QUICK LINKS:  "About Town" bills of interest;  C.G.A. site (tracking, etc.) ;  analysis of bills, Office of Legislative Research (OLR);  Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA).
LINK to Swiss alps annual event;  Comptroller's search on CT budget elements.  CT General Statutes -
THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY LONG SESSION - January 7 - June 3Special Session(s) here after June 2012


Seventeen days to go - COURANT article here.

Barnes Pegs 2015 Budget Deficit at $164.9M
by Christine Stuart | May 20, 2015 4:31pm

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget office is projecting that the state will end the 2015 fiscal year June 30 with a $164.9 million deficit.

That’s an increase of $3.2 million since the last estimates were released April 30. Since that time revenue has declined $24.3 million, according to Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes’ monthly letter to state Comptroller Kevin Lembo.

Barnes said the decrease in revenue is offset by a $21 million improvement — a decrease — on the expenditure side.

“Administrative efforts to reduce the remaining deficit, including heightened scrutiny of position refills and contract requests, continue to be made in an effort to limit year-end expenditures to those that are critical for state operations,” Barnes wrote...story in full:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/barnes_pegs_2015_budget_deficit_at_164.9m/

Southeastern Connecticut delegation split on state budget provisions

By Colin A. Young, The Day
Published May 16. 2015 6:20PM
Updated May 16. 2015 7:04PM 

By the end of the legislative session next month, the General Assembly must adopt a two-year budget for the state. As the process stands, legislators are weighing — and ultimately must reconcile — three distinct budget proposals.

The Day asked members of the local delegation to talk about what they would and wouldn't support among the choices that could be part of the budget that eventually emerges. Southeastern Connecticut has two Republican and two Democratic state senators. The 11 House of Representative districts in the region are almost evenly split between six Republicans and five Democrats...story in full:   http://www.theday.com/local/20150516/southeastern-connecticut-delegation-split-on-state-budget-provisions



Piece of cake (to veto) or was that "let them eat cake" like Marie Antoinette?
"A plague on both your houses"  from Shakespeare and applied by Gov. Malloy:  http://ctmirror.org/2015/04/30/malloy-scorns-loth-parties-legislative-budget-plans/

Tax plan would boost revenues by $1.9 billion over two years

By: Keith M. Phaneuf | April 29, 2015

Members of a key legislative panel will be asked Wednesday to approve a plan that bolsters tax receipts by almost $1.9 billion in the next two year budget, including nearly $600 million in new income taxes on the wealthy and an overhaul of the sales tax.

The package to be presented to majority Democrats on the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee would boost taxes almost $1.4 billion over the next two years, according to a listing of proposals obtained by The Mirror. It also would cancel or postpone nearly $500 million in tax breaks approved in the last term but scheduled to begin in the next two-year budget. These involve the working poor, corporations and insurance companies.

The plan, was scheduled to be discussed in a closed-door Democratic caucus starting at 11 a.m. If supported by members, it is expected to be presented to the full committee for action later Wednesday.

Other components of that revenue plan, which likely will be revised during final negotiations with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration, include: more than $350 million in tax increases on corporations; a further tax hike on hospitals, but less than the increase Malloy has sought; and a provision to allow keno gambling in Connecticut bars and restaurants.

The single-largest net tax hike under consideration involves the income tax and what would amount to the fourth increase in this tax since its enactment in 1991...stay tuned, as Democrat caucus decides these matters...more later!

Cost To Settle Union Lawsuit Over Rowland Layoffs: $100M

Hartford Courant
Jon Lender
April 28, 2015

HARTFORD — It will cost taxpayers between $100 million and $125 million to settle a 12-year-old lawsuit by a coalition of unions against the state on behalf of more than 2,500 unionized workers who were laid off in 2003 by then-Gov. John G. Rowland, General Assembly leaders were told Tuesday afternoon...story in full:  http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-lawsuit-settlement-20150428-story.html

Panel will consider plan to boost CT income taxes on the wealthy
By: Keith M. Phaneuf | April 28, 2015

The legislature’s tax-writing panel Wednesday will consider recommending an increase in income taxes on Connecticut’s wealthiest households, retroactive to Jan. 1, to help close the large deficit in the next budget, according to sources.

The Democrat-controlled Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee also will consider significantly extending the sales tax to new goods and services as part of a plan to overhaul non-education municipal aid and limit local car taxes.

In addition, the plan would move another major segment of state finances outside of the constitutional spending cap.

The committee, which must recommend a revenue plan for the next two fiscal years by Friday, was set to meet starting at 11 a.m. The panel is expected to recess shortly after convening, though, to allow Democratic and Republican members to discuss the proposals privately in their respective closed-door caucuses.

The co-chairmen of the finance committee, Sen. John Fonfara, D-Hartford, and Rep. Jeffrey Berger, D-Waterbury, both have said they were open to applying the sales tax to more items and then using some of that revenue to provide some type of relief aimed at middle-income families.

