Bankrupting Connecticut – Nothing to see here – Just keep moving

The Wait, What? Blog was created in January 2011.  Since then, 2,340 articles have been posted to the site.  In turn, the commentary pieces have generated well in excess of $2 million hits.

One of the most constant refrains has been the problems and dangers associated with the excess debt that is dragging Connecticut down and the irresponsible failure of the state’s elected officials – both Democrat and Republican – to deal with that mounting crisis

Initial posts to Wait What? included More on the issues underling Connecticut’s State Employee Pension System (1/25/11) and Connecticut’s state pension fund in its worst shape since the state began saving for pension obligations in the mid-1980s. (2/1/11).

Over the years came additional posts such as;

Look-Out – He’s got our credit card and he is going nuts!  (3/24/15)

WARNING!  WARNING! The state of Connecticut’s Fiscal Health  (11/18/14)

Malloy’s “NO TAX” pledge will send Connecticut into the abyss  (5/6/14)

The State Budget Gimmick to End all Budget Gimmicks (12/1/14)

Is that your credit card? Why yes, yes it is…. (9/26/13)

Connecticut: The Republic of Debt    (6/19/13)

And many, many more….

The effort to alert, warn and educate citizens about the fact that elected officials are failing to address Connecticut’s extraordinary debt crisis highlights the words of Jonathan Kozel, the great public education advocate and award winning author, who once wrote;

“Now, I don’t expect what I write to change things. I think I write now simply as a witness. This is how it is. This is what we have done. This is what we have permitted.” – Jonathan Kozol

And as if to prove the point, the debt crisis has gotten even worse thanks to the actions and inactions of Governor Dannel Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and the Democratic controlled Generally Assembly.

As if to drive the point home, today’s CT Newsjunkie headline reads, Pew: Connecticut Has One of Highest Public Debt to Personal Income RatiosThe story reports;

Connecticut has one of the highest ratios of debt to personal income and the fifth highest ratio of state retiree health care liabilities to income, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts report released Tuesday.

The report, which measured each state’s pension, health care and debt costs as a percentage of personal income, put Connecticut’s total liabilities at $67.5 billion dollars or 30 percent of personal income.

The ratio of public debt to private income is 8.8 percent, which ties Connecticut with Massachusetts for the second highest rate of public debt. When pension, healthcare and public debt are totaled, Connecticut has the fifth highest rate of unfunded liabilities.

Connecticut’s pension woes are well documented. The state’s pension obligations are about 40 percent funded, according to the 2015 actuarial valuation of the fund. Only 7 other states have a higher rate of unfunded liabilities.

Courtesy of CT Newsjunkie
Courtesy of CT Newsjunkie


While the information is hardly new, it remains extremely newsworthy.

It is newsworthy, in part, because Connecticut’s politicians are making things worse, not better and because many of them won’t even tell the truth about the crisis.

Take for example, the notorious failure to properly fund Connecticut’s pension obligations.

The new technique for ducking responsibility is to talk about “structural change,” as if we could just pass a law to reduce the problem with unfunded pension obligations.

The fact is that a state employee hired today is placed in what is called Tier III of the Connecticut State Pension System.

Tier IIA was already the least generous pension in New England, Tier III provides is even stingier.

The real reason Connecticut owes so much money to its Pension Fund is that, for the past four decades, the state has FAILED to make the necessary payments into the fund and has even raided the fund to pay for annual budget expenses.

As the CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf has written over and over again, and the CT Newsjunkie explains today;

The state will have to pay more than $1.5 billion into the pension fund this year to meet the annually required contribution, of which $1.2 billion represents unfunded liability or an amortization payment toward past unfunded liability. An estimated 82 percent of that payment represents the payment for unfunded liabilities. The normal annual cost of pension benefits is less than $300 million.

Had Connecticut been making its payments all along, there wouldn’t be a pension fund problem.

If Connecticut had been funding the Pension Fund correctly, the state would now have about $1 billion available to preserve vital services and begin the process of providing adequate funding to Connecticut’s public schools, and thereby reducing the unfair property tax burden the is helping to crush the Middle Class.

Instead, scarce taxpayer money is going to address the excess debt — and still the debt grows.

Over the four decades, Connecticut has had 3 Democratic governors, 2 Republican governors and an Independent/Republican governor.  Not one of them was willing to do the right thing.

A recent public opinion poll listed Dannel Malloy as the 2nd least popular governor in United States.

Malloy’s response was that his “numbers were low” because he was making the tough choices and doing the right thing.

But of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

Malloy’s legacy is not about doing the right thing.

Among Malloy’s list of failures is his refusal to properly address Connecticut’s long term debt.

You can read the important CT Newsjunkie story at:

  • buygoldandpropser

    How Revolutionary!

