENT. 'AN ACT CONCERNING THE ESCHEAT OF UNCLAIMED BEVERAGE CONTAINER DEPOSITS', to provide for the escheat of unclaimed beverage container deposit money to the state.

S. B. No. 1031 (RAISED) ENVIRONMENT. 'AN ACT CONCERNING THE BENEFICIAL REUSE OF GLASS', to allow crushed recycled glass to be used as fill material.

S. B. No. 1032 (RAISED) ENVIRONMENT. 'AN ACT CONCERNING WATER QUALITY PROJECT GRANTS', to repeal the sunset provision for grants to municipalities for water quality projects associated with nitrogen removal.

LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

S. B. No. 1033 (RAISED) LABOR AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. 'AN ACT CONCERNING IMPACT STATEMENTS REGARDING REDUCTIONS IN STATE SERVICES', to require the submission of impact statements to the General Assembly prior to any major layoff or dismissal of state employees.

PROGRAM REVIEW AND INVESTIGATIONS

S. B. No. 1034 (RAISED) PROGRAM REVIEW AND INVESTIGATIONS. 'AN ACT CONCERNING REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT GOVERNANCE', to reform regional school district governance.

BUSINESS ON THE CALENDAR
FAVORABLE REPORTS OF HOUSE STANDING COMMITTEES
HOUSE RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED

The following resolutions were taken from the table, read the third time, the reports of the committees indicated accepted and the resolutions adopted.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. R. No. 11 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF THEODORE R. ANSON OF BRIDGEWATER TO BE COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

The resolution was explained by Representative Tonucci of the 104th.

The resolution was discussed by Representatives Kirkley-Bey of the 5th and O'Neill of the 69th.

On a voice vote House Resolution No. 11 was adopted.

DEPUTY SPEAKER NEWTON IN THE CHAIR

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. R. No. 13 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF BARBARA A. WATERS OF SOUTH GLASTONBURY TO BE COMMISSIONER OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES.

The resolution was explained by Representative Stone of the 9th.

The resolution was discussed by Representative Googins of the 31st.

On a voice vote House Resolution No. 13 was adopted.

BUSINESS ON THE CALENDAR
FAVORABLE REPORTS OF JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED

The following resolutions were taken from the table, read the third time, the reports of the committees indicated accepted and the resolutions adopted.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. J. No. 161 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF SUSAN G. TOWNSLEY OF OLD SAYBROOK TO BE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION OF SPECIAL REVENUE.

The resolution was explained by Representative O'Connor of the 35th.

On a voice vote House Joint Resolution No. 161 was adopted.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. J. No. 162 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF TRACEY GREEN CLEARY OF NEW HAVEN TO BE A MEMBER OF THE STATE ELECTIONS ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION.

The resolution was explained by Representative Dillon of the 92nd.

On a voice vote House Joint Resolution No. 162 was adopted.

SUSPENSION OF THE RULES
RESOLUTION ADOPTED

H. R. No. 19 REP. AMANN, 118th DIST. RESOLUTION RAISING A COMMITTEE TO INFORM THE SENATE THAT THE HOUSE IS READY TO MEET IN JOINT CONVENTION.

Representative Amann of the 118th moved for suspension of the rules for immediate consideration.

On a voice vote the motion carried.

The resolution was explained by Representative Amann of the 118th.

On a voice vote House Resolution No. 19 was adopted.

The following is the Resolution:

Resolved by this House:
That a committee consisting of three Representatives be appointed to inform the Senate that the House is ready to meet with the Senate in Joint Convention.

Deputy Speaker Newton appointed the following Representatives:

Representative Altobello of the 82nd
Representative Stone of the 9th
Representative Fahrbach of the 61st

RECESS

On motion of Representative Amann of the 118th District, the House recessed at 2: 48 o'clock p. m. , to reconvene at the Call of the Chair.

SPEAKER LYONS IN THE CHAIR

REPORT OF HOUSE COMMITTEE

The Committee appointed by the House to inform the Senate the House was ready to meet in Joint Convention reported that they had discharged the duties assigned to them and that the Senate would meet the House in Joint Convention forthwith.

The report was accepted and the committee discharged.

COMMITTEE FOR THE SENATE

The committee appointed by the Senate appeared in the Hall of the House and informed the House that the Senate was ready to meet in Joint Convention for the purpose of receiving any communication the Governor might be pleased to make concerning the budget.

REPORT OF THE JOINT CONVENTION

Ladies and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives: It is my duty to report to you the proceedings of the Joint Convention.

