Thursday, November 24, 2011

George Washington's Thanksgiving

By the President of the United States of America,a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God,to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits,and humbly to implore his protection and favor -- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was,that is,or that will be -- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed -- for the peaceable and rational manner,in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness,and particularly the national One now lately instituted -- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgression -- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually -- to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws,discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed -- to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Geo. Washington

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Connecticut Democrats' Train Wreck

Connecticut Democrats think taxpayers should pay $443 million dollars to create 600 jobs. Are they for real? You bet they are! That is $738,333 for each job.

Jackson Laboratories is slated to get 17 acres of prime real estate and a free new building. The Connecticut taxpayers will be their largest shareholder in this new venture.

Private investors consider investments like this all the time but they get a return on their investment. In the medical research field a private investor would get a share of royalties earned and equity in the company.

Connecticut Innovations (C-I), the quasi-government, taxpayer-funded incubator charged with coordinating this government giveaway is changing their business model for this boondoggle. Current investments by C-I require equity and royalties in return for their investments. Not this time!

Connecticut Democrats are authorizing a major investment of taxpayer's money with no similar return on this investment! The new taxpayer-funded building and operations will be tax-exempt!

This proposal lacks common due-diligence for similar private sector transactions.

The Connecticut Democrats' Train Wreck is in the ditch again.

Monday, July 4, 2011

George Washington's Sacred Fire

"The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."

George Washington
First Inaugural Address
April 30, 1789

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Time for Collective Bargaining Reform

Many politicos in Connecticut are convinced Governor Malloy owes his Election Day victory to the unions. The mobilization of ground troops in the closing weeks of the campaign was monumental, even breathtaking. Residents in the big cities answered their doorbell on Election Day to respond to a union member's offer for a ride to the polls. Credit where credit is due – the unions outmaneuvered Tom Foley.

Governor Malloy clearly paid back the unions with his budget proposal. Leave a hole in the budget to fill with union givebacks and $180 million in cost savings from an “employee suggestion box.” Rattle the saber to appease the taxpayers by threatening layoffs if the unions don’t pass concessions then negotiate a sweet deal guaranteeing no layoffs. Private sector unions have never had management on their side like Malloy was for the state employee unions in 2011.

Suddenly Malloy was the poster boy for Democrats – negotiating union deals, raising taxes and RAISING spending. People started whispering Dan wants to be president!

Fast-forward to last week. The Malloy dirigible crashed to the ground. The helium leaked out and the hot air could not keep the ship of state afloat.

Now the state budget is a shambles. The Governor says 5,500 state employees will get pink slips. Connecticut economists suggest the multiplier effect of Malloy’s layoffs could mean a double-dip recession and as many as 16,000 newly unemployed.

The time is now to pull in the reins on the state employee unions in Connecticut. They elected our governor, were handed an early Christmas present and demanded more. Now, 15% of their membership will be kicked out of their jobs because last-in-first-out rules protect the majority.

SEBAC is a disaster for Connecticut. The organization is not effectively protecting their membership. Their rules are unworkable as we see by the failure of the concession agreement when nearly 60% of union membership voted to approve them.

Chris Powell of the Journal-Inquirer stated in his editorial, “With its extravagant laws for collective bargaining for public employees, Connecticut has put itself under minority rule in the extreme. First the sovereign people have to get the permission of their employees just to operate a government. And then that government's operations are largely determined by a minority of those employees.”

The time is now to reform collective bargaining for public employees in Connecticut. The taxpayers of Connecticut cannot sustain the current system.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

CT Dems Manhandle Gov't Watchdogs

Today I raised questions about a Malloy administration proposal that consolidates nine state watchdog agencies under one umbrella.

The bill, debated in the Senate today for over six hours, consolidates the Office of State Ethics, State Elections Enforcement Commission, Freedom of Information Commission, Judicial Review Council, Judicial Selection Commission, Board of Firearms Permit Examiners, Office of the Child Advocate, Office of the Victim Advocate, and the State Contracting Standards Board.

This proposal undermines the watchdogs' independence.

