Some call knowingly not telling the truth – lying…

24 Comments

Otherwise known as – When is $170 million really $123 million?

Or in this case – When Governor Malloy and his administration seek to mislead Connecticut’s media and citizens about his cuts to the Connecticut state budget.

The Facts:

Connecticut State Government is facing a $365 million budget deficit this year and a projected $1.1 billion dollar shortfall next year.

Yesterday, the Malloy administration released a list of $170 million in cuts that Governor Malloy had ordered.  Malloy’s Budget Chief, Ben Barnes, along with Malloy’s chief advisor then spoke to the media about the cuts the Governor was making.  .

Following these developments, the Harford Courant headline read: Malloy Orders $170 Million in Budget Cuts In Tough Economy.  CT Newsjunkie reported “Malloy Rescinds $170M, Safety Net Impacted, the Connecticut Post went with  Gov. Malloy to cut $170 million from budget, The New Haven Register’s headline was Gov. Malloy announces $170 million in Connecticut budget cuts (with list) and WFSB Channel 3 ran with Malloy announces $170 million in Connecticut. budget cuts.

But it turns out the Governor DID NOT make $170 million in budget cuts.

It wasn’t until Keith Phaneuf and the CT Mirror started digging that the real story unfolded.

The CT Mirror headline went with a more accurate headline; Malloy shrinks deficit with cuts to social services, colleges.

So what is the real story?

While it was true that the Malloy administration released a list of $170 million in cuts, it turns out that $47 million of those cuts were budget reductions that Malloy had already implemented and, thus, had no impact on the $365 million deficit.

When the Connecticut General Assembly adopted, and the Governor signed, this year’s $19.1 billion dollar budget, it was “balanced” by a requirement that the Governor “hold back” $136.3 million in spending.  In budget language this is called a required lapse.  Think of it this way.  Your young child asks that their allowance be raised from $9 to $10 a week.  You agree that they can have $10 a week, but they must start each week by giving you $1.  They agree.  They think, or at least can tell their friends that they get $10 a week, when in fact they still only get $9.

Legally, the Governor must hold back those funds.  Of the $170 million Malloy announced, $47 million was already part of that lapse, meaning those cuts have absolutely no impact on the magnitude of the present deficit.

Now some of you readers may be surprised, but the administration that claims to be the most transparent in history failed to inform the media that their list of $170 million in cuts actually only cut the budget by $123 million.

Of those “real” cuts, about $70 million was taken out of vital health care and social service programs, while another $25 million was cut from Connecticut’s public colleges, universities and student financial aid.  And that was student financial aid that thousands of students were expecting to receive this coming January.

The actual document the Malloy administration released failed to note the fact that nearly 30% of the savings was achieved by double counting cuts that had already been made.

Furthermore, neither Malloy’s budget chief nor his chief adviser took the trouble to tell the media the truth during their press conference.

That is why all the media outlets ran with headlines and stories that were inaccurate.

There are a number of excellent stories about the impact the cuts will have.  Just click on the headlines in the text above.

But first, start with the CTMirror story in order to appreciate the deception the Malloy Administration has engaged in.  The CTMirror story, written by Keith Phaneuf, Arielle Levin Becker and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas is here: http://ctmirror.org/story/18305/malloy-hits-social-services-higher-education-he-slashes-deficit-one-third.

  • Suesylvester

    From experience I know the press in CT does not investigate deeply, look at things from different angels or “dig” to find real answers, create personas of people that show certain individuals are great when they really are not… but do they lie? Of course. That is why I read blogs like this…

    • Linda174

      The Hartford Courant does a horrible job on many issues…they seem to read the CT Mirror and then write a follow up story. They have been beat out many times by on line scoops.

      • Suesylvester

        The Hartford Courant does not even “point” us in the right direction. We don’t rely on it! Little locals are worst..they like to print only “good news” so it is even more political.

        • msavage

          OK, Sue Sylvester–at first I just found your posts mildly
          annoying–with your repeated claims to insider information that you are
          withholding from the rest of us. But now you have hit too close to home.