Upon the invitation of the House, the Senate met the House in convention for the purpose of receiving the budget message of His Excellency, the Governor.

Her Honor, the Lieutenant-Governor, presided over the Joint Convention and the Clerk of the Senate and the Clerk of the House were Secretaries of the convention.

The prayer was offered by the Deputy Senate Chaplain, Reverend Doctor Barbara Headley of Hartford, Connecticut.

The following is the prayer:

Let us pray. Eternal God, sustainer of all creation, ruler over nations and governments as this Joint Session gathers, we ask Your presence and guidance to work together to bring into existence the principles of justice, equity and compassion for all our citizens. Grant this governing body the boldness and the conviction to live out these principles in the matters that they will deliberate over, matters that will affect the lives and future of the people of this State. We also ask that You will bless our Nation and keep us safe from aggression. Continue to guide us that we may be a standard of Your righteousness. This is our prayer in the name of God, who is Holy and just. Amen.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Moira K. Lyons, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Senator Looney of the 11th District offered a resolution raising a Committee of two Senators and two Representatives to inform the Governor that the Senate and the House of Representatives were in convention for the purpose of receiving his message concerning the budget.

The resolution was adopted and Senator Looney of the 11th District, Senator DeLuca of the 32nd District, Representative Amann of the 118th District and Representative Ward of the 86th were appointed as the Committee.

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE

The Committee to inform the Governor that the Senate and the House of Representatives were met in Joint Convention reported that it had performed the duties assigned to them and had been informed that the Governor would soon come into the Convention. The Committee was discharged with the thanks of the Joint Convention.

His Excellency, the Governor, thereupon appeared in the Hall of the House with the other Executive Officers.

Upon motion of Senator Looney of the 11th, it was voted that the message of the Governor be printed in the Journals of the Senate and House and that a sufficient number of copies be printed for general distribution.

House Chaplain Reverend Michael S. Galasso of Hartford offered the following benediction:

Let us pray. Almighty God, as we bring this Joint Convention to a close, we pray that the art of debate and compromise on a bipartisan level may be put into action for the good of our constituents and the State. Amen.

Upon motion of Senator Looney of the 11th, it was voted that the Convention be dissolved.

The President thereupon dissolved the Convention and the Senate withdrew.

Respectfully submitted,
Moira K. Lyons, Speaker

AFTER RECESS

The House reconvened at 3: 46 o'clock p. m. , Deputy Speaker Fritz in the Chair.

BUSINESS ON THE CALENDAR
FAVORABLE REPORTS OF HOUSE STANDING COMMITTEE
HOUSE RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED

The following resolutions were taken from the table, read the third time, the reports of the committees indicated accepted and the resolutions adopted.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. R. No. 17 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF JAMES F. BYRNES OF COLCHESTER TO BE COMMISSIONER OF TRANSPORTATION.

The resolution was explained by Representative Orange of the 48th.

The resolution was discussed by Representatives Serra of the 33rd and Boucher of the 143rd.

On a voice vote House Resolution No. 17 was adopted.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. R. No. 12 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF THOMAS A. KIRK, JR. , PH. D. OF RIDGEFIELD TO BE COMMISSIONER OF MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION SERVICES.

The resolution was explained by Representative Tonucci of the 104th.

The resolution was discussed by Representatives Kirkley-Bey of the 5th, Powers of the 151st, Malone of the 47th and Truglia of the 145th.

On a voice vote House Resolution No. 12 was adopted.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. R. No. 14 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF PETER H. O'MEARA OF ESSEX TO BE COMMISSIONER OF MENTAL RETARDATION.

The resolution was explained by Representative Truglia of the 145th.

The resolution was discussed by Representatives Noujaim of the 74th, Boukus of the 22nd and Malone of the 47th.

On a voice vote House Resolution No. 14 was adopted.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. R. No. 15 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF ARTHUR J. ROCQUE OF STORRS TO BE COMMISSIONER OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.

The resolution was explained by Representative Tonucci of the 104th.

DEPUTY SPEAKER HYSLOP IN THE CHAIR

The resolution was discussed by Representatives Donovan of the 84th and Caruso of the 126th who moved that when the vote be taken it be taken by roll call.

Representative Caruso of the 126th appealed the ruling of the Chair.

Representative Ward of the 86th raised a Point of Order regarding the appeal of the ruling of the Chair.

The Speaker ruled the Point of Order was well taken.