Fonfara also told The Mirror last week that the idea of imposing higher income taxes on the wealthy remained under consideration. Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, said in March he favored restoring a special rate on capital gains or other investment earnings, which have been taxed at the same rate as all other income since 1991...

Story in full:  http://ctmirror.org/2015/04/28/panel-will-consider-plan-to-boost-ct-income-taxes-on-the-wealthy/

What me worry?

Lawmaker's set to add money back to budget
Ken Dixon, CT POST
Published 2:26 pm, Monday, April 27, 2015    

HARTFORD -- Saying the governor's budget proposal was too harsh on social services, the Legislature's budget committee is poised to offer a budget plan that adds an additional $600 million to the proposed $40 billion budget.

The plan includes an accounting move that would remove a billion dollars from the constitutional spending cap that is bound to generate Republican criticism when the committee debates and votes this afternoon...story in full:   http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Lawmaker-s-set-to-add-money-back-to-budget-6226566.php

$58,000 Finnish speeding ticket based on millionaire’s income
New York Times (in Greenwich TIME)
Updated 4:04 pm, Sunday, April 26, 2015

HELSINKI — Getting a speeding ticket is not a feel-good moment for anyone. But consider Reima Kuisla, a Finnish businessman.

He was recently fined 54,024 euros ($58,000) for traveling a modest, if illegal, 64 mph in a 50 mph zone. And no, the 54,024 euros did not turn out to be a typo, or a mistake of any kind.

Kuisla is a millionaire, and in Finland the fines for more serious speeding infractions are calculated according to income. The thinking is that if it stings for the little guy, it should sting for the big guy, too.

The ticket had its desired effect. Kuisla, 61, took to Facebook last month with 12 furious posts in which he included a picture of his speeding ticket and a picture of what 54,024 euros could buy if it was not going to the state coffers — a new Mercedes. He said he was seriously considering leaving Finland altogether...

Will Finance, Revenue & Bonding make like Finland to pay for all this?
Budget panel would blow by spending cap to reduce social services, education cuts
By: Keith M. Phaneuf, Arielle Levin Becker and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas | April 27, 2015

CT-N has the press conference available to watch - Majority Leaders of Appropriations explained blowing by the spending cap as a "bipartisan" act (eg Republicans restored money for parks) which they thought was a good idea - also hospitals.  But Democrats had $$ for social services restoration - Governor's Budget had cut it...I call this kabuki theater.

Story in full:  http://ctmirror.org/2015/04/27/budget-committee-would-spend-470-million-more-than-malloy/

After lunch...@12:30pm

Committee To Vote On Budget Package
by Christine Stuart | Apr 27, 2015 5:29am

First will come the Appropriations vote to spend money ("budget package") today - will it differ from the Governor's Budget? Later in the week, the Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee figures out how to pay for all of it...

And on another subject...State Tax Panel doings:  http://www.cga.ct.gov/fin/taskforce.asp?TF=20140929_State%20Tax%20Panel


We are shocked to hear about this...
For those not familiar with this website's "humor" - remember this scene from movie Casablanca?  And our previous comment on "shared sacrifice?"

Our opinion is that one-Party government is by definition not expected to be...democratic.  The opinion of Jonatnan Pelto on this matter.
For even to the most cynical, the recent CT Mirror’s story entitled, “Is it a gag order or the Malloy administration speaking with one voice?” is utterly shocking and should make Connecticut residents extremely uncomfortable and very queasy.

...Wanting to “control the dialogue” is one thing, interfering with the Constitutionally mandated role of the Connecticut General Assembly is beyond contempt.

The CTMirror article concludes;

    “Barnes wrote Tuesday in a statement to The Mirror that, “We work together, as one administration, with all our commissioners and agency heads. This is a budget filled with tough choices, but they are the best ones to keep Connecticut on a path towards a brighter future. The Governor, through his office and through OPM, remains willing to discuss his budget proposals, or any other specific proposals legislators make, at any time. Executive branch employees are professionals who can’t be expected to publicly advocate for positions at odds with the Governor as a part of their job.”

Barnes’ statement is a bizarre and weak excuse for a policy approach that promotes secrecy and violates the most basic tenets of an open and transparent government.

The Democratic majority in the Connecticut House of Representatives should put down their budget pens, set aside their budget calculators and tell the Governor and his administration that he is out of line, that he has gone amok, and that no further action will be taken on Malloy’s proposed budget until this outrageous memo is rescinded and Connecticut’s state commissioners and agency heads are instructed to be open and honest with all of the members of the legislative branch of government whose obligation is to review and revise the governor’s proposed budget and then adopt a budget that carries the weight of law.
..opinion in full here:  http://jonathanpelto.com/2015/04/08/governor-malloy-administrations-gag-order-is-nothing-short-of-putinesque/

Is Connecticut still number one (data from 2011) in these conflicting, or not, categories?  Like per capita debt and per capita income
IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING...WHERE CAREER POLS GO AFTER THEY'VE MILKED US DRY?  CT looking at BIG deficits now and into the future - concerned that the rest of us have to be limited to Social Security and what we've managed to save for retirement - check out this column:  http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-lender-magic-pension-years-0329-20150328-column.html

Lawmakers Struggle With Spending Cap
by Christine Stuart | Mar 26, 2015 12:05pm

Anti-poverty advocates and residents who benefit from the state’s social service programs visited the state Capitol Wednesday to lobby lawmakers against many of the $1.3 billion in spending cuts included in Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget.

