Denise Nappier, Malloy, Pension, State Budget, State Employees Denise Nappier, Malloy, State Budget, State Employee Pension
Connecticut’s State Treasurer Denise Nappier deserves significant praise for stepping forward and having the courage and conviction to speak the truth about the legitimate concerns surrounding Governor Dannel Malloy’s proposal to fundamentally change the way Connecticut funds is massively underfunded State’s Employee Pension Fund.
Just three years ago, Malloy called on Connecticut to aggressively resolve the state’s historic unwillingness to properly fund its State Employee Pension Fund (See January 2012 Wait, What? post Malloy Takes Bold Step – Proposes Paying for State Pension Fund the Right Way.)
However, Malloy recently reversed his previous position and rather than focusing on making the State Employee Pension Fund more financially sounds, Malloy proposed shifting a significant portion of the shortfall onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. More
AAUP-CSU, AAUP-UConn, Board of Regents, Collective Bargaining, Connecticut State University, Malloy, UConn AAUP-CSU, AAUP-UConn, Collective Bargaining, CSU, Malloy, Scott Walker, UConn
During last year’s gubernatorial campaign, Connecticut’s state employee unions mobilized their members with the powerful message that a vote for Democrat Dannel Malloy was the only way to prevent Connecticut from having a “Wisconsin Moment,” a reference to Republican Tom Foley’s comments in support of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s unprecedented attack on public employees and their rights.
As the state employee unions wrote in a commentary piece that appeared in a summer 2014 on CT Newsjunkie entitled Union Members Not Interested in ‘Wisconsin Moment’
The last thing we need is a Koch Brothers-funded campaign to transform Connecticut into Walker’s Wisconsin.
AFSCME’s newsletter further explained,
“Preventing a “Wisconsin moment” from taking place in Connecticut was the prevailing theme of the Connecticut AFL-CIO’s 10th biennial political convention that took place June 16-17 in New Haven.
AFSCME President Lee Saunders electrified the more than 300 union delegates to the convention with his keynote address on June 16. “We can’t afford Connecticut to become another Wisconsin.”
Hours after Saunders’ speech, Gov. Malloy declared “We’re going to have a ‘Connecticut moment!’” in contrast to Republican endorsed gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley’s call last year for a “Wisconsin moment.”
In response, Connecticut’s state employees gave Malloy the votes he needed to stay in the Governor’s Office for a second term.
Now, a year later, faculty at the University of Connecticut (UConn) and Connecticut State University (CSU-Board of Regents) have become prime targets in the Malloy Administration’s attempt to push through some of the very policy changes that have been championed by the appropriately vilified Scott Walker.
The Malloy administration’s proposals to remove shared academic governance at the University of Connecticut and destroy tenure protections at Connecticut State Universities by repealing the requirement of declaring financial exigency prior to laying off tenured faculty are exactly the policy outcomes contained in Wisconsin Act 55, which Scott Walker signed into law this past July. More
Common Core, Education Reform, Malloy, Opt-Out, SAT, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Standardized Testing Common Core, Corporate Education Reform Industry, Malloy, opt out, SAT, SBAC, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test, Standardized Testing
A primary goal of the Corporate Education Reform Industry is to privatize public education by persuading policymakers that the nation’s system of public education is failing.
A key strategy of choice for the so-called reformers and their political lackeys is to prove that students and teachers are failing by requiring massive amounts of standardized testing that measures students on concepts and content they haven’t learned.
Take for example, the NEW SAT, which Connecticut has now mandated for use in the 11th grade.
[Read Once again Connecticut elected officials are wrong to mandate the SAT for all 11th graders (Wait, What? 11-2-15) which includes education advocate Wendy Lecker’s recent commentary piece on the NEW SAT.]
A New York Times article last week entitled, Everything You Need to Know About the New SAT, laid out the facts about the NEW SAT including the news that,
“The addition of more-advanced math, such as trigonometry, means the test will cover materials from a greater number of courses. That will make it more difficult for students to take the SAT early. Some questions will require knowledge of statistics, a course relatively few students take in high school.”
Difficult for students to take the SAT early?
Thanks to Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and the Democrat and Republican members of the Connecticut General Assembly, a new state law adopted last spring mandates that high school students now take the SAT in their junior year.
The test results will be used to judge both students and teachers.
However as high schools students (and parents) know, most high school juniors are, at best, tackling Algebra in 11th grade and many are still working to master Geometry.
