Malloy claims $5.7 million state budget deficit … But $400 million is closer to the truth

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Early last summer the Connecticut General Assembly adopted a budget agreement that had been negotiated between Governor Dannel Malloy and the Democratic leaders of the Connecticut State Senate and State House of Representatives.

In truth, the new state budget was out of balance the day it was signed into law and the situation has only gotten worse over the last four months.

Connecticut Income Tax revenues are down.

Connecticut Sales Tax revenues are down

Of the $209 million in “lapse” savings required in the state budget, Malloy has yet to identify $61 million in cuts.

And while the budget plan required about 2,000 layoffs in order to balance, the governor has only implemented about half that number.

Meanwhile, the poorly developed Malloy/Democratic austerity budget will lead to a variety of expenditures above budgeted amounts.

Together, these items translate to a REAL budget deficit in this year’s state budget in the range of $400 million or more.

However, rather than tell the citizens of Connecticut the truth about Connecticut’s continuing fiscal crisis, Governor Dannel Malloy lied to the people of Connecticut in the hope that voters would not take their anger out on the Democratic legislators who voted for the bad budget deal.

As the CT Mirror explained,

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy reported a minuscule state budget deficit [On October 20, 2016] — projecting a $6 million shortfall in state government’s $17.9 billion General Fund.

[…]

“We are projecting a minor $5.7 million operating deficit,” Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes, Malloy’s budget chief, wrote in his official monthly forecast to Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo.

“Given that our estimates reflect information only through the first quarter of this fiscal year, this projection does not represent a material deviation from the budget plan.”

[…]

Still, it comes just six weeks after the administration reported a fiscal hole 23 times larger than this one in a memo to dozens of agency heads.

The CT Mirror’s story added,

“These budget numbers from the governor’s office are at odds with what every other reasonable observer knows and what other independent analysts have stated: Connecticut’s finances are a mess and 20 days before the election this partisan Democratic office wants to confuse and defuse when it comes to the salient facts,” House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said. “We are in huge trouble and we all know it will come out after Nov. 8, Election Day.

And

“The governor has downplayed and misstated facts for at least a year,” Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said. “The inability to face the real facts just gets this state deeper and deeper and deeper into trouble, and the enablers are the Democratic majority.”

For those tracking Malloy’s deficit charade, the CT Mirror broke the story that Malloy’s Budget Director wrote to agency heads last month informing them that there was a $133 million revenue shortfall in this year’s budget.  However, days later, this same official wrote to State Comptroller Kevin Lembo telling him that there was no budget deficit at all.

Malloy’s latest political tactic is strikingly similar to the one he used when he was running for re-election in 2014.  For months he told Connecticut voters that there was no state budget deficit, nor would there be any state budget deficit if he was re-elected to a second term in office.

However, ten days after Election Day 2014, Malloy announced that a major state deficit had suddenly appeared.

While Malloy strains to keep the magnitude of this year’s state budget deficit secret, the truth will become increasingly apparent in the weeks following this year’s November 8th election.

In illegal move, Malloy administration misleads public (again) on budget deficit

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State law requires that on the 20th of every month, the Governor’s administration MUST inform the State Comptroller about any known budget deficit.  The State Comptroller, in turn, uses that information to help guide his mandated monthly report that is issued on the first of each month.

In October, Malloy’s budget division told State Comptroller Kevin Lembo that the budget was in balance, but as it turns out, that was a lie.

As Keith Phaneuf at the CT Mirror is reporting today;

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration last month warned dozens of state agency heads of a significant shortfall in the current budget — but continues to officially report that finances remain in balance.

The $133 million revenue shortfall disclosed to agency heads on Sept. 6 was excluded 14 days later from the last official monthly budget forecast submitted to Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo.

Malloy’s top budget chief told Malloy’s commissioners that there was a deficit, yet day later, sought to mislead Lembo about the problem.  Lembo, in turn, provided the public with a report that wasn’t accurate.