Representative Thompson of the 13th seconded the appeal.

The Speaker ordered the vote be taken by roll call at 4: 38 p. m.

The following is the result of the vote:

Total Number Voting 130
Necessary to Sustain the Ruling of the Chair 66
Those voting Yea 107
Those voting Nay 23
Those absent and not voting 21

On a roll call vote the Ruling of the Chair was sustained.

The following is the roll call vote:

Y

   

ABRAMS

Y

   

KERENSKY

Y

   

TONUCCI

Y

   

HETHERINGTON

Y

   

ALTOBELLO

   

X

KIRKLEY-BEY

Y

   

TRUGLIA

Y

   

HOVEY

Y

   

AMANN

Y

   

LAWLOR

Y

   

VILLANO

Y

   

KALINOWSKI

Y

   

BACKER

Y

   

LEONE

 

N

 

WALKER

Y

   

KLARIDES

 

N

 

BARRY

Y

   

LEWIS

Y

   

WALLACE

Y

   

LABRIOLA

   

X

BEAMON

Y

   

MALONE

   

X

WIDLITZ

Y

   

METZ

   

X

BERGER

Y

   

MANN

 

N

 

WILBER

Y

   

MILLER

Y

   

BOUKUS

 

N

 

MANTILLA

 

N

 

WILLIS

Y

   

MINER

 

N

 

CANDELARIA

Y

   

MARTINEZ, L.

   

X

ZALASKI

Y

   

NOUJAIM

   

X

CARDIN

Y

   

MAZUREK

       

Y

   

O'NEILL

 

N

 

CARTER

Y

   

MCCLUSKEY

           

X

PETERS

 

N

 

CARUSO

Y

   

MCMAHON

Y

   

ADINOLFI

Y

   

PISCOPO

Y

   

CHRIST

 

N

 

MEGNA

Y

   

BACCHIOCHI

Y

   

POWERS

Y

   

COCCO

Y

   

MERRILL

Y

   

BELDEN

Y

   

ROWE

   

X

CONWAY

Y

   

MICHELE

Y

   

BERNHARD

Y

   

RUWET

Y

   

DARGAN

Y

   

MIKUTEL

Y

   

BIELAWA

Y

   

RYAN, J.

Y

   

DAVIS

   

X

MOUKAWSHER

Y

   

BOUCHER

Y

   

SAWYER

   

X

DIAMANTIS

Y

   

MUSHINSKY

Y

   

CAFERO

   

X

SCRIBNER

Y

   

DILLON

Y

   

NAFIS

Y

   

CARON

Y

   

SHERER

 

N

 

DONOVAN

Y

   

NARDELLO

Y

   

CARSON

Y

   

STONE, J.

Y

   

DOYLE

 

N

 

O'BRIEN

Y

   

CHAPIN

Y

   

STRIPP

Y

   

DUFF

Y

   

O'CONNOR

Y

   

COLLINS

 

N

 

TERCYAK

Y

   

DYSON

Y

   

OLSON

Y

   

CONGDON

Y

   

TYMNIAK

   

X

ESPOSITO

Y

   

ORANGE

Y

   

D'AMELIO

 

N

 

URBAN

Y

   

FELTMAN

Y

   

OREFICE

Y

   

DELGOBBO

Y

   

WARD

   

X

FLEISCHMANN

 

N

 

O'ROURKE

   

X

DICKMAN

Y

   

WASSERMAN

Y

   

FONTANA

Y

   

PANARONI

Y

   

FAHRBACH

   

X

WINKLER

   

X

FOX

Y

   

PAWELKIEWICZ

Y

   

FARR

Y

   

WITKOS

   

X

GERAGOSIAN

 

N

 

REINOSO

Y

   

FERRARI

       
 

N

 

GIANNAROS

Y

   

ROY

Y

   

FLAHERTY, B.

       

Y

   

GODFREY

 

N

 

RYAN, K.

Y

   

FLOREN

       
 

N

 

GONZALEZ

Y

   

SAYERS

Y

   

FREY

       

Y

   

GRAZIANI

Y

   

SERRA

Y

   

GIBBONS

Y

   

LYONS (SPKR)

   

X

GREEN, K.

 

N

 

SHARKEY

Y

   

GIEGLER

       

Y

   

GUERRERA

Y

   

SPALLONE

Y

   

GIULIANO

       
 

N

 

HAMM

Y

   

STAPLES

Y

   

GOOGINS

Y

   

CURREY (DEP)

Y

   

JANOWSKI

Y

   

STILLMAN

Y

   

GREENE, L.

