From tipping point to turnaround

We hear every day that the national economy is strong.  Not true here.  Connecticut has been left out and left behind. Across our state, people are struggling.  Businesses are leaving.  Job opportunities are scarce.  Home values are falling.  Spirits are down and trust between citizens and Hartford is broken. This once vibrant New England leader is on life support.  November’s election will determine whether we continue to sink or begin to revive our economy and restore hope.  We are at a tipping point, and only Republicans can bring us back.

All those opposed to mother’s milk…

In the tornado-like news cycle under President TwitterDee (aka TwitterDum), telling issues have a shorter lifespan than mayflies, one OMG moment is quickly eclipsed by next, ad nauseam, whether it’s about the leader of the free world cozying up to Vlad the Impaler or a porn star. One wonders how many TwitterDee devotees are opposed to mother’s milk. His administration is.

Celebrating immigrant heritage reflects Connecticut’s strength

The contrast could not be more stark. As the pace of preparation accelerates for the annual induction ceremony for the Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame in Connecticut, the daily headlines trumpet a more hesitant, even hostile, view of immigrants and their continuing contributions to our state and nation. Immersed in the histories of immigrants thriving in our state, historically and currently, the invective aimed lately at the next generation of immigrants is concerning, as they, like others before them, seek to contribute to this nation while providing their families with the safety and opportunity that America has long exemplified.

Connecticut’s travel trainers

Imagine being afraid to ride the bus, or being unable to read a timetable. Can you think of what your life would be like without access to a car or mass transit? There are hundreds of our neighbors who live lives of isolation because they are physically, emotionally or mentally unable to ride the bus or train. Some have physical handicaps while others are autistic or have learning disabilities. Shouldn’t they be able to travel like the rest of us?

What’s at stake in the race for lieutenant governor

Two hours before dawn on August 22, 1991, a tie vote in the state Senate was broken by Lowell Weicker’s lieutenant governor, whose action guaranteed that a state income tax would be imposed on the people of Connecticut. The spending spree enabled by that infamous vote was the chief cause of our subsequent economic decline.  Since the tax took effect, we rank dead last in economic growth among the 50 states. It matters who breaks ties in the Connecticut Senate.

Criticisms of the kneeling protest are ‘hollow, self-serving, gratuitous’

The continuous unfolding news accounts of Haddam Selectwoman Melissa Schlag and her exercise of free speech rights by taking a knee on July 16 and kneeling on both knees at (the July 30) Monday’s Board of Selectmen fortnightly meetings have drawn the attention of the state and nation, with a mix of ire and support by local residents and veterans as her actions were vilified loudly by political campaigners for statewide office, and later with an additional pile on by other candidates.

Connecticut’s four-year public state university graduation rates fall short

Low completion rates are a problem at some of Connecticut’s four-year public state institutions. A recent report outlining the number of bachelor’s degree earners reveals a significant gap in the graduation rates between the four-year public state institutions that make up the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities and the University of Connecticut. Although in-state, undergraduate tuition costs at each of the five public institutions are the same, their graduation rates are vastly different. The CSCU graduation rates are lagging behind those at UConn, and strategies need to be instituted in the CSCU system to correct this discrepancy.

An inexcusable and costly failure to fund juvenile review boards

For years, legislators sang the praises of juvenile review boards, because community-based JRBs helped kids succeed more frequently– and more cheaply – than the juvenile justice system. But when the General Assembly moved juvenile justice from one state agency to another, it neglected to move the funding for JRBs that serve our largest cities. That means fewer second chances and fewer essential services – mainly for young people of color and from disadvantaged backgrounds. Our state frequently cannot find the money to support these youth, though the funding for the more expensive strategies of prosecution and even incarceration is never in short supply.

Connecticut’s pension problems come from over-promising, not underfunding

Based on a new study by Wirepoints released in June, Connecticut once again makes the rogue’s gallery of pensions for state employees. Most analyses of pensions focus on the unfunded liability – amounts due for which no funds have been provided.  This type of analysis leads to the logical conclusion that more funding – more taxpayer dollars – is required to close the funding gap. Connecticut’s current governor and legislature have indeed been very good at raising taxes – the largest increases in our history over the last few years – but still unfunded pension obligations continue to grow.