Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Enough to Give You an Upset Stomach

The “shenanigans” with state bonds are “enough to make you vomit.”

So says a now-retired State of Connecticut employee who oversaw bond-funded grants from the Department of Social Services for 19 years.

That statement should give us all pause.

State bonds are the state’s credit card. Just about every month, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy leads a meeting of the State Bond Commission to discuss which projects to put on that credit card. Most of these are low profile capital projects like school construction and road and bridge repair. Others are more high profile projects that raise taxpayers’ eyebrows, such as the $600 million New Britain to Hartford Busway.

Still others are what are called “pork” projects. One of those pork projects recently made many, including that retired state employee, feel sick to their stomachs.

What was it?

  • $300,000 for the New Haven People’s Center, an organization run by officials in the Connecticut chapter of the Communist Party USA.
The fact that your tax dollars are slated to help fix the roof at the Connecticut chapter of the Communist Party USA is odd enough, but even more peculiar is that state agencies do not have any documentation about the organization or the request for the $300,000.

So what’s going on?

Taxpayers, what we have here is an iconic example of an earmark. It reveals how your state government allocates money in a frivolous way.

  • This money for the Connecticut chapter of the Communist Party was not run through the normal process of vetting.
  • The People’s Center’s finances were not reviewed.
  • The project was never weighed against other projects.
  • It is not clear who exactly will have oversight of the state funds if they are approved.  
The good news – if there is any in this tale - is that this money hasn’t been approved yet. The good news is that this information is now out in the open before it can be quietly approved.

The next bond commission meeting is June 4.

Between now and then, I will continue to ask the following questions:

  • Why is this group getting our taxpayer money?
  • Doesn’t the state have thousands of better ways to spend this money?
  • Why doesn’t this group provide their own money for the repairs, via traditional fundraisers?
  • Why should your tax dollars be used to fund the roof repair of any political party? No party should get state funding.  
Shenanigans indeed. I hope this story did not create too much nausea out there, but I feel it is an instructive one. We need to send people to Hartford who value the taxpayers. In the meantime, I promise you that I will continue to fight for better accountability with your money.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nightmare at the State Capitol

Maturity is absent at the State Capitol two days before the 2012 legislative session crashes to an end. Governor Malloy and Democratic majority leaders released their education reform "compromise" at a 10pm press conference. No Republicans present.

The 185-page education reform bill was released to the minority Republican legislators at Midnight. Ninety minutes later debate began.

The Democratic majority leadership and Governor Malloy should be ashamed of themselves. Claiming victory by crafting such important legislation in a back-room vacuum is disgraceful!

I will listen intently to the debate and study the bill. Unfortunately, I can't get feedback from my constituents at 2am. The only opinions I can enlist at this time are the lobbyists and special interest advocates. Though I value their opinion and information on legislation I always rely on feedback from residents in my district - my bosses - before voting on such important legislation.

My bosses are sleeping right now. This feels like a nightmare at the State Capitol.

Without reasonable input from the people most impacted by this proposal the Democrats are asking legislators to "fly blind" on a vote. I don't fly blind.

When will this irresponsible, one-sided legislative process end? When will the voters hold the Connecticut General Assembly accountable for acting without listening to our constituents?

Education reform is not the real story for the 2012 legislative session. The real story is an abhorrent legislative process driven by the majority Democratic leaders. Politics at its worst.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Connecticut Highest in Taxes AGAIN!

How ironic that May 5th 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 that Governor Malloy and the Democrats' largest tax increase in the history of the State of Connecticut has still generated a deficit of $280 million! 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!