The state must stop embezzling unclaimed money

Should the state seize money belonging to Girl Scouts, without their knowledge, and give it to politicians to fund their campaigns? What about money from animal shelters, volunteer fire departments, the Red Cross, or other charities? How about all of those plus countless businesses and individuals — and maybe you? That’s happening and it’s disgraceful.

Let’s get legal sports gambling on the books

Now since the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision has struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which banned sports betting nationwide except for Nevada, states across the nation are scrambling to grab onto this judicial breakthrough by seeking to legalize sports gambling. However, we cannot be too hasty in this endeavor before proper legal statutes are established to regulate the proper way to ‘play the game.’ Aside from Nevada’s policy implementation, Connecticut lawmakers would have to quickly tend to a series of simple but tedious legal disputes.

To effect change, Connecticut needs to pay legislators a living wage

“Still revolutionary?” Hardly! Connecticut isn’t the least bit revolutionary. But it could be if we stopped preventing good people with good ideas from running for office by making it impossible for them to support their families. There are many different things that we could be doing, but none of it will get done because our legislature is too insulated. There are no new ideas because there are no new people. Why? State legislators in Connecticut only earn $28,000 per year. In one of the most expensive places to live in this country our legislators earn the equivalent of around $13.50 an hour, and that’s only if you pretend they only work 40 hour work weeks.

Evaluating Gov. Dannel Malloy’s tenure

Gov. Dannel Malloy is leaving office as our state’s most unpopular governor in decades having secured Connecticut’s reputation as the most mismanaged state in the nation. For a well regarded mayor and former public prosecutor from our only prosperous city, it is a surprising outcome. What are the lessons here?

SEBAC members: Re-open your agreement before an ‘event’

We — as in everyone who lives and works in our state — have a problem. We will never, ever, be able to generate enough revenue to cover the cash demanded by our unfunded union liabilities. It doesn’t make a difference how we got here. Pointing fingers and demonizing each other does nothing. It’s our fault; we are here and it is up to us to fix it.

Connecticut should invest more in community colleges, not less

Connecticut faces an ongoing budget crisis and somehow the community colleges have become the scapegoat. Why is the sector of public higher education that serves the highest number of minority students, the most economically disadvantaged and has a majority female student population under attack?

A big mistake: Defunded services to Connecticut’s most at-risk youth

Last week we learned that state funds for critical programs that serve high-risk youth and families was “swept” as “an inadvertent casualty” of the transfer of juvenile justice services and its funds from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to the Court Support Services Division (CSSD), a branch of the Department of Justice.  The transfer resulted in a $7 million shortfall for DCF-funded behavioral health services. Letters have been sent to providers informing them funding for these programs will be eliminated as of June 30, 2018.  And the high-risk children are those with substance use, mental health, and behavioral problems severe enough to land them in juvenile court and in jeopardy of out-of-home placement. One hundred kids and their families, in one Waterbury program alone, are to be terminated from services.

Why the CCSU Senate voted for Ojakian’s resignation, Regents’ abolition

On Monday, April 30, the Central Connecticut State University Senate voted by an overwhelming majority (38-1) through a secret ballot to call for President Mark Ojakian’s resignation, a halt to implementation of all parts of the “Students First” consolidation plan not already rejected by NEASC (the regional accrediting agency), the abolition of the current Board of Regents and its replacement by a body or bodies which will help rather than hinder the colleges and universities, and full funding for pubic higher education in our state.

For the sake of its future, Connecticut should embrace gene-editing science

Curing disease.  Growing healthier, more sustainable crops. Adapting energy and environmental needs while moderating demands on our changing world. These have long been some of the most complex scientific goals facing researchers—many of whom conduct their experiments here in Connecticut. Now, an emerging technology – gene editing – is changing the way scientists conduct their research. It will fundamentally change the way science addresses current and future agricultural, medical and scientific challenges.

State leaders must act to create sustainable, equitable, inclusive growth

Whatever your opinion on the recommendations set forth in the recently released report from the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, the alternative being the status quo, is demonstrably worse.  The report confirms well-known facts about the structural issues that threaten the vitality of our state and makes a compelling case for a comprehensive, long view approach to addressing them.

The report also makes clear that there is no viable way forward without shared sacrifice. 

Time to confront Connecticut’s looming financial crisis

Here we go again. Less than a year after a record 123 days without a budget, the legislature careens towards yet another budget crisis with 11th-hour negotiations and no clear path forward for addressing Connecticut’s looming financial crisis. Regardless of this year’s “fix,” the next governor and legislature will face a gaping $5 billion hole for the next two years that threatens our families, our jobs, and our employers. Last year’s crisis gave us a preview of what is in store if we stay on the current path: cuts to towns for police; cuts to education for our children; and cuts to programs that support the most vulnerable in our state.