Connecticut’s financial situation is perilously unstable

Like a profligate spender with maxed out credit cards and limited income, Connecticut finds itself stumbling towards financial ruin. Relying on an addict to convey the true depth of his problem is, in general, ill-advised. This instance is no different. Hiding behind accounting gimmicks impermissible in the private sector, Connecticut politicians in the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (“CAFR”) measured a substantial $70 billion hole at the end of 2014: $22 billion of bonded debt, $26 billion of unfunded pension liabilities and $22 billion of unfunded retiree healthcare liabilities. Large as these numbers are, they understate the scale of the problem.

Dominion Resources needs no special deal at consumers’ expense

Connecticut legislators are currently considering legislation, Senate Bill 106, that would allow Virginia-based Dominion Resources, the company that owns the Millstone Nuclear Power Station, to bid for long-term energy contracts alongside renewable energy generators. In effect, this legislation will provide a multi-million dollar special deal to Dominion paid for by Connecticut residents.

As online shopping grows, a sales tax hike becomes less viable

There are two universal truths to bear in mind as legislators in the Connecticut General Assembly negotiate the next fiscal-year budget. One is that every line of every budget of every government in human history has had a constituent. The other is that politicians are like water. They follow the path of least resistance. In the case of the governor’s proposed budget, Gov. Dannel Malloy wants spending cuts. He does not want to hear the word “tax” after having raised revenues twice in six years. But since every budget line has a constituent, and since constituents have a habit of opposing elected officials who take something away from said constituents, elected officials almost always try to find ways to punt.

Connecticut can help close the gender wage gap by legislative action

This year, Connecticut has an opportunity to shine as a leader in policies that combat the gender wage gap and support women, especially women of color, in the workforce. A year from now, on Equal Pay Day, I hope we can look back at our legislative accomplishments in 2017 and know that our future is one where Connecticut women and girls get paid what they are worth.

State’s cities must be at the heart of an economic rebound

Our state’s challenges are real but surmountable. As we confront them, we, as a state, need to consider putting “we before me.” The collective mentality among towns and cities cannot be that spending cuts are necessary as long as they affect only other towns. To truly harbor a desire to see the state experience economic growth and success, everyone must be willing to invest in creating the dynamic cities our 21st-century economy demands, even if those investments come at a near-term cost.

New school funding essential to giving some students a voice

Our state’s funding formula, which was intended to equalize education funding in each district, is irrational and disservices students in our neediest communities. We’ve used an arbitrary baseline for funding and have employed insufficient calculations for poverty and special education. A true school funding fix must include measures that hold all districts accountable so that educators can purposefully and efficiently use state money to advance student achievement and growth.

Shifting services to community can make state’s human services better

The huge state deficit means there is a stark choice ahead for legislators: Preserve an antiquated system and balance the budget with brutal spending cuts that eliminate services for thousands of the state’s most vulnerable individuals. Or take the opportunity to update and modernize the state’s delivery of services in a way that maximizes dollars and provides the vital care that some families have waited for years to get.

Dominion spokesman: Bill will result in lower energy prices

Connecticut has the highest retail electricity prices in the nation, but a proposed law working its way through the legislature this session will help change that. Among other things, the bill would allow Dominion Resources, the owners of the Millstone nuclear power station in Waterford, to sell its carbon-free power directly to customers through their utility company. Under the existing system, power from Millstone is sold first into regional wholesale energy markets before it makes its way to your home. The proposed law, which has wide bipartisan support in the legislature, eliminates the middleman and will lower prices by getting power directly to you the end user.