The decision to drop parents from the state’s Medicaid program for low-income families, reduce reimbursement for doctors who accept Medicaid patients, reductions in funding for legal service programs and families of children with disabilities, are just a few of the spending cuts advocates find unacceptable.

Sen. Beth Bye, co-chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, told advocates Wednesday that there are many cuts she also finds “untenable.”

But this year’s budget is “a really difficult puzzle,” Bye said.

It’s difficult partly because it’s $54 million over the spending cap in 2016.

The cap, which was instituted at the same time as the income tax, is calculated by tying increases in state spending to either personal income growth or the rate of inflation. The governor’s budget director discovered days after unveiling the budget that it was $54 million over the spending cap. But he declined to offer any revisions and left any changes up to the legislature

Last week, Bye said the committee is looking at all of its options when it comes to putting together a spending proposal.

There are people who think “we shouldn’t look for ways around the spending cap problem” and there are others who believe it’s okay to move spending outside the cap, Bye said. All of those options are being weighed.

The General Assembly would need a 3/5ths majority to approve spending beyond the cap. That would require bipartisan support, which doesn’t exist. Several Republican lawmakers have said they have a strict interpretation of the spending cap and will be watching the Democratic majority closely to see what they decide to do with the budget...story in full:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/lawmakers_struggle_with_spending_cap/

Current state budget slips deeper into the red

By: Keith M. Phaneuf | March 20, 2015

The state’s budget rollercoaster ride through the current fiscal year took another dip Friday as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration reported a $133 million deficit, more than doubling the red ink from one month ago.

In its monthly letter to Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo, the governor’s budget office said its deficit forecast had worsened by almost $72 million over the past month.

About $45 million of that change involves federal Medicaid payments that will be less than originally anticipated, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes wrote to Lembo. Another $18 million involves a shortfall in projected receipts from the state’s tax on hospitals...

Story in full:  http://ctmirror.org/2015/03/20/current-state-budget-slips-deeper-into-the-red/


We are somewhat confused.
  Perhaps it is just the realignment in Majority Party power?  

Story in full re:  distribution of state education funding of public schools:  http://ctmirror.org/2015/03/04/municipal-leaders-upset-with-malloys-distribution-of-state-aid-to-cities-towns/

Story in full re:  real property taxation of private education providers of higher learning:  http://www.registercitizen.com/government-and-politics/20150304/leaders-of-connecticuts-small-private-colleges-oppose-taxing-property

IS WESTON AT RISK IN STATE BUDGET?  At ZBA Public Hearing on gun range, we note the bust of Dave Geismar, founder of Weston EMS.
During the terms of George Guidera, Dave was the spokeman and initiator of the idea for Weston-Wilton-Norwalk Hospital Paramedic Service 

Weston to have this situation soon?  Norwalk Hospital and intercept program shared with Wilton in danger?

We quote from The Day article in part:

Paramedic care in southeastern Connecticut could be among hospital services in jeopardy under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's proposed two-year state budget.

That message was delivered to the General Assembly's Appropriations Committee Friday by Ron Kersey, coordinator for emergency medical services at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London. Kersey, who also manages the paramedic intercept program at L+M, told lawmakers during a public hearing in Hartford that the 27-year-old paramedic service is running a $500,000 annual deficit and will not be able to continue providing mobile medical care services without financial support from the seven shoreline area towns it serves.

The seven towns - East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, New London, North Stonington, Stonington and Waterford - are also facing significant financial challenges, he said.

"Once upon a time," he said in his testimony, "the hospital was able to absorb this loss. Not anymore, however."
Story in full:  http://www.theday.com/local/20150228/hospitals-balk-at-latest-tax-increase-other-malloy-budget-moves

Others who followed this policy.

They Hate The Cuts, But Malloy Doubts They Will Increase Taxes
by Christine Stuart and Hugh McQuaid | Feb 27, 2015 12:26pm

(Updated 1:20 p.m.)

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy acknowledged Thursday that the legislature hates cuts in his proposed budget and lacks consensus to raise taxes. But the governor said a lot can change in the three months before a budget plan must be approved.
...In addition to canceling tax credits for various programs, Malloy proposed increasing the tax on hospitals.  The tax was implemented by the Malloy administration a few years ago.

“I had to scratch my head wondering why we’re taxing a virtuous activity,” Sen. L. Scott Frantz, R-Greenwich, told Malloy’s budget director Ben Barnes Thursday.

“It’s like why do you rob banks?” Barnes interjected. “It’s where the money is.”

“That’s on the record sir,” Frantz replied...


