The clock is ticking on sensible state budget reform

I read with great interest Keith Phaneuf’s recent series on Connecticut’s serious budget challenges. He is clearly the best journalist on this subject in our state. Last month I watched Gov. Dannel Malloy’s budget speech from the floor of the State House. The governor’s budget has already resulted in significant discussion and debate. Three of his key and controversial proposals deserve comment. Connecticut has waited far too long to address them. It’s not a matter of if related changes will be made, it’s really a matter of when, how and by whom. The clock is ticking and time is not working in our favor.

Even Einstein can’t solve Millstone math

Dominion Energy spokesman Kevin Hennessy uses a famous quote from Albert Einstein to justify why ratepayers should give the Millstone power plant a big corporate payout. Einstein is credited with the observation that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is not a pragmatic approach to problem solving. Yet, Hennessy keeps saying things that aren’t true and apparently keeps hoping we’ll believe him.

GOP lust to defund Planned Parenthood could exact heavy price

With the election of a Republican president and control of the U.S. Congress by Republicans, you’d think Planned Parenthood is in trouble. Defunding the reproductive health organization has been for years a rallying cry among Republicans, especially Christian conservatives opposed to abortion. With the GOP now in power, it would seem the tide has finally turned. It hasn’t. In fact, Planned Parenthood has the advantage.

A rallying cry for equitable education funding in Connecticut

E4E-Connecticut’s teacher members — who collectively decided to take on the issue of funding reform — are urging state leaders to give serious consideration to the fair and equitable appropriation to our neediest districts while supporting our wealthier districts through this transition, and place our state on the path to repairing this funding system that leaves too many low-income and disadvantaged communities behind.

Legislators, leave the pharmaceutical industry alone

While no one can argue with the need to reign in healthcare spending, doing so by trying to tamper with the free marketplace could be harmful to Connecticut’s economy. Efforts to force the pharmaceutical industry through unprecedented, egregious regulations will do nothing to help patient’s pocketbooks and more to harm the industry as a whole, an industry that employs thousands of high paying jobs in our state.

High times? A new low for Connecticut

…Legalizing marijuana for “recreation” is a draconian shift in public policy and a shock to our social mores and societal health. Legalized marijuana will indelibly change Connecticut; the state will become a different place, coarser and with a more ambiguous future. Many people who would otherwise avoid this drug will use it. And why not? It will be marketed as exciting and essentially harmless. Even though legalization would be intended for adults, barriers would be porous and easily breached. And the message that legalization sends, both insidious and hypocritical, would not be lost on the young. They will get it, consume it and use will spike. And then …

Millstone is looking for deeper pockets, not bigger markets

Connecticut is at a crossroads. Now more than ever, we face a time when economic uncertainty abounds, energy costs are high, and public dollars for our seniors, schools, and underserved are scarce. But Dominion Resources, Inc., the Virginia-based Fortune 500 company that owns the Millstone nuclear plant in Waterford, wants a payout – courtesy of Connecticut consumers. Giving Millstone a payout would be wrong for several reasons.

Pistol permit fee increase is blatant attempt to limit gun ownership

Regarding Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed 2-year state budget and his plans to close the budget gap: One of his proposals is to increase the initial pistol permit fee from $140 to $370 – a 264 percent increase, and to increase the 5-year renewal fee for permit holders from $70 to $300 – a 428 percent increase. Make no mistake about it, this proposal that is squarely directed at gun owners is a blatant attempt to limit gun ownership by making it prohibitively expensive to do so, while claiming the need for more revenue to fill the gaping budget hole.

Malloy’s school funding plan does not go far enough

For more than two centuries, Connecticut has been colloquially known as “The Land of Steady Habits.” But our state’s tradition of arbitrarily, illogically, and inequitably funding its public schools is a bad habit Connecticut desperately needs to break. Unfortunately, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s recent budget proposal does not go far enough to address the fundamental flaws of Connecticut’s school finance system. Instead, the proposal continues the decades-old bad habit of funding education through a maze of unconnected, arbitrary formulas and does not ensure that all of Connecticut’s schools and districts have the resources they need to ensure equitable access to educational opportunities for all of our state’s more than 500,000 students. Malloy’s proposal rightfully ends the funding of local public school districts via block grants based on little more than historical precedent and the political power of legislators by proposing the state use a formula to distribute the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) grant to towns.