But that coursework won’t be enough for high school juniors to succeed on the NEW SAT.
Even in academically successful Connecticut, few students will have even taken the courses needed to master the SAT and the majority of juniors may not have been provided with the math content to even survive the NEW Common Core aligned SAT.
According to most recent data published by the United States Government’s National Center for Education Statistics, only 16% of high school graduates in the country had taken a calculus course, 11% a statistics course and only a third had even come in contact with pre-calculus concepts, all of which they will be expected to answer if they want to master the NEW SAT.
And that was graduating seniors, not juniors!
The Corporate Education Reform Industry’s discriminatory tactics come into immediate view when considering that students of color have even less access to the advanced courses that would allow them to do well on the NEW SAT.
The NCES reports that while 18 percent of white high school graduates had taken calculus, only 9 percent of Hispanic graduates and 6 percent of African-American graduates had even completed a calculus course.
The Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing scheme is designed to fail the vast majority of public school students and the NEW SAT is equally unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory.
Parents take note:
People who force children to take numerous standardized tests that are designed to ensure those students fail are engaging in practices that are nothing short of child abuse.
Constantly deeming children as failures is mental abuse and child abuse is a crime.
The corporate elite and politicians pushing the outrageous testing scam should be held accountable for their abusive tactics.
More on the NEW SAT can be found via the following Wait, What? posts;
WARNING – Parents of High School Students – Especially Juniors – Beware! (10/1/15)
More on the Big Changes with the SAT and why juniors should take the old SAT at least once before March 2016 (10/2/15)
More on CT’s disastrous move to force all high school juniors to take the “NEW” SAT (10/18/15)
DONO Project, Hartford, Hartford Baseball Stadium, Luke Bronin, Malloy, Wyman DONO Project, Hartford, Hartford Baseball Stadium, Luke Bronin, Malloy, Wyman
Attributing his political success to his door-knocking efforts rather than the record breaking $1.3 million he raised from city and state contractors, lobbyists and donors from his hometown of Greenwich and out-of-state or the advantages of White Privilege, Luke Bronin’s dream of becoming leader of Hartford has come true.
During the campaign Bronin said he would save Hartford by reducing crime and expanding programs, all while promising not to raise taxes. The solution, according to the political novice, was more state funding and the wealth that would come with the wave of people moving into the new luxury apartments in the City’s Downtown.
Flanked by Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Bronin claimed victory Election Night but warned residents that “there will be no easy answers.”
In his successful effort to unseat one of the nation’s highest ranking Puerto Rican Mayors, Luke Bronin spent the primary attacking Pedro Segarra for not getting enough money from the Malloy administration, raising taxes and supporting the controversial Dunkin Donuts Baseball Stadium that is being constructed as part of Hartford’s DONO Development.
With his primary victory in hand, Bronin flip-flopped on the Stadium issue taking tens of thousands of dollars from the Stadium’s developers while remaining quiet about the developers failure to fulfill their contractual obligation to begin construction on the project’s promised grocery store and other elements of Phase II (Parcel E).
As Bronin’s campaign finance reports revealed, not only did he break the record for the most money spent on a mayoral campaign in state history but he funded his political aspirations with campaign donations from nearly 70 city contractors, more than 80 registered state lobbyists and dozens of state contractors. In the process of raising and reporting those contributions, Bronin and his campaign violated a number of provisions of Connecticut Campaign Finance law, a move that will undoubtedly result in a full-scale investigation by the State Elections Enforcement Commission.
Of particular note is that while pledging to support Hartford’s Public Schools, Bronin relied heavily on donations from the Charter School and Corporate Education Reform Industry, collecting huge amounts of money from charter school advocates and Greenwich residents Jonathan Sackler and Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II, as well as employees, board members and lobbyists for Connecticut’s charter schools.
Bronin will take office in January 2016.
Connecticut Education Assocation, Education Reform, Malloy, Opt-Out, SAT, Smarter Balanced Assessment Test CEA, Corporate Education Reform Industry, Malloy, opt out, SAT, SBAC
As the 2015 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly came careening to a close last spring, legislators overwhelmingly approved a bill that replaced the mandate that 11th graders take the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Test (SBAC) with a new requirement that all high school juniors take the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory College Board SAT test.
Without remotely understanding the ramifications of their action, legislators and Governor Dannel Malloy congratulated themselves for a job well done.
