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A new fiscal year worse than last, but we can still fix Connecticut’s mess

Connecticut began 2016 with more structural deficits coupled with a refusal by the majority to address the size and burn rate of our bloated state government. Instead, they blamed our chronic fiscal problems on a “new economic reality” — i.e., more political spin and another pusillanimous excuse for failed leadership. Indeed, despite record high state tax receipts over these last few years, extracted by our record high tax increases, we still have not kept pace with spending.

Ahmadiyya Muslims hold blood drive to counteract intolerance

Amidst a rude awakening of spiking intolerance, my Ahmadiyya Muslim Community perseveres in waging the true spiritual Jihad (striving) of Prophet Muhammad and his Messiah Ahmad, peace be upon them; the Jihad of peace-loving service and life. This holiday season, we warmly invite you to make another life-giving impact at Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque, 410 Main St., Meriden.

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Donald Trump and arguments from ignorance

Most people, even very young children, have an intuitive sense that proof of the existence of something is required before that “something” is acknowledged as true. Kids say “prove it.” Adults understand that the burden of proof is almost always on the party asserting the truth of something. For example, in our justice system the burden of proof is on the state (in a criminal action) and the plaintiff (in a civil action). A defendant does not have to prove his innocence; the state must prove his guilt–beyond a reasonable doubt. For some reason, however, this very simple concept seems to get lost in the political realm.

A concept sketch of U.S. Rep. John Larson's proposal to bury I-91 and I-84 underground in Hartford and East Hartford. The proposed tunnels are shown in orange and the existing highways in blue. The cloverleaf intersection would be under Pope Park.

Larson’s tunnels and widening I-95 are wasteful pipe dreams

U.S. Rep. John Larson recently proposed a massive $10 billion project to drill through miles of shale, sandstone, and basalt under Hartford for two new highway tunnels without any traffic study showing it would reduce congestion. This is one of numerous frivolous proposals that would waste precious taxpayer dollars without meeting the 21st Century needs of hardworking families in Connecticut.

Metro-North Railroad Assistant Conductor Thomas Yuen watches passengers boarding his New Haven Line train.

Conductor, collect all the tickets, please

Imagine you’re in a store and you see somebody shoplifting. You’re embarrassed to say anything or to make a scene, but inside you’re pissed-off. You pay for your merchandise, so why should that guy get it for free? And if he’s ripping off the store, doesn’t the merchant actually make you pay more to make up for that loss? It’s morally wrong and it’s just not fair. Yet this is what happens every single day on Metro-North when conductors don’t collect all riders’ tickets.

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Trump’s flag-burning tweet ‘troubling’ for its First Amendment ignorance

The New England First Amendment Coalition is deeply troubled by President-Elect Donald Trump’s recent statement calling for the imprisonment or loss of citizenship of those who burn the American flag. While Trump’s comments may reflect the feelings of many citizens, they perpetuate a dangerous misunderstanding about the breadth of the First Amendment and the protection it provides all Americans.

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CT Health Care Cabinet proposal will hurt doctor-patient relationship

A state committee that most people have never heard of, the Health Care Cabinet, is planning to damage health care in Connecticut by disrupting the only thing that’s really working for us right now – our doctor-patient relationships. I am a breast cancer survivor and caregiver to my severely injured husband. Our family has spent years struggling with Connecticut’s broken, insurance-driven health system. We know how badly the system needs reform, but the Cabinet, whose mandate is to find practical fixes, is making a big mistake by focusing on the wrong thing.

Budget cuts to Judicial Branch undermine access to justice

It is clear that once again lawmakers in Hartford are going to spend much of next year seeking to reduce spending in state government as a means of balancing the budget. A projected shortfall of more than $1 billion means that almost every budget item is vulnerable to spending reductions. In the face of this challenge, it is important for the legislature to decide at the beginning of the process which parts of the budget should be classified as essential to the general public and maintained at current levels. Our state court system surely must be placed in this category.

Sale of GE campus to Sacred Heart another ‘poke in the eye’

The sale of the 66-acre GE campus to the university could be construed as a final poke in the eye to the Malloy administration. As the former owner, GE paid the town of Fairfield $1.6 million a year on taxes, but because Sacred Heart is an educational institution it will pay no taxes to the town on this property.

A sit-in in support of New Havens immigrants.

Sanctuary cities must be defended

As Americans, we pride ourselves on being a nation of immigrants. It is woven into the fabric of our nation. After all, most Americans are descendants of immigrants themselves and have come to the “land of the free and home of the brave” either by force or by choice. As a citizen of New Haven, one of my greatest sources of pride is knowing that our city is so representative of America’s incredible diversity.