Forget mileage taxes; claw back diverted transportation funds

Television and published reports have recently covered the talks going on in Hartford about ways to fund Gov. Dannel Malloy’s $100 billion, 30-year transportation infrastructure plan. These include discussion of a plan to tax motorists according to the number of miles they drive. Before this plan is even considered, I have a radical idea: tally up every nickel that has been diverted from the Transportation Fund over the past 20 years — by BOTH PARTIES — along with what social programs or agencies were the recipient of those diverted funds. Then, every nickel of those diverted funds should be clawed back from their budgets and re-deposited into the Transportation Fund and used for the intended purpose of transportation infrastructure maintenance.

Connecticut’s ‘defined benefits’ pension system best for retirees

In a recent article “CT still lags most states in saving for public-sector pensions,” the Connecticut Mirror wrote about a report from Pew Charitable Trusts on the strength of pension funds around the country. The Pew report ignores a number of important pieces of context regarding the growing strength of the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds which provides a safe and secure retirement for many Connecticut families.

Governor, close Southbury, other similar state-run institutions

Connecticut likes to think of itself as a progressive state. Yet when it comes to the civil rights of those with intellectual disabilities, we are not. As Connecticut clings to a discredited institutional approach, many states — including Oklahoma and Tennessee — will observe the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with none of their citizens isolated in segregated institutions. Sadly, “progressive” Connecticut will not be able to do the same. I call on the governor to close the state’s five such institutions by the year 2020.

Gov. Malloy’s wise veto of the education commissioner bill

If you aim to limit the amount of innovation that can happen in the public education arena, one surefire method would be to keep it an insider’s game. On Monday the legislature is required to convene a veto session to consider whether to override any of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s vetoes.  At this time, it is unclear whether they will make that attempt.  One thing is clear, the legislature should not override the veto of legislation that would require future commissioners of education to meet certain qualification thresholds regarding k-12 teaching and administrative experience.

Connecticut’s ‘artful dodger’ needs better material

I’m so sick of politicians and their stoolies being allowed to get away with not directly answering questions they are asked and making claims that are untrue. I suggest, young Devon Puglia, if you are going to be an artful dodger for the artful dodger, at least put a little more thought into your deceptive answers to the real issues you wish to avoid.

To lead effectively, Connecticut’s leaders must keep their word

For progressives to be successful, we need people to trust government. In 2014 Gov. Malloy ran on the firm pledge that he would not raise taxes. That pledge has been broken. And it was broken in the context of some nimble maneuvering to circumvent the spending cap. … To make government work better we have to keep faith with the people and to do that we have to be better about keeping our word.

It’s time for Connecticut to break its bad budget habits

As recent decisions by the legislature’s budget committees show, it is not easy to meet the demands of Connecticut’s many human needs while limiting the burden on taxpayers, but solutions do exist and there is evidence they have worked in other states. The Connecticut Institute for the 21st Century (CT21.org), has produced a series of six reports outlining a “Framework for Connecticut’s Fiscal Future.”