The Connecticut Education Association heaped praise on the very elected officials who had undermined public education in Connecticut, taking credit for the move to the SAT and complementing elected officials for a move that was as wrong as adopting the Common Core SBAC testing scheme in the first place.
But once again, politics being politics, the narrow world view held by those on the inside drove the policy making process at the expense of Connecticut’s students, parents, teachers and public schools.
The extremely serious problems with requiring that all 11th graders take the SAT test is becoming increasingly apparent.
In her latest column in the Stamford Advocate, fellow education advocate Wendy Lecker takes on the ignorant claims of those who support using the SAT as a definitive measure of educational success.
The problem is that Connecticut’s policymakers seem completely unwilling or unable to listen to the facts and do the right thing when it comes to the absurd standardized testing craze.
Parents and students beware…
Why use the SAT? by Wendy Lecker
A new large-scale, longitudinal study should make Connecticut policy makers think twice before continuing with their ill-advised policy imposing the SAT as the new “mastery test” for 11th graders.
Last spring, after opt-outs and outcry from parents and students, Connecticut lawmakers decided to quickly abandon the unvalidated SBAC test — but only for 11thgraders. In its place they decided to adopt the newly redesigned SAT.
Jettisoning the SBAC was a step in the right direction, but adopting the SAT presents a host of new problems.
First, the SAT is supposedly a test to predict college “aptitude,” not to assess what Connecticut high school students have learned.
Yet Connecticut plans to use the SAT to judge and rank schools and, of course, sanction them when they perform poorly. The State Department of Education confirmed that after it receives the 2016 results, cut scores will be set to determine “mastery.”
I asked SDE who will set the cut scores and how they can possibly have proof that these scores are valid representations of “mastery” when the test is new, as they will only have one year of results and it isn’t designed to test mastery. SDE refused to answer.
And even though the College Board itself opposes the use of the SAT for teacher evaluations because there is not enough evidence of its validity or reliability for this use, Hartford public schools is already planning to use the SAT in teacher evaluations this year. The district intends to compare spring 2016 SAT scores against students’ fall 2015 PSAT scores.
Second, while the SAT provides accommodations for certain students with disabilities, it does not provide any for English Language Learners (ELL). SDE plans to simply use the accommodations previously used for the CMT and CAPT for the new SAT.
However, experts in this field confirmed to me that one cannot simply transfer accommodations from one test to another. When I asked SDE for any proof of the validity and reliability of using CMT/CAPT ELL accommodations for the SAT, again, they refused to answer.
Proof that there are significant problems using the SAT for accountability purposes in Connecticut comes from a study just published by the University of California.
The study examined 1.1 million students from 1994-2011. It found that one-third of the variance of SAT scores could be explained by parental education, socio-economic status or status as a member of an underrepresented minority. By contrast, socio-economic factors accounted for only 7 percent of the variance in high school GPAs.
Even more stunning is that while in 1994, parental education was the strongest predictor of SAT scores, in the last four years of the study, status as a member of an underrepresented minority overtook both parental education and socio-economic status as the strongest predictor of SAT scores.
And while there is a racial gap in high school GPAs, that gap is not nearly as huge as the racial SAT gap. The study found, in ranking University of California applicants, Latinos and African-Americans comprised 60 percent of the lowest decile in SATs, but they comprised only 39 percent of the lowest decile in GPA. And while they comprised 12 percent of the top decile in GPA, they comprised only 5 percent of the top in SAT. Ranking by SAT score produces more severe racial/ethnic stratification than GPA.
The study also confirmed what three other large scale studies found: that the SAT is a poor predictor of college success. The evidence showed that high school GPA is an accurate predictor of college completion, while the SAT is very weak.
This finding was especially true for students of color. When controlling for parental education and socio-economic status, the predictive power of the GPA increased — while the SAT’s predictive power got even weaker.
The SAT cannot determine whether a student is ready for college success. The SAT never professed to determine whether someone is “career-ready,” whatever that means.
But, as the study shows, the SAT has an adverse effect on racial minorities.
So, while the SAT may be able to identify the demographic makeup of a school — and there are easier and cheaper ways to find that out — it cannot tell us a thing about the quality of the education that school provides.
If all the SAT will do is rank schools by race, why is Connecticut using it?
Connecticut’s students deserve far better and we should demand that Connecticut’s “leaders” abandon their blind, failed adherence to standardized testing.
