Connecticut’s budget needs to encourage more higher ed, not hamper it

Connecticut is not getting the message sent by General Electric, Aetna and other corporations who have either left the state for greener pastures or are contemplating a move. GE pulled up stakes and relocated its corporate facilities from Fairfield to Boston, where it felt there was a far more robust “innovation pipeline,” a greater talent pool and stronger incubation opportunities. Aetna is also moving its corporate office, a bastion in Hartford for more than a century, to seek better opportunities in Manhattan.
In light of these losses, you would think we would be doing everything in our power to convince companies that Connecticut has the talent to support the needs of its employers by prioritizing funding for higher education and financial aid.

Watershed moment missed with state union contract

Our Connecticut State Legislature was faced with a truly historic choice; either dig our state out of a $5 billion biennial fiscal abyss responsibly or, once again, allow the state unions to reap asymmetrical benefits that significantly exceed both the private sector workforce and state employees from any other state in the country. The legislature chose the latter, and one of the most critical opportunities to change our state’s fiscal trajectory was squandered with the renegotiation of our state union workers contract.

Real structural changes, billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers

Democrats in the State Senate voted last week to approve significant concessions and structural changes — the types of structural changes many of us have long sought — to Connecticut’ state employee labor agreements (SEBAC). This vote is just the latest step Democrats in Connecticut have taken to make government more affordable and more efficient for our taxpayers, and the labor concessions in this agreement represent the most critical piece crafting our next biennial state budget — eliminating about a third of the projected state budget deficit.

Vacation in the real world, Mr. President

Our president is presently ensconced in his natural habitat, an exclusive golf course resort in New Jersey. This is truly sad, not merely Twitter-sad.
With this whole glorious country spread before him —from the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam— our leader has chosen to embrace a fake landscape that only the well-to-do can frequent. He won’t be bumping into many wild things, or coal miners, on this trip.

Bob Duff sells out his district on the union concession deal

Every family who lives in Bob Duff’s district and every business operating in Fairfield County needs to be aware of what their elected State Senator just did to threaten their livelihoods last week. The labor contract agreement that just passed and will now become law is another in a long line of sweetheart deals with unions negotiated by Gov. Dannel Malloy that has prolonged the fiscal crisis and created the poor economic climate our families and businesses suffer in every day.

The NAACP tells it as it is on charter schools

An English teacher friend of mine was a finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year in the mid 90’s. As one of the culminating steps in the selection process, the four finalists were instructed to research a little-known subject and present their findings to an audience. The topic was charter schools. There were no charter schools in Connecticut at the time. My friend concluded that the worth of charter schools would depend on the answers to two questions: 1) Will the innovations created at charter schools inform and improve the public schools that the vast majority of children and adolescents in the U.S. attend? 2) Will charter schools be held accountable to address student needs as traditional public schools are required to do?

CDC budget cuts threaten the fight against ‘superbugs’

Why are President Trump’s proposed cuts to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) such a bad idea? One big reason is that they are on the forefront of what Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC Director, rightly called “one of our most serious health threats” — killer antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The biggest concessions in state union agreement came from taxpayers

Connecticut families and businesses need to understand the state union agreement the legislature has just approved and what it means for them. While one union leader called it “the best and longest public-sector pension and healthcare contract in the country,” its far-reaching budgetary consequences will likely not draw such enthusiasm from Connecticut taxpayers.

Connecticut must lead the way on universal healthcare

Affordable, quality health care can’t become a luxury: it’s a fundamental need, and access to it must become a fundamental right. Creating a single-payer system is the most effective way to guarantee access to healthcare for every person. … It’s time for Congress to advance a public healthcare system that provides every American — and all 3.6 million Connecticut residents — with affordable, quality healthcare. If Congress refuses to do it in Washington, it’s up to us to do it here in Connecticut.

The MTA management meltdown

It’s not just the summer heat that’s causing an operational meltdown at the MTA, parent agency of Metro-North and the NYC subways.  It’s the years of neglect, under-funding and misplaced priorities that are taking a toll on our vital transit infrastructure. And it’s only going to get worse, as the President of Metro-North has chosen to retire, long before his work is done.