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.

Reducing illiteracy will help close Connecticut’s achievement gap

One in four children in our country grows up functionally illiterate, according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. Did you know we spend $2 billion nationally every year on students repeating a grade because they face challenges reading? The state of Connecticut currently sees the second largest wealth inequality in the United States. While the state ranks as the fourth richest in the United States, children are still in need. On Feb. 25, Pi Beta Phi will donate 20,000 brand new books to Hartford groups serving low-income families at a book distribution through Pi Beta Phi’s partnership with First Book®.

Data contradicts popular myths about towns’ ability to pay

In an article published in the Connecticut Mirror dated February 10 (“Legislators begin to push back on Malloy’s new budget”), Ben Barnes, budget director for Gov. Dannel Malloy, supports shifting tens of millions of dollars of school and other expenses to the towns. This shift, besides being a likely economic impossibility, ignores the fact that Connecticut is one of 33 states without a local income tax option.

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.

A toast for Thanksgiving day in Connecticut

I’m thankful for growing up in a community with such wonderful diversity. I’m thankful to call the same place home where Tracey and I can raise our children to appreciate an even more diverse world. I’m thankful to live in a state that is tolerant, promotes the rights of all people and will always keep a close eye on those among us who have the least. I’m thankful to live in a nation where I can dream of doing great things, move freely from place to place and speak my mind. I’m thankful for the people of Norwalk and Darien for electing me to a job that I truly love.

Westport Dems: No place here for xenophobia, misogyny, and intolerance

Since Election Day, the Westport Democratic Town Committee has heard from many people in our community who are struggling to reconcile themselves to this [presidential] result and what it means for our nation. Tuesday night, a week after Election Day, we had a record turnout at our monthly meeting. People who had never attended a DTC meeting before came to express their fear, their anger, and their worry about the future. They spoke of sleepless nights, of difficult conversations with their children, and of feeling like foreigners in their own country.
In the past week, incidents of racial intimidation and hate speech have sharply risen all around the nation. Sadly, our town has not been immune.

Canton needs a ‘smarter, visionary’ choice on town garage issue

The focus this year has been on the national political races with all their ugliness, hyperbole, and vehemence. It is interesting to observe the same phenomenon playing out in Canton, which is voting on a referendum about whether to reconstruct the town DPW garage in its current location on the Farmington River.

Targeting business for Connecticut:  Attract globally, welcome locally

In football, no matter how perfect the spiral leaving the quarterback’s hand, no matter if the pass is aimed precisely right, if the receiver fails to turn around when the pass arrives it is likely to bounce away incomplete. Or be intercepted. Much the same is true when the state and its municipalities consider economic development. The guiding phrase should be “attract globally, welcome locally.” One without the other will not get the job done.

A school funding inequity solution: Better housing policy

A state Superior Court judge heard final arguments last month on the limits of the state’s responsibility in financing the education of all students, including those with low incomes living largely in urban school districts. He is expected to rule this week. How can our state, our taxpayers, spend more to take care of all “our kids” when court decisions are already forcing the state to spend hundreds of millions of dollars desegregating Hartford schools and caring for abused and neglected children? As a mother, and a housing professional, I think I know one clear answer.