Wendy Lecker is a columnist for the Hearst Connecticut Media Group and is senior attorney at the Education Law Center.
You can read and comment on Wendy Lecker’s piece at:
Malloy, Pension, State Budget, State Debt, State Deficit, State Employees Malloy, State Budget, State Debt, State Deficit, State Employee Pension, State Employees
The voters of Connecticut need to pay special attention to Governor Dannel Malloy’s irresponsible proposal to change the way that Connecticut funds its pension program for state employees.
Governor Malloy’s plan is nothing more than an outrageous maneuver to balance his failed state budgets on the backs of our children and their future. As the title of yesterday’s Wait, What? blog stated – Connecticut: BEWARE of Governor Malloy’s most fiscally irresponsible budget proposal yet.
The CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf provides more information about Malloy’s proposals in his latest article, explaining that the new initiative violates one of the most fundamental promises Dannel Malloy made when he was running for governor in 2010.
Keith Phaneuf writes,
“One year after taking office, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vowed to accelerate payments into the state’s cash-starved pension fund, much as a family might make extra mortgage payments now to lessen balloon payments looming in future years.”
But not surprisingly, although Malloy pushed through significant tax increases in 2011 and 2015, he used the additional funds to pay for other things and never followed through on his commitment to make those extra pension payments.
Now, in the face of new state budget problems, Malloy is completely reversing his stand on properly funding Connecticut’s State pension fund and proposing “kicking the can” down the road by pushing off $8 billion in necessary pension payments onto the next generation of Connecticut taxpayers.
“Under the governor’s plan, Connecticut still would catch up on its pension contributions — after 2032.”
But as the CT Mirror reports, the Governor who seems unable to tell the truth denied reality, once again, claiming,
“We are not kicking anything down the road,” Malloy said, citing a phrase he and other gubernatorial candidates used in 2010 to describe the fiscal gimmicks that had weakened the pension system and created a record-setting state budget deficit at that time.
“It is simply irresponsible to leave more and more debt for future generations.” Malloy wrote in his 2010 campaign platform on “Taxes & The Budget.”
The governor insisted this week that it would be irresponsible to pretend state finances, and taxpayers, could afford a $6 billion-plus pension expense down the road.
Postponing some pension payments until later to avoid that fiscal iceberg is the best option, Malloy said, adding that his new plan would “smooth out” the late-term costs.”
However, the truth is that the real spike in the amount of money needed to meet the required pension payments – the real “iceberg” Malloy is referencing – does not occur this year, or next year or even the year after that.
The harsh reality is that Governor Malloy isn’t offering up this new pension funding plan because he is worried about whether the state can make its required pension payments in 2025, he is doing it NOW because he wants to use the money that we should be paying into the pension fund over the next few years to balance the state budgets during his remaining time in office.
This is not an issue of Democrats versus Republicans or Liberals versus Conservatives. Nor is it a debate about whether there should be addition changes to Connecticut’s state employee pension program.
This debate is about whether Connecticut will fulfill its financial obligations to the state pension fund or allow Dannel Malloy to divert that money to balance his state budgets and reduce the need for additional tax increases or budget cuts.
There will always be politicians like Dan Malloy who would rather dump problems on someone else rather than actually tackling the job of developing fair and honest balanced budgets.
That said, what is not be acceptable is allowing Malloy to resolve the mess he created by dumping the problem on our children.
Education Reform, Hartford, Hartford Federation of Teachers, Luke Bronin, Malloy, Paul Tudor Jones Corporate Education Reform Industry, Hartford, HFT, Luke Bronin, Paul Tudor Jones
Hartford voters can thank Connecticut’s 4th wealthiest resident for helping provide Luke Bronin with the money he wanted in order to run for Mayor of Connecticut’s Capital City.
In fact, as Greenwich native and Hartford newcomer Luke Bronin eagerly awaits being elected Hartford’s next Mayor, he will need to thank many people for funding his record breaking $1.2 million mayoral campaign.
Among those who deserve “special recognition” are all of those on the extensive list of Greenwich residents who, taken together, donated nearly $100,000 to fund their hometown guy’s dream of leading the City of Hartford and its residents.
And first among all of those equals is real-life Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II whose net worth exceeds $4.6 Billion, making him the 108th richest American and placing him in the number 352 on the list of wealthiest people in the world.