Three takes on the same thing:

#1 -CT MIRROR:  http://ctmirror.org/2015/02/24/more-cuts-needed-malloy-budget-bursts-spending-cap/
#2 - Calculation Error Puts Malloy’s Budget Over State Spending Cap CTNEWSJUNKIE
by Hugh McQuaid | Feb 24, 2015 3:09pm
A calculation error acknowledged Tuesday by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget office puts the governor’s budget proposal $54 million over the state spending cap in 2016 and will force the administration to propose adjustments...story in full:   http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/calculation_error_puts_malloys_budget_over_state_spending_cap/
#3 - Miscalculation Changes Spending Cap; Cuts Needed
Hartford Courant
By Christopher Keating
Feb. 24, 2015, 5:31pm
Due to a complicated miscalculation, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's proposed budget is currently $54.5 million over the state's spending cap for the next fiscal year.
Malloy's budget office is changing the number for the cap - meaning the state will have less money to spend than expected n the next fiscal year.
State budget chief Ben Barnes made the announcement Tuesday, saying it was related to a miscalculation in the growth in personal income - a key statistic that is used to calculate the amount of the state-mandated spending cap each year...story in full:  http://www.courant.com/politics/capitol-watch/hc-miscalculation-changes-spending-cap-cuts-needed-20150224-story.html

Cuts to UCONN story in full:  http://www.theday.com/article/20150224/NWS12/150229864/1047

His plan may be to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to balance CT budget - a lot coming home to roost (r).

Treasurer: Malloy plan could harm state’s reputation with investors
By: Keith M. Phaneuf | February 20, 2015

State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier warned Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Friday that one component of his new budget could harm Connecticut’s reputation on Wall Street.

In a letter released to the media Friday evening, Nappier – a Democrat – called the Democratic governor's plan to rely on $325 million in borrowing to cover operating costs “too aggressive...” 

Both Malloy and Nappier have faced increasing criticism from Republican legislative leaders over the past year for the state’s growing reliance on what are commonly referred to as “bond premiums.”

The state, in some instances when issuing bonds, will pay a higher interest rate than originally planned in return for a premium – extra money to the state in addition to the bonds’ face value.  This is a tool that helps the treasurer market bonds, particularly when interest rates are low.

But rather than using those premiums to accelerate debt reduction, the governor and the Democrat-controlled legislature have used them in recent years to build up the state’s fiscal reserves, or to close past budget deficits.  Critics argue this not only involves borrowing to cover operating expenses, but it drives up the interest rates the state pays on many of its capital projects.

The state has taken more than $400 million in bond premiums since Malloy became governor.

And Benjamin Barnes, Malloy’s budget chief, confirmed Thursday when questioned by the legislature’s Appropriations Committee, that the proposed budget would rely on bond premiums to cover the $325 million gap in the biennial debt service account.

“This has been a longstanding practice,” Barnes told the committee, adding that the administration would expect critics to find spending cuts elsewhere in the budget to replace the anticipated bond premiums.

But Nappier warned Malloy in her letter that interest rates are expected to rise this fall – a development that traditionally reduces investors’ willingness to pay premiums.  To count on those funds, “before they are realized,” she added, “is equivalent to counting one’s chickens before they hatch.”

Story in full:  http://ctmirror.org/2015/02/20/treasurer-malloy-plan-could-harm-states-reputation-with-investors/

Republicans Restore Social Services At Expense of State Employee Unions
by Christine Stuart | Apr 24, 2015 2:21pm

Cutting to the chase..."The Republican proposal asks the governor to find $253 million annually in savings his administration was never able to find after it inked a deal with the coalition of state unions four years ago. The $253 million in savings from the so-called “employee suggestion box” and technology improvements was never achieved. The Republican budget suggests the unions help the administration find those savings.

“We are not asking any state union employee to give up anything more than what was promised several years ago by the governor,” Fasano said. “...when the ink dried and things happened it was $253 million still unaccounted for and what we’re saying listen let’s put that back in the pot.”  Story in full:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/republicans_restore_social_services_at_expense_of_state_employee_unions/

GOVERNOR MALLOY SETS OUT HIS VISION...his speech - click here.

Governor's Budget Address depends on this?  We hope not.  Note high percentage of debt payment in this budget.  He said:

"...But there are a few things I will not do.

  • I will not support any effort to exceed our spending cap by emergency declaration.
  • I will not support an early retirement incentive – an idea that may save money now, but costs us much more in the long run.
  • And I will not sign a budget that is balanced on the backs of our towns or our public schools.
  • Within this framework, I will listen to anyone who has serious ideas on how we can make this budget better.
  • If you’re willing to offer detailed proposals for saving money and growing our economy, you will be heard. But if it’s just about partisan gamesmanship, I’m not interested – and I don’t think Connecticut families are interested either..."
Please note the immediate comment in full, objecting to  by the Judicial BranchBelow a direct quote from CTNEWSJUNKIE:
"Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers issued a statement objecting to Malloy’s effort to 'dismantle' the judiciary’s Court Support Services Division.

