There is a new Republican team in town and they have started by beating Gov. Dannel P. Malloy at his own game. For weeks, new Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano and new House Minority Leader Themis Klarides have asked the governor for a seat at the table to help mitigate Connecticut’s growing budget crisis. (The state is in the hole $121 million and faces a two-year deficit of $3 billion.) The pair wrote the governor, and Fasano even engaged in an informal verbal request with Malloy’s people. The silence from the other side was deafening.
The governor appeared to be softening his partisan stance, however, when he said at his second inaugural address, “that no one party or one policy maker holds a monopoly on good ideas.”
That all changed on Wednesday, when the governor returned to his caustic self. When asked about the GOP leadership’s request to be a part of the discussion, Malloy said, if Republican lawmakers have suggestions about where to cut, then they should scribble them on the back of an envelope and hand it to him.
Under the old GOP regime, that may have been the end of the discussion. But Klarides and Fasano scored points, taking the second-term Democrat at his word. The two delivered a message on the back of an envelope to his office:
“Dear Governor Malloy,
We have several ideas on how to eliminate the deficit.
We would love to have a meeting with you and our Democratic colleagues to discuss them.
We want to help you get Connecticut’s finances in order.
Can we set up a meeting ASAP?
That put Malloy in an unusual bind, on the defensive. It forced him to respond with the following letter:
“Dear Len and Themis,
Got your note. Was planning on having lunch in the cafeteria tomorrow at noon. Please bring your ideas, in writing if possible. I’ll have someone hold a table.
What else could Malloy do? By taking the governor’s envelope comment literally, Fasano and Klarides managed to score a touchdown with a fully inflated ball. It’s not often Republicans can gain meeting time with this governor.
When all sides meet at high noon on Friday to discuss the budget, Klarides and Fasanoshould bring those ideas “in writing” on the back of an envelope. Many a bold plan has been hatched on envelope backs. Just ask Abe Lincoln. He used the back of an envelope to write the Gettysburg Address.