Jones resides, at least some of the time, in a 13,000 square-foot Greenwich mansion that includes a 26-car garage.
Earlier this year, Paul Tudor Jones made news when he gave a TED talk in Canada condemning the “unsustainable” wealth gap between the rich and everyone else. While stating that he was not only an extremely success but a “proud capitalist” Jones observed that when it came to the reality of wealth inequality, the world was on a “disastrous” path and that if this path was left unaltered, it would lead to revolution.
A few weeks later the Billionaire hedge fund manager purchased a $71 million Mediterranean-style 7-bedroom, 18-bathroom property on the coast of Florida that sports a tennis court, movie theater, swimming pool and gym.
Paul Tudor Jones also owns the Grumeti Reserves in Tanzania’s Western Serengeti. His Sasaskwa Resort, which is located in the Reserve, has been repeatedly rated the #1 hotel in the world by Travel & Leisure Magazine.
According to the campaign finance records, Paul Tudor Jones’s donation to Luke Bronin was hardly his first foray into politics. The Billionaire donated $200,000 to Mitt Romney’s campaign for President of the United States, although he also hosted a 500-person fundraiser in 2008 for then candidate Obama at his Greenwich home. Others who have received campaign checks from Paul Tudor Jones include Hillary Clinton, John McCain, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, John Boehner (The immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives), Linda McMahon and a long, long list of Republican and Democratic politicians.
On the policy side, the Luke Bronin supporter may be best known for his unquestioning commitment and dedication to charter schools, the Common Core and the Corporate Education Reform Industry.
Not only did Paul Tudor Jones create the Excellence Charter School, the first all-boys charter school in the country, but he has been one of the most significant financial supporters of the charter school front group called Families for Excellent Schools. Families for Excellent Schools (FES for short) has organized rallies in support of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
In a successful effort to persuade Connecticut legislators to support Malloy’s initiative to divert scarce state funds from public schools to charter schools, Families for Excellent Schools even bussed in charter schools students and parents from as far away as New York City and Boston to attend a rally in Hartford last year. The Connecticut spokesperson for Families for Excellent Schools, who happens to have been Governor Dannel Malloy’s spokesperson is also the spokesperson for Luke Bronin.
Meanwhile, Paul Tudor Jones is not only an outspoken supporter of the Common Core, but in a moment of extreme rhetoric, he even claimed that the move to the “Common Core” was the modern version of John F. Kennedy’s “call to put a man on the moon.”
Interestingly, Jones himself has opening trashed the quality of the education he received.
That said, when the Billionaire was asked how public schools could be improved, he told Forbes Magazine that the solution was longer school days and years, better teacher and principal training and true evaluation and accountability.
Jones added that real culprit that caused the problems in the nation’s urban schools were the teacher unions. Jones observed,
“What’s happened in the last 20 years in many of the large cities in the U.S. is that the educational system has been dictated by the unions. They have failed. They get an ‘F.’ What we have now is a failure in the way the teaching corps is organized, administered and deployed.”
But if there is one thing that Luke Bronin has made clear in his campaign for mayor, (it even cost him the endorsement of the Hartford Teachers Union), is that money from Paul Tudor Jones and the other corporate education reformers is far more important to his candidacy than any support from teachers and their unions.
Finally, while Paul Tudor Jones’ pro-charter school, pro-Common Core, anti-teacher agenda has generated its share of controversy, it all pales by comparison to the excitement generated by his remarks about the role of women on Wall Street.
In May 2013 the Washington Post reported on a University of Virginia conference that Paul Tudor Jones spoke at in 2012.
Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones told the audience “that it is difficult for mothers to be successful traders because connecting with a child is a focus “killer.”
As Jones explained;
“’As soon as that baby’s lips touched that girl’s bosom, forget it,’ Jones said, motioning to his chest during an April symposium. He was talking about two women who worked with him at a stock brokerage in the late 1970s — two women who married, had children and, according to his account, no longer had the laser focus needed for the intense world of macro trading.”
And as to the possibility that more women will be able to break into the male dominated Wall Street environment Jones added;
“If you told me that this woman was not going to have a baby — certainly can get married but not going to have a baby — then I think it would be a completely different panel 20 years from now,” Jones said. “Assuming that she’s not going to have a baby.”
So Voters of Hartford!