'Our concern is that we have seen no evidence substantiating how this proposal will result in greater efficiencies or better outcomes in the criminal justice system, the juvenile justice system or the family court system,” she said. “Additionally, we do not agree that the proposal will result in budgetary savings'

Rogers said the division’s programs and their assessment tools have been crafted over 30 years and are nationally recognized.

'These programs and tools are fully integrated into the court process and are utilized by judges every day to best serve the criminal justice system, the juvenile justice system and the family court system in Connecticut,' she said."

Report in full from Comptroller here
Lembo Predicts Bigger Deficit, Doubts Personal Income Growth
by Christine Stuart | Mar 2, 2015 1:09pm

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo is projecting that the state budget will end the year with a $101.2 million deficit, which is $40 million more than Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget office projected last month.

Malloy’s budget office projected that the state would end the year with a $61.2 million deficit.

The difference? Lembo told Malloy he disagrees with his budget office’s estimates of personal income growth...story in full:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/lembo_predicts_bigger_deficit_doubts_personal_income_growth/


ANOTHER VIEW IN CT MIRROR:  The story in the CTNEWSJUNKIE explains the smoke and mirrors aspect of any economic projections nowadays.

...“It was brutal,” Barnes said. “I believe the decision to land here is one of conscience.”

The administration pegs the first-year shortfall at $1.1 billion, while legislative analysts say the state is facing a $1.3 billion budget gap in the fiscal year that begins July 1 and $1.4 billion the following year, based on projections of available revenues and the funding required to maintain current services.

A cuts-only approach also would have been an abrogation of sorts, a de facto invitation to the Democratic legislature to set aside the administration’s proposal and instead consider a significant tax increase.

...His new proposal makes no major demands of labor: It has no across-the-board layoffs, no furloughs and no early-retirement incentives, but he intends to keep positions open longer to save an additional $25 million.

Some labor force dislocation seems inevitable from the closing of a prison. Barnes said Scott Semple, the commissioner of correction, would decide on which institution to close.

More than half the $39.96 billion, two-year budget is beyond the reach of cuts, because of labor contracts and entitlements. The Department of Developmental Services, whose programs for persons with intellectual disabilities are largely discretionary, would get only a minimal increase, even though demands for its services are growing.

"That will hurt," Barnes said.

Public colleges and universities, which already lost about 2 percent of their funding this year to emergency cuts ordered by Malloy, would lose another 1 percent in the fiscal year that begins July 1.  The spending plan falls under the constitutional spending cap by a narrow margin, roughly $6 million in the first year, though it’s about $125 million under in the second year.

...The administration can expect heat over proposed changes to corporation tax credit rules that would cause businesses to pay an extra $100 million over the next two years. The state’s business lobby has argued for years that this approach represents a tax increase, albeit one achieved without changing the corporation tax rate.

It also wants to broaden a controversial hospital provider tax.

The administration insists extra payments by hospitals – about $150 million per year – all would be returned to the industry in an effort to leverage more federal aid. But it took the same approach in 2011 when it imposed the original $350 million provider tax – only to gradually reduce payments back to hospitals starting one year after it was enacted.

An industry that once paid $350 million to the state and received $400 million back the same year, still pays the same this year, yet gets less than $100 million back.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be...
New Haven Alderman Jorge Perez To Head Banking Department
by Hugh McQuaid | Feb 13, 2015 1:01pm  

“...Yes, I’ve been a banker for over 25 years. But I will remind you that prior to being a banker, and still today, I’ve also been a community activist. I have always been an advocate,” Perez said.  Story in full:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/new_haven_alderman_jorge_perez_to_head_banking_department/

When in February were Presidents Washington & Lincoln born?  Ans.  Feb. 22 and Feb. 12 (LOB closed)
Malloy Proposes Sales Tax Cut In Next Fiscal Year
Hartford Courant
By Christopher Keating
Feb. 15, 2015

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy proposed a cut in the state's sales tax both this year and in the future - surprising legislators and insiders Sunday in a tough budget year.

The sales tax would be reduced from its current rate of 6.35 percent down to 6.2 percent in November - after the new fiscal year starts. The tax would then drop to 5.95 percent in 2017 - to its lowest level since 1971.

The move marks a reversal from 2011 when Malloy and the Democratic-controlled legislature raised the 6 percent sales tax to the current level of 6.35 percent as part of the largest tax increase in state history.

Malloy made the announcement during a taping of the weekly "Face The State'' program with longtime host Dennis House on WFSB-TV...story in full:  http://www.courant.com/politics/capitol-watch/hc-face-the-state-malloy-to-propose-sales-tax-cut-20150215-story.html

Biennial budget to be delivered and it was and then...

Budget Chief: Malloy Will Keep No-Tax Pledge

Hartford Courant
Chrisopher Keating
February 3, 2015 12:38pm

...Barnes spoke Tuesday at the annual budget forum of New Haven-based Connecticut Voices for Children, an advocacy group that closely studies state spending. During a question-and-answer session, Barnes spoke in detail about the ramifications if the state raised taxes on the wealthiest residents or tried to tax their assets.

