“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”
Beware fellow citizens…
The disastrous state budget plan developed by Governor Malloy and the Democratic leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly is getting worse by the minute.
Having managed to hide key budget details from the public until the day of the vote, Democratic legislators are now being instructed to approve a budget implementation bill that includes numerous outrageous provisions that would never pass if they stood on their own.
Traditionally referred to as “rats,” select legislators, lobbyists and special interests use what is called “back of the budget” language to circumvent the traditional legislative process.
A prime example of this tactic can be found in Section 188 of the new state budget bill.
Connecticut residents may remember how Governor Malloy and other state leaders endorsed the construction of the new baseball stadium in Hartford, falsely stating that not only would the facility be a win-win for the Capitol City, but that Connecticut taxpayers would not be on the hook for subsidizing the project.
Of course, such was not the case.
Legislative language hidden deep inside today’s budget bill exempts events at the Dunkin Donut stadium from having to collect Connecticut’s 10 percent Admission Tax and, instead, sets up a new law that allows Hartford to add its own 10 percent surcharge on all tickets sold at the “Home of the Yard Goats.”
The money from this extra tax would flow straight to Hartford City Hall…. Providing the boondoggle with a much-needed public subsidy from Connecticut taxpayers
To sweeten the deal, the Malloy/Democratic leadership budget also adds a provision that a group of other cities could put on their own admission tax in their particular venues, but the others could only collect up to 5% of the cost of a ticket.
Meanwhile, the same outrageous implementation budget bill includes unprecedented language that allows cities and towns to simply cut their local public school budgets by the amount of any reduction in state aid those schools.
This means that while a number of cities and towns will be getting a major pot of cash dumped on the non-education side of the budget, they won’t even have to maintain their efforts to fund their schools.
And if those two sections weren’t telling enough, any member of the Connecticut State Senate and State House of Representatives who votes in favor of this bill will be taking the truly unprecedented step of adopting a law that would literally PROHIBIT the non-partisan office of Fiscal Analysis from reporting on future budget expenditures and possible deficits that are the result of the annual increases that go with maintaining current services.
THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!
With no public hearing, no public input and no public notice, Malloy and the Democratic leaders of the General Assembly have including language in this year’s budget implementation bill that intentionally prevents the media and the public from knowing the true ongoing costs of state government.
The CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf explains this incredible development in his latest article;
Future state deficit forecasts are likely to shrink significantly under a method imposed in the new state budget plan that disregards billions of dollars in annual expenditures not fixed by contract or federal mandate.
The language, proposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, is included in an omnibus policy bill to help implement the proposed $19.76 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, blasted the measure — which was released only a few hours before the Senate was expected to debate it Wednesday morning — as a means to hide Connecticut’s fiscal woes from the public.
Malloy and his budget director, Benjamin Barnes, have been critical for several years of the deficit-forecasting methodology used by the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.
OFA generally tries to assess both the current and future costs of all programs, staffing, grants and other expenditures, whether fixed by contract or federal requirement, or simply set by state law.
The new methodology would disregard cost increases in most state programs, excepting debt service, retirement benefits and federal entitlement programs.
“Moving away from ‘current services’ will help us ensure that government does not continue to increase spending on autopilot,” the governor said Wednesday. “As part the budget agreement, the state will change how it does business, and give residents and businesses the predictability they seek as government works to live within its means.”
The language is nothing but a blatant effort by Malloy and the Democratic legislature to hide the true costs of maintaining state services and preventing voters from understanding the ramifications of taxes and spending.
Dismissing the most fundamental notions of open government and democracy, Malloy and the Democratic leaders are engaged in a new political strategy based on keeping the citizens ignorant about how their government functions and how it spends their money.
No real Democrat would vote for such a measure.
Today’s original Wait, What? post is even more relevant than when it was first posted.