          Do
          you have ANY idea what kind of an environment any of these reporters
          are working in? What kind of money they are working for? I work for one
          of those “little locals.” Have for the past 7 years or so. I make
          $23,000 a year, down from $25,000 three years ago. (And in case any of
          you right-wingers are inclined to say that I should have “prepared”
          myself better for life–I have a master’s degree and am certified to
          teach secondary English). I am expected to produce a minimum of 8
          stories per week in 35 hours per week. And I am expected to cover 10
          different towns. My “little local” is struggling to stay alive, as are
          most of the other independents (read–not owned by a huge corporate
          conglomerate). Yep, maybe I should do some heavy “investigative”
          journalism in between scrambling to do my 8 stories per week while I
          simultaneously work a second job so I can put food on the table for my
          two kids. Why do I stay? A number of reasons. The other fields I have
          experience in are corrupt to the core and/or in the process of being
          taken over by corporate vultures (public housing, teaching). This job
          allows me the flexibility to spend time with my two kids as a single
          mom. There are actually people who APPRECIATE what the “little locals”
          provide for their communities–the little stories the big papers won’t
          touch, the stories about school events, local heroes, etc. I get to meet
          some of the most inspirational people within those communities–people
          who, in a greed-driven society, are quietly doing what they can to make
          life better for those around them. There are a number of reasons that I
          stay. But money certainly isn’t one of those reasons. The reporters that
          I know who are working for independently-owned papers–whether dailies
          or “little locals,” are all college-educated and highly intelligent. And
          they’re working for peanuts. I cannot speak for corporate-owned papers
          such as the Courant. They may be making more, I don’t know. But if
          they’re working for corporate-owned papers, I can only imagine that the
          same thing is going on there as in most other corporations right
          now–more and more is being sucked away from those “in the trenches” so
          that more and more can be funneled to the top.

          So, Sue
          Sylvester–I’m sure there are lazy reporters who just don’t care enough
          to do a little digging. But there are others who are doing the very best
          that they can for very little reward under difficult circumstances.

          • Suesylvester

            Reporters probably don’t dig simply because they know what will be printed and what will not be printed. I never used the word lazy. Newspapers have taken a financial hit since the development and use of the internet (truth can be passed easily now and in the past it could not) The Bureau of Risk Management, The AG’s office and Editors…together decide what we read in CT. When you know this the smart decision is DON’T talk to reporters…there are broadcasted (CT-N) public committee meetings for a reason.

          • msavage

            Well no–you didn’t say “lazy” per se–but you did say the following:

            “Actually I really don’t think reporters know all that much..copy and paste, mimic and pass.”

            I’m not sure what “mimic and pass” means exactly, but it doesn’t sound complimentary. And “copy and paste” kind of suggests “lazy” to me, but maybe I’m reading into it. Bottom line–I know a few reporters, and the ones I know are college-educated, highly intelligent, and some of the most decent folks I know. So please don’t generalize about a profession (or folks just trying to pay the bills) based upon your experience.

          • Suesylvester

            The Hartford Courant reporters do not get paid all that much…the editors do. jsyk

          • Suesylvester

            you have my respect for getting away from the corruption even if it meant taking a lower paying job…that is what i did to.

          • msavage

            Thank you for your respect–but it hasn’t exactly been entirely voluntary. Years ago, when I was still married and considering leaving the workforce for a few years to stay home with my son, people warned me about how difficult it is for a mother to re-enter the workforce. Well, just try being a mother re-entering the workforce in THIS climate! A little over a year ago I sent out reams of applications for both housing and teaching jobs. Not a SINGLE teaching interview, despite the fact that I scored higher on the Praxis test, according to the ETS, than the vast majority of prospective teachers taking the test. Big f-ing deal! No one gives a s-t, apparently, about the actual SCORES of the Praxis–probably just another way to make money for cronies. Graduated summa cum laude with a BA? Earned a master’s with top grades? Who cares? Gotta know somebody, I guess. Housing–I got a couple of interviews–one of them was with a guy who helped shut down the company I worked for more than a DECADE ago–they were shut down for corruption. This was at CRT–yup, the same CRT that is currently being investigated by the FBI! Out of the frying pan and into the fire?! So, Sue Sylvester, it has been a combination of things that has kept me here–pride about what I’m doing–yes there are people who actually APPRECIATE a positive story or photos of the local high school theater production! A toxic economic environment with unemployment still at scary numbers. Oh, and add to that a “lapse” in a work history due to leaving the working world for a few years to take care of children. But honestly, I haven’t sent out any resumes or filled out apps. for over a year. Who in their right mind would VOLUNTARILY enter the teaching profession right now? And housing? I don’t know, maybe there is a public housing entity someplace that actually WANTS someone who is honest, moral, intelligent, and looking out for the best interests of the clients being served as well as the taxpayers footing the bill. But lately, I’ve lost the drive to go out looking for it. I’m disgusted, thoroughly disgusted. At the moment I’m doing something that I know is making some people happy (though apparently not Sue Sylvester), I’m working with decent, hardworking, intelligent people, I’m utilizing skills that I enjoy using and that I’m good at (photography, writing), I’m meeting people that keep my dying faith in humanity alive, and I can spend time with my kids. I can’t pay the bills, but at least I can look in the mirror with a clear conscience. And where the hell am I going to go, in this freakishly corrupt and screwed up state, even if I COULD get a goddamn interview?