The independence of these watchdog agencies has worked well for many years. Politics does not come into play in the operation of the agencies. Their decisions are independent ones. This bill violates that independence and it will call into question whether the watchdogs' decisions are based on politics or not. These watchdog agencies have restored the public's confidence and faith in government.

Taxpayers should be confident in these agencies. Once in a while, you get a bad apple politician who breaks the public trust. These agencies - because they are separate and independent from politics - restore that trust. This is about the integrity of what we do in government. The bill represents a good attempt to make government more efficient, but I have concluded that the big three watchdog agencies - Office of State Ethics, State Elections Enforcement Commission, Freedom of Information Commission - must be separate.

The current firewall between the agencies would also be torn down by Governor Malloy’s proposal. The potential conflict of legal matters could find one state watchdog agency suing the other. I'm concerned that the legal staffs of these agencies, for instance, should not be sharing legal responsibilities across agency boundaries. I don't think those firewalls were considered in the crafting of this bill.

I also have grave concerns over how confidentiality would be protected under the new agency consolidations.

There are many unanswered questions. For example, how will conflicts between these agencies be resolved? What are the rules? Who is in charge? Who will we be sure that hearings are fair? The bottom line is this: there are certain parts of state government which need crystal clear definitions - Ethics, Elections and Freedom of Information must remain beyond reproach. This law would take us in the wrong direction.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

CT Democrats Expanding Government!

Connecticut Democrats keep marching down the road to larger, more expensive government. Today, the State Senate debated a bill to create a new state insurance exchange. Many questions remain unanswered after nearly three hours of debate.

Senate Bill 921 creates a new “quasi-government” organization that is granted power to “charge assessments or user fees to health carriers to generate necessary funding to support ongoing operations.” The bill also allows the new organization to borrow money. The major problem with this plan is there are no clear boundaries for this new government agency’s spending and borrowing.

The new assessments or user fees proposed in this bill are paid by “health carriers” but that translates into Connecticut residents paying the cost of this new government agency. The Democrats at the State Capitol claim this proposal is required under ObamaCare. Unfortunately, the final rules from Washington are not in place and Connecticut Democrats are jumping forward to expand state government.

A lengthy debate in the Senate made it perfectly clear this plan is premature and is perhaps misguided. ObamaCare mandates states to spend millions of dollars on the expansion of new government bureaucracies – translation – more costs to state residents mandated by ObamaCare.

Can someone please tell Governor Malloy and the Democrats in the state legislature to stop spending money? PLEASE!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Connecticut Democrats Want Early Release for Violent Felons

Today in the Connecticut State Senate is painful to watch. The majority Democrats and Governor Malloy are approving a new program of early release for prisoners. The most alarming part about the program is the list of violent criminals that will qualify for this misguided idea.

Here are the crimes that qualify for the Democrats early release program:

Sexual assault
Promoting prostitution
Trafficking in persons
Employing a minor in an obscene performance
Promoting a minor in an obscene performance
Importing child pornography
Possessing child pornography
Criminal violation of a protective order
Criminal violation of a standing criminal protective order
Criminal violation of a restraining order
Act of terrorism
Contaminating a public water supply or food supply for terrorist purposes
Damage to public transportation property for terrorist purposes
Abuse in the first degree
Injury or risk of injury to, or impairing morals of, children. Sale of children.
Abandonment of child under the age of six years
Manufacture of bombs
Firearms trafficking

I am voting no and I urge you to call Governor Malloy at (860) 566-4840 and tell him to stop this bad idea with his veto of HB6650!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Legislature Resurrects Old Failed Ideas

Connecticut’s legislature has far too much time until Midnight on June 8th to continue killing jobs in our state. That is when the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns the session for 2011.

Now that the bogus budget was passed with no Republican votes and plenty of smoke and mirrors the Democratic majority legislative leadership has turned their sights on every idea that has failed in the last several years.