If Luke Bronin wins on Election Day 2015, perhaps he can be convinced to invite Paul Tudor Jones to his inauguration so that the people of Connecticut’s Capital City can meet and personally thank Paul Tudor Jones and Billionaires for Bronin for helping the City’s new leader come up with the cash to run a winning campaign.
Malloy, Pension, State Budget, State Debt, State Deficit Malloy, State Budget, State Deficit, State Employee Pension, State Pension
“Gov. Dannel P. Malloy outlined Wednesday a sweeping plan to overhaul state government’s pension system.” – CT Mirror 10-29-2015
Governor Dannel Malloy’s state budget, that took effect last July 1, is already a quarter of a billion dollars in deficit and the problem is actually far worse.
Next year’s state budget is even more out of balance and after the next election, when legislators reconvene in January 2017, Connecticut will be facing a two-year General Fund Budget Deficit of $1.6 Billion … YES, A DEFICIT OF $1.6 BILLION … [A deficit of at least $927 million in FY 2018 and $831 million in FY 2019.]
In order to address that problem, Governor Dannel Malloy is proposing to dramatically change the way Connecticut funds its state employee pension system.
The maneuver is intended to reduce the amount of money the State of Connecticut puts into its pension fund in the short-term – thereby reducing the hole in Malloy’s state budget.
However, by failing to make the required pension payments in the years to come, Malloy’s plan would shift as much as $10 billion dollars onto the backs of our children.
If Malloy’s plan is adopted, the additional spending would start in 2033. While it seems years away, the fact is that a child born today will turn 17 in 2033. Connecticut, like the United States, has already taken on too much debt. Making the required pension payments as we go forward will not be easy, but shifting the burden to our children and their future is even worse.
Malloy’s proposal is complex and thus will get limited media coverage, or worse, no coverage at all.
Today the Stamford Advocate published an editorial entitled, Malloy initiative on taxes and payroll a good one. While complementing Malloy and his budget director, the editorial didn’t even mention Malloy’s pension proposal even though the impact of his plan will be significantly greater than his proposal to cut taxes for GE and reduce the number of state employees.
The lack of reporting is no excuse for not following the issue and demanding that legislators act appropriately.
All voters should start by reading Keith Phaneuf’s article, Malloy calls for big change in pension financing, in yesterday’s CT Mirror and then continue to monitor his coverage and the articles written by other reporters at the State Capitol.
When making the announcement yesterday, Malloy called his plan a “bold move.”
Connecticut’s elected officials, including Governors O’Neill, Weicker, Rowland, Rell and Malloy have all failed to properly fund Connecticut’s pension programs, but there is absolutely nothing bold about simply shifting the burden to the next generation.
Connecticut voters across the political spectrum should take note. Whether liberal, conservative or moderate, whether Democrat, Republican or other, Malloy’s pension plan will dramatically impact Connecticut Government and the rate of taxes and spending.
Many of those who will be most impacted by the pension plan are only children. Others have yet to be born.
Do not let our elected officials make this decision in vacuum.
Learn the facts and speak out.
As noted in yesterday’s Wait, What? post – Fiscal responsibility does not begin with running away from our obligations!
Malloy, State Budget, State Debt, State Deficit, State Employees
For the past five years, Governor Dannel Malloy has steadfastly refused to properly address Connecticut’s failure to properly fund its long-term obligations, including the state’s two pension funds and state employee post-retirement benefits.
Today, in what he called a “bold move,” Malloy announced his solution.
The strategy can best be described as a plan to put our collective heads in the sand, push off the burden to our children and hope that no one notices!
The plan is nothing but a gimmick to reduce the budget deficits that Malloy has built into his state budgets.
As the CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf explains in his article entitled, Malloy calls for big change in pension financing
East Hartford — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy outlined Wednesday a sweeping plan to overhaul state government’s pension system, pushing some costs off for a decade and a half to control spiking costs that he argued could drive up taxes and drain vital programs.
Benjamin Barnes, the governor’s budget director, said actuarial assessments and other fiscal details of the plan, developed in cooperation with a study of the pension system performed by analysts at Boston College, would be released soon.
“There is no magic bullet to solve high pension costs,” Malloy told commissioners during a briefing at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. “We must pay for the mistakes of the past, and there is no easy way around it.”
“My administration has never been afraid of big ideas,” the governor said. “We’re not afraid to look ourselves in the mirror and understand what our deficiencies are.”