  • jschmidt2

    The problem with the media is they either continue to believe the lies of the politicians that control this state or they actually support what these politicians are doing. Most news people, except you Jon, have lost the ability or desire to do investigative journalism. This is the reason the AP is also known as the Administration Press and also was a major reason Obama got re-elected.

    • jonpelto

      I just play an investigative reporter – wish I was a real one – has to be one of the best jobs ever – assuming you are willing to do the work.

      • Suesylvester

        great job jp

    • Suesylvester

      In CT The Bureau of Risk Management calls the shots…especially with the press.

    • Suesylvester

      Actually I really don’t think reporters know all that much..copy and paste, mimic and pass.

    • Linda174

      Many, including myself, didn’t see much of a difference with Romney…we do not have two distinct political parties. We have two different brands feigning concern for the middle class. I didn’t vote for etiher of them, but the Repulicans do not have a chance if they continue to ignore and insult minorities and women. The only way they reclaim the votes is if we go back to 1850 and only white male land owners are allowed to vote.

      • jschmidt2

        except one has a miserable economic record and thinks we can spend our way out of a recession, the other has a track record of making money and wants to reign in the deficit. Those are big big differances. Obama’s record was enough for me to know he doesn’t know what he is doing: 44 months of 8+% unemployment, a record since 1948; lowest labor participation rate of 63.6% since 1981; weakest recovery since WWII; record 5.5 trillion in new debt; lowering of US credit rating; largest tax increase in history, Obamacare; UAW bailout costing taxpayer 26 billion because the UAW, Obama supporters, were treated as first creditors, unheard of in bankruptcy. I fear the 7.9% unemployment is the new norm and seems to be accepted by many as such. The years of 4% unemployment during the Bush years are looking a lot better.

    • Suesylvester

      Public servants “service” each other and their lies are not lies to them…they believe them. htg. The press benefits itself not us..we live in a MEDIA DRIVEN SOCIETY. If OPRAH did not showcase Obama…Clinton would have been in the white house. MEDIA DRIVEN SOCIETY.

      • msavage

        Um, I think you said that already–a bit further up. :)

  • Apartheid First

    Well, this does not surprise me at all. It is very similar to how Ed Reform works–so, someone like Steven Adamowski can be assured of headlines in the Hartford Courant and other “news” outlets, trumpeting his success in Hartford, the huge gains in test scores, the falling drop-out rate, the narrowing achievement gap–and none of this is true. It’s a kind of “required lapse” in test scores… Thanks, Jonathan, I learned a great new term today! Adamowski did the equivalent of a “required lapse” by counting all the students at Hartford High on day one of the school year, not counting their absences for 75% of the year (the students got a 55 grade whether they showed up or not) and then offering them a turbo weekend online “course” in order to give them credit. It’s like on day one of the school year, the students are handed their (worthless) diplomas. Don’t worry, no one is going to check if you actually attended class and–gasp!–learned anything!

    • Linda174

      Yes, he is called the SPECIAL Master for a good reason. He is the master of spin, deceit and manipulation. When you are not willing to commit yourself to a community for a long period of time (many years) to build community schools with an abudance of resources and options for all, you revert to a quick fix of juking the stats and moving the shells around to create the illusion of reform. You quickly move out and onto the next victim. The same group that supposedly made a jump in CMT scores, years later plummeted on the SAT’s. What happened? Hartford teachers have reported many questionable practices: not taking attendance during testing weeks, tellling students to leave bubble blank if they were unsure and the “required lapse” cited above. This is more about making a reputation for yourself; it has nothing to do with children, teaching and learning. The kids are merely props in a privatization, union busting, teacher bashing campaign.

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  • Striking

    It completely befuddles me why those in charge of government think they must lie to the American people. In New Haven, the mayor lies almost routinely intentionally misleading citizens; Malloy does it so often one can hardly trust anything he says – the budget is balanced; shared pain; the sum total of all the alleged cuts; the idea that he and the Demo legislature actually cut spending when in fact, they raised it by more than a billion dollars; or President Obama and his team lying about Benghazi. The real problem with lying aside from the obvious, is that it hardens our cynicism about government and those who run, and “serve.” How can you say you serve when you lie for your own benefit to those you allegedly “serve?”

    • Suesylvester

      Public servants “service” each other and their lies are not lies to them…they believe them. htg. The press benefits itself not us..we live in a MEDIA DRIVEN SOCIETY. If OPRAH did not showcase Obama…Clinton would have been in the white house. MEDIA DRIVEN SOCIETY.

    • jonpelto

      I couldn’t agree with you more….and it seems that the lying occurs regardless of party label, philosophy or subject matter.

      If they’d stop lying and telling the truth we could then have a reasonable discussion, even philosophical about public policy, but without some access to the truth, we’re left with this crazy polarization that gets us nowhere.

      And we’re not talking about whether global warming is true or not – we’re talking about people on all sides simply refusing to tell the truth.