Y

   

FRITZ (DEP)

   

X

JARMOC

   

X

STONE, C.

Y

   

HAMZY

Y

   

HYSLOP (DEP)

Y

   

JOHNSTON

 

N

 

TALLARITA

Y

   

HARKINS

   

X

NEWTON (DEP)

 

N

 

KEELEY

 

N

 

THOMPSON

Y

   

HEAGNEY

       

The resolution was further discussed by Representatives Cafero of the 142nd, Congdon of the 42nd, Backer of the 121st, Mushinsky of the 85th, Bernhard of the 136th, Fleischmann of the 18th, Collins of the 117th, Boucher of the 143rd, Villano of the 91st, Sawyer of the 55th, Truglia of the 145th, Tonucci of the 104th and Caruso of the 126th.

On a voice vote House Resolution No. 15 was adopted.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. R. No. 16 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF JOXEL GARCIA, M. D. OF AVON TO BE COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC HEALTH.

The resolution was explained by Representative Tonucci of the 104th.

The resolution was discussed by Representative Thompson of the 13th and Martinez of the 128th.

On a voice vote House Resolution No. 16 was adopted.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. R. No. 18 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF PAMELA LAW OF TOLLAND TO BE COMMISSIONER OF REVENUE SERVICES.

The resolution was explained by Representative Currey of the 10th.

The resolution was discussed by Representatives Boucher of the 143rd, Dyson of the 94th, Flaherty of the 68th, Ward of the 86th and Stillman of the 38th.

On a voice vote House Resolution No. 18 was adopted.

BUSINESS ON THE CALENDAR
FAVORABLE REPORT OF JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION ADOPTED

The following resolution was taken from the table, read the third time, the report of the committee indicated accepted and the resolution adopted.

EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE NOMINATIONS. H. J. No. 163 RESOLUTION CONFIRMING THE NOMINATION OF ARTHUR H. DIEDRICK OF MORRIS TO BE CHAIRMAN AND A MEMBER OF THE CONNECTICUT INNOVATIONS, INCORPORATED.

The resolution was explained by Representative Tonucci of the 104th

On a voice vote House Joint Resolution No. 163 was adopted.

REPRESENTATIVES ABSENT

The following Representatives were absent today or may have missed some votes due to the following:

Representative Conway of the 75th - illness
Representative Dickman of the 132nd - illness
Representative Geragosian of the 25th - illness
Representative Scribner of the 107th - illness
Representative Widlitz of the 98th - family illness
Representative Winkler of the 41st - illness

ADJOURNMENT

On motion of Representative Amann of the 118th District, the House adjourned at 5: 38 o'clock p. m. , to meet again at the Call of the Chair.

BUDGET ADDRESS BY GOVERNOR JOHN G. ROWLAND
JOINT SESSION OF THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY
HALL OF THE HOUSE, STATE CAPITOL
MARCH 4, 2003

Madame President, Madame Speaker, Senator Sullivan, distinguished members of the General Assembly, friends and guests. Before I make my budget remarks today, I would call upon all of you and upon the residents of our State, to keep in your thoughts and prayers the loved ones lost in the tragic fire here in Hartford last week.

As you might imagine, last week I was prepared to give a very different speech from the one I am going to deliver today. Our budget picture has changed significantly over the last few days and I want to thank you for your hard work to eliminate this year's deficit.

It was a long and difficult process. For 120 days, we stared at a 2 billion dollar deficit - and for 120 days, that deficit stared us down. We all knew what was at stake, and I thank you for doing the right thing. You acted to secure our future, by putting the people's agenda ahead of your own political or philosophical agendas.

The approval of last week's package sent a clear signal that the overall welfare of this State is more important than any of the issues that swirled around this budget. The bottom line is that we must all focus on the next generation rather than the next election.

I recognize the package you approved was not an easy one to support. I recognize the good faith of those who could not vote for it. Our process encourages people of strong principles and differing opinions to debate their ideas. That is the strength of our system. An honest disagreement on the issues is the clearest sign that that our government is performing exactly as it should.

During this budget cycle, we have had to face some difficult choices. We can all point to elements of last week's package that we don't like. But let me tell you what the vote meant to our State. It meant we eliminated this year's deficit in one fell swoop. It means we are now more than half way home on next year's deficit.

