Absent ‘Fixes,’ CT State-Run Program Could Face Governor’s Veto

Connecticut’s state-run retirement plan proposal barely got through the Democratic majority state legislature – but without some changes, it won’t get past the governor’s veto pen.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D) is on record saying that he intends to veto the legislation unless it is changed in an upcoming special session of the General Assembly. “I would veto the bill unless the changes are made,” Malloy said May 6 at a press conference unrelated to the retirement proposal.

“The governor’s office and legislative proponents of the legislation discussed the matter to ensure the retirement program will provide competitive choices for consumers and that the board composition mirrors that of the current state quasi-public entities,’” Malloy spokesman Chris McClure said, according to the Hartford Courant. “It was our expectation that an amendment to reflect those changes will be filed and acted on by the legislature before conclusion of the regular session but since that did not happen, we are exploring all of our options.”

The Courant notes that, as passed, the bill gives the authority to hire a single vendor to manage the retirement fund – a sticking point for Malloy, whose administration has expressed concern about the impact of that provision both on consumer choice and the state’s financial services industry. Additionally, the governor wanted to be the one to select the chairperson.

Additionally, some of the Democratic governor’s concerns with the legislation are largely technical in nature and involve the makeup of the authority running the program and its rules for a quorum, according to the Courant.

The measure was deadlocked in the state Senate, 18-18, mostly along party lines, with three Democrats joining the GOP minority in opposition. That required Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman to weigh in and break the tie on April 30. The state’s House of Representatives approved the measure April 26 following a marathon 6-1/2 hour debate. Republicans have vigorously objected to the proposal, citing the new and, they claimed, costly state bureaucracy that would oversee the program.

The concept has the support of Comptroller Kevin Lembo, labor unions and groups that advocate for senior citizens.

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