If taxes are raised too high on the wealthiest, "they would leave,'' Barnes told the group, which has advocated in the past for tax increases on the wealthy. "They are highly mobile, and they have the resources to pick up and leave.''

The fact that Connecticut has so many affluent residents, including billionaires, is "a blessing, in my view, and something that we should nurture,'' Barnes said.

At the same time, he said it is "distressing'' that the United States has an economic system that allows creation of huge income gaps between the richest and the poorest.

"If we were to start taxing the assets of individuals, they would go,'' Barnes said, adding that such a tax "hasn't been done in this country.''

Connecticut clearly competes with other states for residents, particularly among the elderly, and some of that is based on taxes, he said.

"Florida has sunshine 365 days a year and no state income tax and no inheritance tax,'' Barnes said. "There are a lot of reasons to be there.''

Story in full:  http://www.courant.com/politics/capitol-watch/hc-budget-chief-malloy-will-keep-notax-pledge-20150203-story.html


LWVCT ED FUND 2011 Fall Conference...BACK IN BUSINESS:  Workforce Development for Connecticut's Economic Future

Discussion of the above topic online here:  http://www.lwvweston.org/FALLCONFERENCE2011.html

Plainfield at the opposite end of CT from Weston.  At right, link to Courant report on Plainfield here;  And at Plainfield High School an expert addresses 800 people.

State officials review earthquake plan at Hartford meeting
Izaskun Larraneta

Updated January 16. 2015 2:50PM

Hartford — Behind closed doors at the State Emergency Operation Center, state and federal officials met Friday to discuss how the state would respond to a damaging earthquake.

The meeting was triggered by a recent "cluster" of small earthquakes (typically less than 4.0 on the Richter scale) that have struck the Plainfield area since Jan. 8. There have been 11 quakes, the strongest of which peaked on Monday morning at a magnitude of 3.3, which some residents said sounded like an explosion.

There have been no reports of any new tremors on Friday, so far.

After the meeting, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner Dora B. Schriro said that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was concerned about the earthquakes and wanted to make sure that the state was prepared if disaster struck.

"We looked at the status and reviewed the plans in place, which are quite robust, and then we took a look down the road and said if something extraordinary were to happen … in what way would we need to tweak those plans," said Schriro.

The town of Plainfield also plans to host a meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Plainfield High School to discuss the earthquakes...and for another report:  From the Day - newspaper from Plainfield area:

State Contractors can’t make political donations – oh – except to benefit Malloy
What Wait blog
Jon Pelto
Jan. 15, 2015

...Whereas John Rowland’s campaign finance reports were filled with the names of major state contractors such as the Tomasso Brothers Corporation, the Gilbane Company and the Manafort Brothers, as a direct result of Connecticut’s landmark campaign finance reform legislation, every governor and gubernatorial candidate after Rowland would be prohibited from accessing state contractor money.

However, as the final round of campaign finance reports are submitted for Connecticut’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign, it is becoming increasingly clear that when it came the prohibition on state contractor donations, Governor Dannel Malloy and his political operation fundamentally violated the spirit of Connecticut’s campaign finance law and, quite possibly, the letter of the law as well...column in full:  http://jonathanpelto.com/2015/01/15/state-contractors-cant-make-political-donations-oh-except-benefit-malloy/

Local Elected Officials Press Malloy, Legislative Leaders On Priorities
by Christine Stuart | Jan 14, 2015 6:28pm

The COST story:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/local_elected_officials_press_malloy_legislative_leaders_on_priorities/

New Commissioner to be appointed - a politically active political appointee?
Docs back more ills for medical pot
Ken Dixon, CT POST
Published 10:34 am, Wednesday, January 14, 2015

HARTFORD -- Doctors overseeing the state's medical marijuana program this morning voted to expand the list of eligible ailments to include sickle cell disease, severe psoriasis and pain associated with back surgery.

But it may take months before the regulations are drafted and approved by a crucial legislative committee.

The state Department of Consumer Protection's Medical Marijuana Program's Board of physicians rejected a proposals to add Tourette's Disorder to the current list of 11 diseases and medical conditions for which 3,648 patients have registered.

Jonathan Harris, the new commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection who has a seat on the five-member panel, said he would act thoughtfully and quickly, to make the final decision on whether the three new conditions should be included in existing regulations...story in full:  http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Docs-back-more-ills-for-medical-pot-6014763.php

Save for a Rainy Day - what a novel concept!  http://www.osc.ct.gov/brf/BudgetReserveFund_PolicyBrief.pdf

State Comptroller Pushes For Changes to Shore Up Rainy Day Fund

by Elizabeth Regan | Apr 23, 2015 2:16pm

Diverse political interests converged Thursday to support Democratic Comptroller Kevin Lembo’s proposal to lend stability to the state’s rainy day fund.

Robert Zahradnik of the Pew Charitable Trust and Carol Platt Liebau of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy both agreed that a healthy budget reserve fund would mean fewer tax increases.

