By SUSAN HAIGH
HARTFORD, Conn. (CBS Connecticut and AP) – Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget director has rejected a claim by Connecticut’s three watchdog agencies that the governor can’t reduce their budgets.
Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes says Malloy has the legal authority to withhold funding, despite a 2004 law prohibiting governors from reducing the annual budgets of the State Elections Enforcement Commission, the Office of State Ethics and the Freedom of Information Commission.
In a letter dated Tuesday, Barnes says the agencies “were not unfairly or disproportionately targeted” by the cuts aimed at fixing the state’s deficit.
The leaders of the three agencies last month sent a letter to Barnes questioning the legality of the cuts, saying the General Assembly passed the 2004 legislation to protect the agencies’ independence. They requested the funding be restored.
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