Early last summer Governor Malloy and the Democratic members of the Connecticut General Assembly adopted an austerity budget that cut vital services.  Governor Malloy swore the budget was balanced when he signed it.  Months later, when they knew there was a budget deficit appearing, they decided to overlook that fact when issuing their required financial report.

Six weeks before this critical election, Team Malloy choose to mislead the public.

As the CT Mirror explains;

Shortly after the budget was approved, analysts noted that summer income, sales and corporation tax receipts were weaker than anticipated. Since then, administration plans to save money from layoffs have progressed much more slowly than anticipated, further raising concerns about whether the new budget was balanced.

Still, the administration has reported no problems with the budget since the fiscal year began on July 1. It’s last monthly budget projection, filed Sept. 20 with Lembo’s office, held that finances were in balance and that revenues for the General Fund — which covers most operating costs in the budget — were coming in as anticipated.

Yet two weeks earlier, in a Sept. 6 memo imploring all agency heads to keep their spending requests lean in the next budget, Barnes estimated that General Fund revenues in the current budget would total $17.75 billion — $133 million less than the amount needed to balance the current budget.

What is the public to think when the governor of the state of Connecticut lies to the public about the size of the budget deficit?

Of course, the sad reality is that this isn’t the first time Malloy and his team have mislead voters about the budget in order to hide the truth for political purposes.

Remember, this is the governor who refused to admit there even was a deficit in 2014 until 10 days after he was re-elected to a second term in office. It was only then that the public was told about the growing fiscal crisis that lead to this year’s disastrous budget deal.

 

Malloy Administration considering 64.5% tuition increase for 17,000 Community College students

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Governor Dannel Malloy and the Democrat controlled General Assembly have already made record cuts to Connecticut’s public colleges and universities, cuts that have resulted in massive tuition increases and reduced services, but as the CT Mirror is reporting, Governor Malloy’s austerity budget strategies may now lead to a 64.5 percent increase in tuition and fees for more than 17,000 of Connecticut’s college students.

While Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and other national Democratic leaders propose to make a community college education free in the United States, the Malloy administration is floating a proposal that would lead to a massive spike in cost for those attempting to get a college degree at one of Connecticut’s community colleges.

In, Steep tuition hike pitched for many community college students, the CT Mirror reports

Currently, students who pay full-time tuition can take up to 18 credit hours. A proposal that the Board of Regents’ finance panel will consider next Thursday would charge students $150 in tuition and $74 in mandatory fees for each credit they take over 12. A student who took 18 credit hours would be charged an extra $1,344 over the current cost of $2,084 a semester, a 64.5 percent increase.

[…]

There were 17,073 community college students who took more than 12 credits a semester last year, about one of every six community college students. If the colleges had charged for credit hours in excess of 12, the proposal estimates, the colleges would have collected $8.7 million in tuition revenue.

The Malloy administration’s strategy is likely a bait and switch effort to make an otherwise outrageous tuition increase look “reasonable.”

Considering the state of the economy and the socio-economic status of the students attending Connecticut’s community colleges, any major increase in tuition will mean fewer students getting the college education they need to live more fulfilling and productive lives.

Why is Governor Dannel Malloy on a mission to destroy Connecticut’s Vocational-Technical High Schools

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Yesterday’s news headlines read:

State education board eyes closing 2 vo-tech schools, other cuts  (CT Mirror 10/5/16)

And

More Layoffs, Vo-Tech School Closures Possible As Malloy’s Budget Office Seeks Spending Cuts (Courant 10/5/16)

The message to Connecticut’s young people was clear and concise.  Think twice before planning to go to one of Connecticut’s Vocational-Technical High Schools.

It was déjà vu all over again!

Governor Dannel Malloy talks a good game about making Connecticut’s children “college and career” ready, but his actions and his budget plans speak louder than words.  In fact, they tell a very different story about his commitment to children and Connecticut’s economy.

In 2011, at the beginning of his first term as governor, Dannel Malloy actually proposed to disband Connecticut’s successful Vo-Tech high school system altogether, this despite the fact that theses schools have provided tens of thousands of Connecticut citizens with the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and the workforce.