Lembo’s proposal takes what he has determined are the two most volatile revenue streams – the corporation tax and portions of the personal income tax – and applies a formula that requires automatic deposits into the budget reserve fund whenever revenue exceeds historic norms. It also increases the cap on the fund from 10 percent to 15 percent of net general fund appropriations.

He said the deposit formula makes the state more capable of managing “the swings in revenue collections by storing money away in good economic times so that it is available when the economy slumps...”   Story in full: 


Ho ho - spending like Rockefeller?
  "12%-er" released this..."The Night Before Xmas".  An example (S.O.S. office); R.I. guy now and how long do you think the lines will be?.

As About Town sees it, there isn't any surprise about any of this.  However, it is distressing that in terms of major employment (CT industries which create other opportunities in support activities - a ratio of perhaps 1:2) nobody is even talking about it anymore!  The example of Tenet Health Care, for one.

Read about U.S. job creation here:  http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/jobs-day-unemployment-rate-lowest-since-july-2008/381083/

Story here on Governor's brief speech:  http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CT_XGR_GOVERNOR_CONNECTICUT_INAUGURATION_CTOL-?SITE=CTNHR&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-01-07-16-51-15

All the tough questions and hard answers left for another day...and yesterday's FOI hearing on why Sandy Hook evidence is not open to view yet?  Somehow, we suspect the hearing was continued...

Story in full:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/upload/2015/01/pre-filed-uconn-foundation-transparency-bill.pdf

Governor's address: 

Story here on Governor's brief speech:  http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CT_XGR_GOVERNOR_CONNECTICUT_INAUGURATION_CTOL-?SITE=CTNHR&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-01-07-16-51-15

Budget, transportation among top session issues
By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press
Jan 4, 2015, 8:38 AM EST

...Malloy said it's time for a "mature and detailed discussion about what it will take to turn transportation around in Connecticut." He said taxpayers need to know how much it will cost to address projects like modernizing clogged highways and upgrading battered bridges.

"It's going to be a pretty broad discussion," Malloy predicted. "Get ready for it."  Story in full:  http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CT_CONNECTICUT_LEGISLATURE_CTOL-?SITE=CTNHR&SECTION=STATE&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-01-04-08-38-21

Not likely.

Op-ed in full:  http://www.courant.com/opinion/op-ed/hc-op-fasano-connecticut-democrats-rule-1213-20141212-story.html

If remembered correctly, which is not always the case, the DGA met here a few years ago...or was it the RGA?

Malloy Goes To Cali For DGA Conference
by Christine Stuart
Dec 8, 2014 11:08am

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will be in Los Angeles, California for the next few days attending the Democratic Governors Association’s annual meeting and holiday party.

According to the conference agenda posted online, the event starts on Monday with a reception and tour of Universal Studios in Hollywood. On Tuesday, the governors will eat breakfast at the Beverly Wilshire, which will be followed by a roundtable policy discussion. Next it’s lunch and then a VIP reception at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which is followed by the holiday party.

The DGA blocked off rooms at the Beverly Wilshire where rates begin at $335 per night and the Hotel Montage where rooms start at $330 per night...Story in full:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/malloy_goes_to_cali_for_dga_conference/

How to regain balance?  Check CT MIRROR story above in full.

Will Malloy be forced to send deficit closure plan to legislators?
By: Keith M. Phaneuf | January 26, 2015

...But given that Malloy’s cuts probably duplicated some of the savings already planned by agencies, OFA’s deficit projection – which will be updated at week’s end after a review of the governor’s cuts – could top the 1 percent mark.

Leaders of the legislature’s Republican minority have charged Malloy has been disclosing budget problems piecemeal since he won re-election in November in hopes of avoiding a deficit of $175 million – and the resulting legal mandate.

After reporting no signs of red ink from July through October, the administration projected a $100 million shortfall in mid-November, just after the election.

GOP leaders cried foul, noting that projection didn’t fully address concerns about surging retirement health care costs or miscellaneous revenue collections.

Malloy has limited authority to impose modest budget cuts unilaterally, and used it in November to reduce the deficit below $35 million.

Eroding fuel tax receipts and rising Medicaid costs pushed it back above $120 million, the administration reported last week, before ordering another $31.6 million in emergency cuts.

But according to nonpartisan analysts for the legislature, cost-overruns involving Medicaid and magnet schools are worse than the administration estimates. And a potential surplus in the debt service account is not as large as Malloy’s staff projects.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, who has been pushing for bipartisan negotiations with the governor on greater budget reductions, called again Monday for Malloy to acknowledge the state’s fiscal problems are worse than originally anticipated.

Do we really have to hit that (1 percent) threshold to say that there’s an issue?” Fasano said. “We can get everyone in the room and talk about this. Wouldn’t that be refreshing for the Capitol if we were a little proactive?”

Gian-Carl Casa, spokesman for the governor’s budget office, said, “We will continue to closely watch state spending and revenue. If necessary, the governor will take additional steps, or propose additional steps to the legislature, to keep this year’s budget in balance.”

