Once again Connecticut legislators are scouring every crevice for new sources to cover our over-budgeted projects. Monday multiple House Democrats yet again purpose the installation of tolls. State rep. Tony Guerrera , House chair of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, states “I promise you if we do this, this state will thrive.”
Recent reports of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s desire to erect electronic tolling on select state roads is a slap in the face to those who pay taxes in Connecticut and purchase gasoline or diesel fuel for use in their vehicles and equipment. For decades, funds that were legislated to be collected for transportation development and maintenance have been diverted to the General Fund to be used for non-transportation purposes.
Fare hikes, rail service cuts and a freeze on transportation projects. As he promised in December, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced them all last month. Rail commuters and highway drivers are justifiably outraged, but they should direct their anger not at the Governor or Connecticut Department of Transportation but at the legislature.
In news that shouldn’t surprise anybody, Hartford politicians and bureaucrats have spent this past month declaring the state “desperately” needs more money. By now, Connecticut residents attuned to this rhetoric realize that “new revenue sources” just means “more taxes.” The proposed remedy in this case: tolls. DOT Commissioner James Redeker recently toured the state proclaiming that the Special Transportation Fund (STF), money that is funded by one of the highest gas taxes in the country and purportedly reserved solely for transportation, is out of money and only tolls can save it.
A “minimally adequate system of free public schools” is the new court standard for State education funding. Town and School leaders are stunned by the recent CCJEF v. Rell ruling. Unless reconsidered, the responsibility of moving our state education system forward rests with state elected leadership. We hope they accept this challenge and adopt a higher standard. Our state’s future depends on making this the top priority and working together to provide more than a minimally adequate education system.
Connecticut is poised for a serious debate over the size and role of its future government as it prepares for a new legislative session in February and a new business-led economic commission due to issue its report on March 1. How should the state view the options during this historic debate? Connecticut has assets most states can only dream about: an enviable location; a highly skilled workforce; world-renowned educational, medical and cultural institutions; a diversified economy; and an attractive quality of life. Yet, we are inundated with a bleak one-dimensional narrative of failure, job loss and stagnation.
Indifference manifests itself in ignorance, silence and acceptance. Turning our backs to the injustices suffered by the marginalized, vulnerable, and victimized in our local communities and around the world is a weak and heartless admission that the status quo is just fine with us when it doesn’t affect our lives directly — at least not yet. And that’s a very big “yet” because unchecked turmoil can arrive anytime at our doorsteps regardless of who we think we are.
This week it was announced that Gov. Malloy, along with Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Phil Murphy, is joining a lawsuit challenging the new federal tax laws that put restrictions on state and local tax deductions. Malloy argues the new tax laws discriminate against mostly blue states that voted against President Trump. However, what has these Democrats quite obviously excited is a cut to tax deductions unearths how poor these states’ budgets and taxes are.
As the daughter of an immigrant who raised his two daughters to believe that this is the greatest country in the world, I have always been proud of what our country stands for. That’s why when the call came asking if I would attend this week’s State of the Union Address, I felt an odd mix of excitement and sadness. Excitement to be a part of an American tradition taking place in the history-ladened halls of our national Capitol; sadness because I knew why I was being singled out for this honor and opportunity. I am the CEO of Fair Haven Community Health Care, a community health center in New Haven, which provides care to over 18,000 low-income residents of our community. Community health centers in the U.S. are currently under siege, due to the chaotic bipartisan bickering that has come to be the hallmark of my beloved government. Congresswoman DeLauro’s choice for her guest is one way she can shine a spotlight on the plight of Community Health Centers.
January 26 is this year’s Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day. Awareness is important to the success of this program, for both the families and the communities it serves. As a tax attorney and Connecticut’s representative to the IRS Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, I want to share information about the importance of the EITC.