Let me share with you some of the legislative ideas burning the midnight oil at the State Capitol in Hartford:

Transgender Rights
Decriminalization of Marijuana
Mandate Employers Provide Paid Sick Leave – requested by the unions
Captive Audience Meetings – requested by the unions
Repeal of the Death Penalty
Provide In-State (discounted) Tuition for Illegal Aliens

Dozens of other pending bills will mandate businesses in Connecticut must spend more money to comply with new state laws. That translates into fewer new jobs created.

Dozens of pending bills mandate local government to provide new programs and services without providing state funding. That translates into higher local property taxes.

The faster the closing bell rings at the State Capitol the better. Somebody bolt the Capitol doors shut until next year so the Democratic majority leadership and the Governor can’t call the legislature into special session and create more wreckage for Connecticut.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Connecticut Democrats Ignore Reality

How ironic that today is Tax Freedom Day® in Connecticut. Tax Freedom Day measures how long Americans work to earn enough money to pay this year's tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels. Connecticut is the last state to reach Tax Freedom Day this year!

The real irony is the Connecticut State Senate is scheduled to vote today on the largest tax increase in state history. Tax Freedom Day for Connecticut residents next year will come even later in the calendar after this massive tax increase is considered.

Governor Malloy and the Democratic majority leadership in the Connecticut General Assembly are completely disconnected from the reality of our struggling residents and businesses. Everyone outside of government cut spending in their budgets to match their decreased earnings. Connecticut Democrats refuse to make the difficult decisions to reform our state government and cut spending.

Who would’ve guessed Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey would ever be more competitive than Connecticut? I hope Nutmeggers will wake up and demand change!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The No Tax Increase Budget Alternative

I joined Republican legislators this afternoon at the State Capitol to introduce a no-tax-increase budget alternative. Governor Malloy’s budget proposal includes a $1.9 billion tax increase – the largest tax increase ever proposed in Connecticut.

The Republican Alternative Budget significantly reduces the size and cost of government while protecting the social safety net and preserving state aid to municipalities. The proposal reduces the state government workforce by five percent – focusing on management positions for elimination.

Republicans are providing the tough medicine Connecticut needs to emerge from this fiscal crisis. State government is broke because our government leaders have a spending addiction. The Republican plan significantly reduces government spending by eliminating government waste and redundancy. We balance the budget by not raising taxes. This is a common sense solution which paves the way for economic recovery and will help make living and working in Connecticut affordable again.

Details of the Republican Alternative Budget available here

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Governor Malloy's Train Wreck?

Governor Malloy’s assistant, Roy Occhiogrosso, released an alternative budget proposal from the Governor’s office yesterday. The Associated Press reported “Connecticut cities and towns would lose one-third of their state aid under a contingency plan Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has requested in case there is no agreement on $1 billion in union savings and concessions to help balance his budget.”

This proposal represents a 36% cut in municipal aid from the state. Danbury would lose $10.4 million in the alternative budget proposal.

This proposal is a train wreck. All Governor Malloy is doing is proposing local municipalities lay-off teachers, police and firefighters. This is pitting state government employee unions against local government employee unions.

Governor Malloy is playing politics at its worst – threatening local governments that currently run far more efficiently than Connecticut’s state government – when he has proposed no significant state government efficiency reforms or reorganization.

State government employees have a zero unemployment rate. Governor Malloy is protecting state employees at all costs while local governments struggle to balance their budgets.

Governor Malloy’s alternative budget proposal is simply passing state government’s bloated inefficiency on to local property tax payers.

I look forward to presenting the Republican’s alternative budget proposal in the next several days that recognizes the urgency of Connecticut state government reorganization.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy Tax-Freedom Day! EXCEPT Connecticut

Today, April 12 is the nation's Tax Freedom Day®! Tax Freedom Day measures how long Americans work to earn enough money to pay this year's tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels. This year it was 102 days.

Unfortunately, in Connecticut, Tax Freedom Day® does not arrive until May 2 - the latest in the United States of America. Yes, Connecticut is the most expensive place to live if you pay taxes.

The amazing part about Connecticut being number one Tax Freedom Day® is that "prize" is BEFORE we calculate Governor Malloy's proposed tax increases of $1,500,000,000. I guess next year we will wait until July for Tax Freedom Day® next year.....

