Report by Paula Antolini
August 17, 2017 1:17PM EDT
Sen. McLachlan: ‘Lack of State Budget Is Disgraceful Failure to Our Veterans’
The lack of a state budget has many consequences for our communities and residents. Social services for the intellectually and developmentally disabled have been cut. Schools have put off hiring new teachers. Towns have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in road repair grants, revenue sharing funds, and property tax relief.
The lack of a state budget has also resulted in the disgraceful failure of our state to provide proper military honors at the funerals of Connecticut veterans. The legislature and Governor should be ashamed.
Under the Governor’s executive order to keep the state running without a budget, funding was not included to provide the honor guard that performs the traditional three-volley gun salute. This has surprised and disappointed family members who expected their loved-ones to receive this honor.
Thankfully, the playing of Taps, and the folding and presentation of an American flag are federally mandated and the state receives between $750,000 and $1 million each year to pay for those honors. The gun salute becomes the responsibility of the state.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the Malloy administration has cut off funding for military honors at funerals. In his budget proposal during the 2015 Legislative Session, Governor Malloy cut the funding for veterans’ funeral honors. The legislature promptly restored funding then and this year passed legislation requiring that the funding remain in every budget.
I am angry and frustrated that this budget stalemate continues and was allowed to happen in the first place. Senate Republicans proposed a budget that provides important funding for education, municipalities, social services, and veterans’ funeral honors. We proposed this budget months ago and could vote on it today if the legislative Democrats who control the House of Representative allowed it. You can see it at www.NewDirectionCT.com.
The time has long since passed that legislators should do the job they were elected to do and pass a state budget. We cannot allow this dishonor of our veterans and their families to continue.
State Senator Michael McLachlan represents the 24th State Senatorial District, which includes the communities of Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, and Sherman.