Administration officials did not answer some key financial questions about the plan after the governor’s presentation. Barnes said details still were being refined and would be provided soon to legislators, other state officials and to the news media.
The administration does estimate that this new arrangement would dramatically reduce the annual contribution to cover pensions for workers hired after 1984. The existing pension fund assets already are enough to cover 95 percent of the long-term obligations owed to this group.
Under the governor’s proposal, starting in the 2018-19 fiscal year and continuing through 2033, total pension costs would be less than they otherwise would be under the current system. The annual estimated savings range from $200 million to more than $1 billion in 2032.
But total pension costs — which were supposed to drop rapidly after 2033 after two decades of scrupulous savings — now would remain significant for at least another decade and possibly into the mid-2050s.
The governor and his staff insisted this plan was not a maneuver to burden future generations with huge costs. But they also acknowledged that many key details of the plan were not immediately available after the briefing.
Some of the big questions administration could not answer immediately include:
How much would total pension costs be reduced between now and 2033?
How much would they rise for the decade or two after that date?
Would this change result in the state’s forfeiting any investment earnings or any federal aid? (Some of Connecticut’s grants under the federal Medicaid program reflect the cost of providing retirement benefits to state health care workers.
The most outrageous comment of all is the line that reads, “The governor and his staff insisted this plan was not a maneuver to burden future generations with huge costs.”
However that is exactly what Malloy’s plan would do. A maneuver to cut costs in the short term at the expense of our children and their future.
A recent Wait, What? post was entitled, Governor Malloy – A politician who simply cannot tell the truth.
Today he proved the truth of that statement beyond any reasonable doubt.
Fiscal responsibility does not begin with running away from our obligations!
Campaign Finance, Hartford, Luke Bronin, Malloy Campaign Finance, Campaign Finance Reform, Hartford, Luke Bronin, Malloy
Having spent in excess of $1 million on his initial run for public office, political newcomer and Greenwich native Luke Bronin is expecting the voters of Hartford to make him their next mayor on Election Day – Tuesday, November 3, 2015.
But as Bronin’s campaign finance reports indicate, in addition to running the most expensive mayoral campaign in Connecticut history, Bronin “wins the award” for collecting more money from state lobbyists than any other mayoral candidate in Connecticut.
In a truly unprecedented maneuver, as of nearly a month ago, Governor Malloy protégée Luke Bronin had already collected more than $25,000 from a total of about 80 registered state lobbyists.
Bronin’s list of lobbyist fans include John Rowland’s former chief of staff, Rowland’s former campaign manager and a so-called “social justice” lobbyist who has become one of Dannel Malloy’s biggest apologists. As of the last campaign finance report, almost every major lobbyist had donated to Bronin with a number of them donating more than once.
Bronin’s strategy of collecting campaign donations from those who are paid to influence public policy will come with a price.
Connecticut State Law requires all political candidates to identify any contributor who is a lobbyist, lobbyist spouse or dependent child of a lobbyist on their campaign finance reports. However, of the nearly 80 donations Bronin has received from lobbyists or their families, only 17 (or about 20 percent) are properly identified.
The utter failure to identify contributions received from lobbyists will undoubtedly generate an investigation by the State Elections Enforcement Commission and, according to state law, each violation could result in a penalty of up to $2,000 per contribution.
Considering that the names of Connecticut’s leading lobbyists are well known to Bronin and to the political operatives running his campaign, the only rational explanation for failing to identify more than 50 contributions from lobbyists on his campaign finance reports is the possibility that Bronin’s campaign was engaged in an effort to mislead the public into thinking that he wasn’t cashing in with those who are paid to influence policy outcomes.
The list of lobbyists donating to Bronin includes a number who represent companies that actually do business with the City of Hartford and many more that have state contractors as clients.
Following Governor John Rowland’s resignation and trip to jail, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a landmark campaign finance reform bill aimed at getting special interest and lobbyist money out of Connecticut politics. However, Governor Malloy with the help of Democrats in the legislature has significantly watered down the once prominent law. Lobbyists can not only give to mayoral candidates, but Malloy’s campaign used a loophole in the law to raise a significant amount of lobbyist and state contractor money into a slush fund that was used to pay for Malloy’s direct mail pieces in 2014.
Now, in 2015, Luke Bronin has been raising a massive amount of money from people and business that have contracts with the City of Hartford and the State of Connecticut, as well as lobbyists.