When legislators recently passed the anti-worker, anti-family budget, they didn’t just attack workers’ rights, higher education, tax relief for low-income families, teachers, our capital city’s fiscal health, and job training programs. They attacked democracy itself. Their plan eliminates the vital Citizens’ Election Program (CEP), one of Connecticut’s greatest achievements, and our single greatest safeguard against corruption.
Facing a staggering $3.6 billion budget deficit, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in Connecticut’s legislature did something almost unheard of these days. They passed a budget. To help close the Constitution State’s deficit, instead of creating new taxes, lawmakers did what regular Americans do every day. They cut wasteful spending. One of the programs that lost funding is the taxpayer-financed campaign program for state politicians. In many ways, this cut is a big win for taxpayers.
In times of need every university turns to its alumni for help and support. But what is a university like the University of Connecticut to do when among its alumni are state senators and representatives who would vote for a budget that cuts over $300 million from their own Alma Mater, a cut that, quite simply, amounts to the dismantling of a major public university?
The State of Connecticut has no budget. That fact will surprise few. However, what may surprise some is that the General Assembly passed a budget that is bipartisan, introduces multiple long-term, cost-saving structural reforms, and, as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy often insisted, does not lead with new revenue in a state already overburdened with taxes. Why is that budget not already law?
The on-going state budget challenge is forcing the legislature to grapple with tough challenges. It’s in many ways a no-win situation, but let’s not make it worse by returning to old spending habits instead of investing in new ideas that provide much better returns. Continuing investments in energy efficiency pay off and funding for DEEP is fundamental to keeping Connecticut a clean, healthy, beautiful place to live. But as a member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Green Bank (CGB), I can’t help but weigh in to remind the legislature that on the side of the spending ledger representing the future, the CGB is an idea that works.
The events of the last week have highlighted the need for true bipartisanship in solving the state’s fiscal problems.
Why bipartisanship? Because we desperately need the best ideas from both sides of the aisle.
Last Friday and Saturday’s votes in the Senate and House were a reflection of what most people are looking for — a new approach, a break from policies that haven’t worked, and ultimately, a risk that could lead to greater rewards.
Despite a likely veto, that vote was exactly what state residents and businesses needed to see: those with different views working together to improve Connecticut for everyone.
Regarding the current, derailed budget process at the state capitol in Hartford; it is obvious that both massive cuts in state spending and massive new revenue flows are needed to shore-up our collapsing state economy. There are obvious, appropriate areas in which to find massive spending-reduction opportunities and massive revenue-stream opportunities which have not been thoroughly or properly addressed to this point. Here they are…
How many economists does it take to change a light bulb? None. The market will take care of it. The Connecticut gubernatorial campaign is gearing up with candidates offering “big ideas.” Sadly, these seem more like the old cereal commercial, “taste Frosted Flakes again, for the very first time.” What is missing from the current political debates is an honest discussion of the values we want to shape our future world.
As our students return to school, they know they’re beginning a year of new challenges, new ideas, and new people. Behind the scenes, however, things look a little different. Because state legislators still haven’t fixed Connecticut’s broken public school funding system, the staff at Park City Prep is going into the new school year prepared to scrape by with insufficient resources.
Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to discuss the status of our state and the current budget crisis with many leaders and officials in our local community. It pains me to hear the drastic impact Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposed cuts would make to some of the most fundamental aspects of our towns, particularly in the schools. Unfortunately, without a budget, the governor has the authority to continue making these unacceptable and arbitrary cuts. This is exactly why I have been demanding that the Speaker of the House call us into session for a budget vote.
Over the course of two legislative sessions, Connecticut lawmakers and ratepayers have received requests for financial ‘assistance’ from the Millstone Nuclear Plant. Despite Millstone spending nearly $1 million on lobbying this year alone, Hartford hasn’t been convinced. But as Gov. Dannel Malloy’s executive ordered investigation into the plant’s financial viability kicks off, it seems a moment of truth is coming for Millstone.