    “If you’re thinking about taking a staycation this summer, think twice. According to WalletHub, Connecticut metro areas are the worst summer destinations.
    In order to identify the best and most budget-friendly summer travel destinations, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 80 most populated metro areas (or metropolitan statistical areas, as identified by the U.S. Census Bureau) across five key areas: Travel costs and hassles, local costs, attractions, weather conditions and activities.
    Connecticut’s three top metro areas ranked toward the bottom of most of these categories. It’s not much of a surprise that Connecticut ranks low for affordability. Many of southwestern Connecticut’s beaches charge fees of $20 to $50 per day just to park.”

    • Sleepless in Bridgeport

      Really… can you say that? Who could miss the annual free Bridgeport East End “Drive By Festival”? Just remember when the bullet’s start flying……..Duck.

      Or maybe the Ganim “Truth or Dare” Festival. What’s that you say? Everything Ganim says is a non-truth. How can you say that in light of his report that crime is on the downswing (except for murder, rape, home invasions, robbery).

      Or the Hartford “Rob the public schools and give it all to Stevie Wonder Perry to buy table cloths for his Table of Shame”

      Face it CT……..we are cooked.

  • mookalaboona

    I remember when Rowland was governor he was going to take money out of the teachers pension fund and finance the Patriots football stadium in Hartford. Heard that on the radio. Glad that fell through. They’re all idiots, with the biggest idiot the bully Malloy!

  • Bluecoat

    This is what happens when we have legislators who write laws based on envy and jealousy. When the Democrat controlled legislature passes tax laws to take away hard earned money with the “just because” or “you didn’t earn that” or “you didn’t build that” mentality, what else do we expect….
    CT is the one of the most, or if not the most indebted per capita State because the politicians think that CT residents can just afford every tax increase they impose.
    Just face it, we are living in a ” Sixth Sense Economy” here in CT.
    But instead of dead people who don’t know they are dead, we have legislators that don’t know we are broke.
    There aren’t enough “rich” people to tax our way into prosperity, so instead of lowering taxes and making it easier to do business here in CT, the Dems just circumvent existing laws, to automatically register 40,000 illegals to vote at the DMV!
    Stein’s Law of Economics has caught up with us big time….

  • Bluecoat

    There is no way any of these funds can be funded without CT filing for bankruptcy…….
    If this were a business, the assets would be sold, and people would have to take less than they are owed…
    Just ask GM stock holders what the got when Obama took over GM. Answer – ZERO. Only the Unions made out….

  • buygoldandpropser

    Better hurry and tax them…it is not a joke. People who can, are leaving and it is not just the rich:

    Tudor Investment Corp., led by legendary hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones. The firm is leasing 10,800 square feet at 109 Royal Palm Way in Palm Beach, and he bought a home at 1300 South Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach for $71 million last year.
    ◾Affiliated Managers Group is now taking the entire top floor of the Phillips Point building at 777 South Flagler Drive, covering more than 20,000 square feet, after starting with about 7,000 square feet, Smallridge said.
    ◾Wexford Capital and SandPointe, which also are in the Phillips Point building, and Skybridge Capital, led by Anthony Scaramucci, which is based at 3601 PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens.

    This is a great story…WELCOME TO AMERICA and CONNECTICUT!

  • buygoldandpropser

    Danny will get on this straight away! Ladies and gentlemen…we have a potential TAX GAP!

  • buygoldandprosper

    Since Danny never really worked in the private sector and has been sucking on the public teat all his life, this is no surprise:

    “The new state budget’s ability to mitigate longstanding fiscal problems got poor marks Thursday on Wall Street as two of the four major rating agencies downgraded Connecticut’s credit ranking — probably boosting borrowing costs in the future.”
    The downward spiral continues with our second chance governor.

  • HavePensionWillMovetoFlorida

    All the more reason to reduce the state workforce even more. As a former state and union employee, it is absolutely appalling to see so many in the public/union sector get more in terms of salary, benefits and freedom of accountability. Trust me, I have and currently work for corporate and there exists the same greed and unfairness. However, it is not as rampant as what is present in the state and unions. Why? Accountability – plain and simple. You ultimately have to own up to a higher authority and prove your merit and worth – which is what a vast majority in the public sector unions oppose.

    Rather than focus on career and professional advancement, they leverage their use of shepherding to amass the same, brainwashed drones that do nothing but absorb the same old rhetoric, fund the pensions for longer term employees and turn their back to you when you have a thought contrary to their own.

    It is a sham and has produced nothing but complacency, incompetence and greed at all levels and the sheep that allow this end up wondering in the end why all this happened to them. Look at last year’s election where the teacher’s unions went against the request of their members (whom they work for) to not endorse Malloy. Now look at the end result, they are all getting a major deuce dropped on them while the benefactors like M. Peters get a cushy state job and folks like Donovan and Williams will run the other union. I don’t know when folks are going to realize that they have more influence then they realize and that they can vote out their leadership, fight for change and learn to sacrifice when necessary. Perhaps it’s too tough to let go when you have many folks with hundreds of accrued sick days, months of accrued vacation time, personal time, snow days and nearly double the amount of observed holidays. Not to mention cheaper and more extensive health coverage.

  • JMC

    Voting to give one party carte blanche brings unpleasant consequences. It takes three to tango here – Senate, House, and Governor.