Lembo’s next monthly budget assessment is due on Feb. 1.

Story from the CT Mirror:  http://ctmirror.org/2015/01/26/will-malloy-be-forced-to-send-deficit-closure-plan-to-legislators/

Lembo Pegs Budget Deficit At $31.6M

by Christine Stuart | Jan 2, 2015 11:17am

The state’s 2015 budget deficit dropped $13.2 million since November, but it hasn’t been completely eliminated, according to state Comptroller Kevin Lembo.

On Friday, Lembo said the state is poised to end the fiscal year in June with a $31.6 million deficit. In order, to completely eliminate the deficit he said the downward spending growth trend must continue because revenues aren’t likely to improve...story in full:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/lembo_pegs_budget_deficit_at_31.6m/#more

How many years needed to have a pension vested in CT?  Commissioners too?  Some studies.

About 200 officials to receive $1.4 million raises

Greenwich TIME
Updated 5:24 pm, Tuesday, December 23, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — About 200 officials in Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration are getting an early holiday present: a pay raise ranging from 3 percent to 12 percent.

The increases for the appointed officials, including agency heads and governor's staff, will cost the state approximately $1.4 million annually. Funding for the raises was included in the state budget that took effect July 1...Story in full here:  http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/About-200-officials-to-receive-1-4-million-raises-5976293.php

A FEW THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE THE NEXT BIENNIAL SESSION (2015-2017) BEGINS IN HARTFORD...ABIDING TRUTH FROM CTNEWSJUNKIE OP-ED;  About Town will be watching the outcome of studies from Program Review and Investigation;  plus the issue of drones as the Public Safety Committee


Well, there is hospital stay bill, and then there is...a hospital to stay in? 
Story in full: 


As we read the full story, it appears that Connecticut's top administrators involved in Health and Insurance most in demand on the lecture circuit.  Does this mean that Connecticut is sharing its great success in these two areas with the rest of the world - or are we just supporting junkets and conference attendance so that bureaucrats can make connections for future employment or consulting?  To read the story in full:  http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-p-insurance-commissioner-travels-20140926-story.html#page=1

Red ink and coal in our stockings...and here is a link to a new page we just built re:  CT Special Sessions of the C.G.A. Wednesday, December 19, 2012.

Praxair abandons plans for new headquarters
Danbury News-Times
Posted on May 12, 2015 | By Dirk Perrefort   

The News-Times has confirmed reports that Praxair, a Danbury based Fortune 250 company, will not be moving forward with previously announced plans to build a $60 million world headquarters in the city.

Several sources have told The News-Times this morning that the project had simply become too expensive for the company, having reached near $100 million, and that they are considering other options. Praxair is currently located inside the Matrix Corporate Center on the city’s west side.

Stephen Angel, the chairman, president and chief executive officer of the company, announced plans for the new headquarters during a press conference held last October. Angel, who was flanked by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, said there had been more than a year of negotiations surrounding the project.

The company, which has about 500 employees in the state, was promised a $30 million incentive package from the state Department of Economic and Community Development as part of the deal.

“While DECD is disappointed to learn of Praxair Inc.’s decision not to move forward with the proposed construction of its world headquarters in Danbury, we do understand that business decisions must be made that are best for the company, its employees, and it stockholders,” DECD spokesman Jim Watson said Tuesday. “However, we are encouraged that Praxair remains committed to Connecticut, maintaining its headquarters in Danbury and keeping high quality jobs in the state.”

Company officials were not immediately available for comment...and we have some from our About Weston website archives below:

Fairfield County: Cities drive modest growth
Greenwich TIME
Rob Varnon And John Burgeson, Staff Writers
Updated 12:51 a.m., Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fairfield County has become more diverse and experienced more growth than expected since 2000, according to the first figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday.  While posting the slowest growth rate of the state's eight counties, Fairfield County's population increase of 3.9 percent was viewed as healthy by demographers.  And, bucking previous trends, it was led by gains posted in the county's largest cities, Bridgeport, Norwalk, Danbury and Stamford...

What appears to be behind the growth? Jobs.

Jason Witty, Stamford branch manager of professional job placement and recruitment firm Robert Half International, said the numbers indicate there was a stable employment base to draw population to the county and state over the last decade.

"Post 9/11, a lot of companies moved north," he said.

That led to growth in Greenwich and Stamford.

He said the county saw an increased presence in the financial sector, with large employers like UBS and RBS opening facilities.

On top of that, major employers continued to provide stable employment anchors for the population, including General Electric Co., Xerox and Sikorsky Aircraft, as well as Praxair Inc. and Boehringer Ingelheim in the Danbury region.

"To really get a handle on this data, we're going to have to know whether the people moving into these cities are more affluent or less affluent," said Gian-Carl Casa, director of public policy for the state Office of Policy and Management. "In order to make judgments, we're really going to have to see more detailed data."

The U.S. Census will release more detailed data in the summer.