#5 - Supermajority Blows the Budget
2007 started out pretty badly for Republicans in our state legislature. In the 2006 election Republicans were reduced to 45 members out of 151 seats in the House. The post-election defection of Diana Urban of North Stonington to the Democrats compounded the insult, but left 44 members, dubbed the "Fighting Forty-Four" determined to fight the good fight however they could.
In the Senate, Republicans remained at 12 members, giving the Democrats a "supermajority" which was veto-proof in both chambers. It looked ugly for the GOP.
While no one was surprised the Democrats were fractured, and bickered among themselves, I don't think anyone could have foreseen how crippled that party would be under its own unwieldy weight.
Governor Rell's budget was an awful start to the session - proposing an increase in the income tax. Naturally, Democrats proposed greater tax increases. But then the House Republicans did something never done before... they proposed a third budget alternative, which accomplished much of what Rell's budget attempted to - without raising taxes.
Despite a Quinnipiac poll showing the House Republican plan being favored by voters over both the Democrats' and Rell's, the Democrats were determined to ram through their budget. In doing so, they were unable to get their caucus to put 2/3 on the board, demonstrating that they could not override the veto which the Governor obligingly provided. They had lost all their bargaining power before the session had concluded.
On the early morning hours of Saturday, June 23rd, the legislature ended up passing a budget that still sucked... it had no sustained tax relief, and increased spending. But there were no tax increases. 44 members of the House had outmaneuvered 107, and had demonstrated conclusively that no matter how large an advantage you give Speaker Jim Amann, he is still bumbling enough to lose the fight. That is why I have selected this as the #5 Dumbest Thing Done by Connecticut Democrats in 2007.