By your action last week, the problem we face going forward is $800 million dollars instead of over $2 billion dollars. By closing the deficit, we have shored up Connecticut's shaky financial foundation. We have started to put Connecticut back on solid financial ground. We have taken steps to preserve our bond rating and we have removed some of the uncertainty that's been hurting our economy. Most importantly, our action last week keeps us ahead of the curve with competing states.

We can continue to lead this nation's economy, but only if we take a hard look at the core mission of our government. We must ask if the size of our government helps or hurts our economy. Is it aligned with these tough times? Is it aligned with the needs of all the people we serve?

This means introducing cultural change. After eight years of prosperity and budget surpluses, it is hard to cut spending. We know in government that change happens. Sometimes it happens to us and sometimes we can make it happen. A responsive government leads the forces of change. It does not protect the status quo.

One of the key actions in last week's package was the Early Retirement Program we adopted for state employees. This program means we will reduce the cost of government and reward career-state employees at the same time. With senior employees retiring there will be hundreds of promotions. It will allow the re-hire of many of the 2,800 state employees who were recently laid off.

It is an absolute win-win for the state employees, for our government, and for the people of this State. This is a voluntary benefit we are offering to long-time state employees, and we expect many to take it. The savings we will realize through this program are an important part of the good start we have made toward balancing next year's budget.

As we prepare this budget, we must keep one guiding principle in mind: we are not here to represent the interests of government. We are here to represent the interests of the people. One thing is for sure. Our taxpayers are already pulling their share of the load. We will put our economy back on sound footing - but not by making the taxpayer foot the entire bill. This budget must be more than a $14 billion dollar piñata being circled by special interest lobbyists.

We have some tough choices and difficult sacrifices ahead. But there is no greater reason for making these sacrifices than protecting the future for the next generation. Connecticut's Constitutional limit on spending will help make sure we devise a balanced budget.

The cap will not allow us to tax our way out of this deficit. The spending cap was approved in 1991 when 80 percent of the people voted for it. But the cap represents more than the will of the people. It was passed to put the brakes on government spending. The spending cap is the law. It is part of our Constitution. And it is good economic policy.

During this session, we also have an opportunity to make this budget process work better by learning from our experiences. I first entered this Chamber as the Representative from the 73rd District over twenty-two years ago.

As Governor, I have worked closely with many of you for more than eight years. You are my friends and colleagues. I have enormous respect for our legislative leaders. I have enormous respect for the commitment and good intentions of every member of this legislature. But good intentions alone do not always lead to good government.

During the last budget cycle, we conducted seven special sessions -- all at significant cost to the taxpayer. I will introduce legislation this session to change the biennial budget to an annual budget. The two-year budget process leads only to endless special sessions.

I also want to commend you for approving a provision requiring that our rainy day fund be equal to 10 percent of our existing budget. This provision will ensure economic stability in the years ahead. The beauty of our form of government is its adaptability. At various times in this State's history, our citizens have seen the wisdom in making changes. Today is one of those times.

We do have the ability, and at this point in our State's history, the responsibility to make changes to the way we govern ourselves. The people in this Chamber - all of us - are responsible for the success or failure of this State, for the safety of our citizens, and for the strength or weakness of our economic future. We can and we should control our own destiny.

It is not for Washington, D. C. or the national economy to decide. It is for each of us to decide -- what kind of state Connecticut will be, and what our future holds. There are certain principles we must observe in making those decisions.

There is no law that says government -- at any level -- must automatically get bigger every year. We cannot keep providing revenue sharing dollars to our cities and towns when there is no revenue to share.

Some municipal leaders have issued dire warnings that unless we continue to give them money the State doesn't have, taxes will have to be raised at the local level. I reject that concept. I do not accept the notion that local governments cannot trim their sails the same way we have at the state level.

Over the last decade, aid to cities and towns in Connecticut has increased by 38 percent - from $1. 6 billion dollars to over $2. 1 billion dollars per year. In New Haven, for example, state aid has increased by $51 million dollars since 1995. We have built 25 new schools costing more than $800 million dollars. We have built a new, state-of-the art citywide athletic facility for all the high schools.

We have built schools, train stations, parking garages, and been involved in nearly every city development project across the State. In economic development funding alone, New Haven has received almost $300 million in the last 8 years. That kind of aid and those kinds of investments have been replicated in all 169 cities and towns during the past eight years.

State and local governments are partners. That means that when we have money, we can share it. But when the revenues aren't there - we cannot drive our State into debt. We should also give cities and towns the ability to control their own spending and their own destiny by reforming binding arbitration. Let us end this under-funded mandate.

