The Connecticut Bond Commission voted 8 to 2 to spend $800,000 for a new electronic-vote tally board for its House of Representatives, over the objections of the two Republicans on the commission.
Gov. Dannel Malloy justified the measure at a press conference after Friday’s meeting.
“Am I happy about this? Am I happy that it comes to me and this wasn’t done previously? The obvious answer is no,” he said. “Does the public have a right to have votes properly recorded and have confidence in that system? The answer is yes.”
The House had approved the bonding for the new scoreboard.
Leading the opposition was Sen. Andrew Roraback, R-Goshen, the ranking member of the legislature’s joint standing committee on finance, revenue and bonding.
“In my judgment, there couldn’t be a less opportune time for us to be spending this kind of money for a scoreboard. There have got to be alternatives which are a lot less expensive and which achieve the same goal, which is just showing which way your state representative voted on a particular issue.
“I think it’s going to have every bell and whistle known to mankind. The state is shopping for a Cadillac or perhaps a Rolls-Royce when what the Connecticut people might afford is a Prius,” added Roraback, who plans to run for Congress in the Fifth District in 2012.
Roraback and Rep. Sean Williams, R-Watertown, sought to table the expense, but the Democratic majority on the bond panel voted approval. Its members include Malloy, state Comptroller Kevin Lembo,and Treasurer Denise Nappier.
Nappier announced Friday that the three major bond rating agencies have affirmed Connecticut’s rating. The state has double-A ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service.
In late June, Moody’s had revised its outlook for the state to negative from stable, citing depleted reserves, low pension funding ratios and high combined fixed costs for debt service and post-employment benefits relative to Connecticut’s budget.
Connecticut is scheduled to hold a $715 million general obligation bond offering this week. Of the new funding, $336 million is earmarked for local school construction grants, $54.6 million for community technical colleges and $30 million to replenish the state’s local capital improvement fund.
According to Nappier, the balance will go toward other building projects.