Friday, February 18, 2011

Recycling a Bad Idea - Border Tolls

The Connecticut General Assembly's Transportation Committee conducted a public hearing today to recycle a bad idea - border tolls. This is the plan to place tolls only at the state's borders to capture money from the transient drivers that get to drive on Connecticut's roads for free. WRONG!

Here's the real story.

Border tolls create an unfair tax for the residents and businesses close to the tolls. In the greater Danbury area we have over 18,000 residents who commute to New York for work. Many more commuters go to Stamford and Greenwich by I-84 and I-684. These drivers will pay an unfair regional tax for the right to use the highways while residents in central Connecticut will not pay.

The proponents have an argument for the unfair tax - they propose a deep discount based on your home zip code! Unfortunately, a similar discount is being contested in the Rhode Island courts. A regional tax like border tolls is simply unfair.

Another major concern of mine is the dramatic impact on local roads from traffic diverting from the tolls at the border. In Danbury, Route 6 and Mill Plain Road run parallel to I-84 across the border. A resident driving to Brewster every day can easily find alternate routes to avoid paying the unfair regional tax imposed by the implementation of border tolls. Neighborhoods like Aunt Hack, King Street and Ridgebury would all be impacted by toll diversion traffic. New Fairfield and Sherman would experience similar impacts from Route 22 traffic.

Greater Danbury is the largest retail area in the state and generates nearly fifteen percent of all sales taxes. The Danbury Fair Mall is the largest enclosed mall in New England and the Federal Road area hosts dozens of big-box retailers and car dealers. A large part of the retail customer base comes from New York. Will tolls make a difference to shoppers? Think how often people drive miles to save a few dollars but maybe not if they reject paying tolls.

Connecticut must apply to the federal government to implement tolls on our highways. The legislature may authorize tolls but they don't have the final say. The governor of Pennsylvania proposed tolls in his budget only to have the federal government reject the application, creating a huge hole in the state budget.

Finally, the state of Connecticut recieves hundreds of millions of dollars in federal highway transportation dollars for maintenance of our interstate highways. Should the federal government approve new tolls here they will stop sending this money to Connecticut. That means we have to pay for the cost of the new toll equipment, the staff to run the system AND replenish the hundreds of millions of federal dollars before we even break even. The numbers don't add up.

Implementing tolls in Connecticut is a bad idea but border tolls is absolutely the worst idea.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Senator McLachlan's Budget Response

Governor’s Budget Misfire

The Connecticut legislature just heard Governor Malloy’s budget address where once again he stated, “we are open for business.” The problem with that statement is state government is the only entity surviving the governor’s budget while Connecticut residents and businesses get clobbered by a record tax increase.

“Job creation drives this budget,” said Malloy but the problem is the rhetoric does not match the reality. Politicians in Connecticut must pull their heads out of the sand and recognize that our state is now the least-friendly place to conduct business. Governor Malloy’s budget is extending the deep freeze on Connecticut’s economy.

I am busy studying the details of the budget document but here are some highlights:

Malloy proposes spending MORE next year than this year

Malloy is increasing taxes while neighboring states are holding the line or reducing taxes

The Malloy budget does not reflect a concerted effort to reduce the size and cost of state government

The budget assumes $2 billion in concessions from state employees that must be NEGOTIATED with state employees

Where is the shared sacrifice, Governor Malloy? State government in Connecticut is chugging along while our residents and businesses are struggling.

Governor Malloy misfired with his first budget. Connecticut deserves a responsible budget. This budget proposal is a disaster for Connecticut’s taxpayers and businesses.

Monday, January 31, 2011

ObamaCare Unconstitutional Again

Another Federal judge has ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional today. This is the lawsuit I requested former Attorney General Blumenthal join with 25 other states fighting illegal mandates included in ObamaCare. (Now Senator) Blumenthal responded by defending the mandates and claiming the law is constitutional.

Here is the ObamaCare organizational chart of thousands of new federal employees that will be hired (maybe not if the judges keep saying it is unconstitutional) for government-run health care. Click on the chart below for a full-size version.