I said in my State of the State address that this government has outgrown the taxpayers' ability to pay for it, and I would do what is necessary to cut it down to size. My budget proposes to do exactly that. We will make our government smaller by merging, consolidating, and eliminating state agencies and commissions. We will seek out and eliminate wasteful spending, duplication, and unnecessary programs.

First, we will identify duplicate functions. For example, I am proposing to consolidate the Ethics, Elections, and Freedom of Information Commissions. These are all very important government watchdog agencies and they all share the same goals of open and honest government. It makes good financial sense to put them together.

There are also agencies whose core missions have changed over the years. For example, the Department of Agriculture was once one of the larger state agencies. Its mission has evolved as the state's economy has changed. The Agriculture department of 100 years ago does not serve the overall needs of this new century. It is time to merge it with another agency.

In the days and weeks ahead, I will be seeking other changes and reforms. I have already reduced Executive staff throughout a number of agencies. Eight Deputy Commissioner positions have already been eliminated. I will be ordering reductions in agency publications, outside travel, consultants, and overtime. These changes are part of my commitment to squeeze every ounce of inefficiency out of state government.

We have all spent the last eight years deciding how to spend the revenues of a strong economy but in the year 2003, it is our task to determine where to cut government spending. Let me give you an illustration of the magnitude of our challenge.

My budget contains nearly $1 billion in spending reductions -- yet this budget will still increase by 2. 5 percent from last year. There will be harsh criticism and rhetoric about the cuts. But before you criticize, put your alternative on the table.

This bundle of bills contains more than 550 proposals for new spending and new government programs proposed by this legislature. This is typical of similar spending proposals we consider each and every legislative session. But this is not a typical year. The people of Connecticut cannot afford this new spending. This is the cultural change that must take place. This is not about finding ways to spend money, it is about finding ways to save money.

This budget is a tough budget for tough times, but it is balanced and fair. And it is right for the times we live in. The problems we face in Connecticut are not unique to our State. This is not a Democrat or Republican problem. It's not me against you. It's not about personalities. It is about balance. Forty-five states across this country are facing deficits.

In Michigan, the Governor will be imposing a 4 percent cut to the general fund budget and laying off 2,000 employees. That's after cutting the state work force by 8,000 employees. In Wisconsin, the Governor will eliminate 2,800 state jobs during the next fiscal year and he is imposing a 250 million cut to state higher education. He is also cutting aid to cities and towns by 70 million dollars.

In Virginia, the Governor has cut spending by 6 billion and has laid off 4,000 state employees. And he is not just cutting aid to cities and towns. He proposes to eliminate it, totally. New Jersey and 15 other states are borrowing against their tobacco settlement funds - a bailout strategy that will shortchange their state for the next 24 years. That is something we will never do here in Connecticut.

These are just examples of what some Democrat governors are doing. This is not a partisan problem, but it requires bi-partisan action. And it requires action now.

As we begin consideration of the next biennial budget, we have an opportunity to continue Connecticut's proud history of leadership -- a history that began with the founding of our American democracy. The people who served in this chamber before us have been the architects of the future we all live in today. Today, Connecticut's future is in our hands.

I know at times it seems we have been stuck in this economic downturn forever. Frankly, it's only been one year, following seven years of extraordinary economic prosperity. But we do live in very uncertain times. With the after-effects of September 11th, an impending war with Iraq, and the continual threat of terrorism, our world and our lives have changed. But I assure you, we are a resilient people. We can overcome any obstacle that comes our way. Relative to what our parents and grandparents have been through - world wars, economic depressions, natural disasters - this too shall pass, and we will be a stronger State united in purpose.

We will soon be back on a course providing the best education in the nation - at all levels - and a quality of life second to none. All things being equal, we continue to provide the best health care, day care, elderly care and support for those in need. Let us not forget where we stand among other states - and let's be proud of it. No other state in the United State of America provides more generous benefits than we do.

Yes, we are the stewards of a Connecticut that is prosperous and beautiful. A Connecticut that provides great opportunity. A Connecticut composed of hard-working, deeply committed people who care about their families, and their communities, and their state.

Today, there is a lot that's great about Connecticut and only a few things wrong, and the things that are wrong - we can fix. But we have to keep facing them and we have to keep dealing with them - together, as public officials focused on the future. Last week, this Legislature showed that it was up to the task. Let's show that same courage and that same determination one more time.

I look forward to working with all of you until we have completed the job. Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the great State of Connecticut.