One of the state's high-profile employees, former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, could see his job as the state's business advocate disappear today.
Legislators, who are meeting today in special session to close an estimated budget gap of more than $300 million, are considering eliminating his office and giving the function to the Department of Economic Development.
Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D- New Haven, and House Majority Leader Christopher Donovan, D- Meriden, confirmed in separate interviews that the cut is under serious consideration.
The cut would save $300,000 over the last six months of the current fiscal year, Looney said. But the bigger price could be political -- a possible partisan fight between the Democratic majority and Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who named Simmons, a Republican who lost his 2nd District seat in 2006, to new position in 2007. He is paid about $75,000 annually.
Simmons could not be immediately reached for comment.
Legislators have to resolve differences among House and Senate Democratic leaders, as well as deal with the Rell administration, before voting on the emergency fiscal legislation.
House Speaker James Amann, D-Milford, and Senate President Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, disagree on whether to raise $25 million by having the state seize unclaimed bottle deposits that are now kept by the bottling industry.
Amann is opposed.
Looney and Donovan said two versions of the fiscal bill have been prepared: one with the measure; and one without.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times