When students, parents, teachers, the business community and legislators fought back, Malloy eventually retreated and allowed the 18 schools and their nearly 11,000 students to exist.

However, from that day on, a short-sighted and mean-spirited Malloy administration has consistently used the state budget to squeeze the life out of these important and valuable schools, all while the governor claimed he was making education a priority.

A Wait,What? headline from this past May told the story.  Entitled, Malloy and Legislative Democrats target Regional Vo-Tech high schools for devastating cuts, the article reported that the so called “compromise” budget agreement between Malloy and Democratic legislative leaders cut the Vo-Tech High School budget by $7.8 million, dropping the state’s investment in vocational and technical education from $171 million a year to $163 million.  The new budget also empowered Malloy to cut the Vo-Tech high schools even more via layoffs and budget rescissions.

Some Democrats cried big alligator tears about the irresponsible budget but most, nevertheless, voted in favor of the despicable reductions that have already reduced programs and limited opportunities at the Vo-Tech schools.

And now, the Malloy administration is preparing to do even more harm to Connecticut’s Vo-Tech high schools.

In what should be an unbelievable move, Malloy’s political appointees on the State Board of Education have voted to eliminate two Vo-Tech High Schools as part of their budget cutting plan.

The CT Mirror explains;

The State Board of Education Wednesday endorsed a proposal to close two of the state’s vocational technical high schools and end all athletic programs at the remaining ones if the department’s budget is cut by 10 percent in the next fiscal year – an amount the governor’s budget chief has told agencies is likely.

These state-run schools enroll 11,000 students and have steadily been cut over the last several years as state legislators worked to close budget deficits.

Budget proposals serve as a blueprint, effectively highlighting a governor’s priorities and goals.

Let there be no mistake…

Malloy’s unending efforts to destroy Connecticut’s Vocational-Technical system speak volumes.

Students, parents, teachers and taxpayers are on notice, yet again, that Connecticut has a governor who utterly fails to understand or appreciate Connecticut public schools or what is best for Connecticut’s economy and its citizens.

Connecticut Budget Deficits – As far as the eye can see!

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Despite the political spin that he had put Connecticut’s fiscal house in order, Governor Dannel Malloy has presided over a continuous sea of red ink when it comes to the Connecticut state budget.

As Keith Phaneuf explains in a recent CT Mirror article entitled, CT budget closes in deficit again; little reserves left for this year,

“The governor insisted throughout his 2014 re-election campaign that nonpartisan deficit forecasts were wrong, and that growth projections for Connecticut’s economy — and correspondingly for state revenues — were too conservative.

But state government has had nothing but deficits since the governor’s re-election. Connecticut closed the 2015 fiscal year with the General Fund $113.2 million in the red.

Malloy began to acknowledge in the summer of 2015 that the economic growth he’d predicted was lagging, and by January 2016 he’d begun declaring repeatedly that Connecticut faced a “new economic reality” of modest growth. The Democratic governor’s Republican critics say this economic shift was evident years earlier and that the governor would not admit it until after he had won a second term.”

The actual numbers paint a stark and depressing picture:

Connecticut’s string of budgets in deficit:

Fiscal Year15   $113 Million Deficit

Fiscal Year16   $170 Million Deficit

Fiscal Year17   Present year – Deficit (To Be Admitted)

Fiscal Year18   $1.3 Billion Deficit (Projected)

Fiscal Year19   $1.6 Billion Deficit (Projected)

Despite two record tax increases and unparalleled budget cuts over the last six years, Connecticut is facing a budget shortfall of about $3 Billion in the next budget cycle.

Adding to the fiscal crisis is the fact that Governor Malloy and the Democratic members of the General Assembly have left Connecticut with a “Rainy Day Fund” of only $236 million, or about 1.3 percent of the state’s annual operating costs.  Comptroller Kevin Lembo recommends that Connecticut’s “Rainy Day Fund” should be in the range of 15 percent of annual operating expenses, a number which means that Connecticut has a fund that is less than 10 percent of what we should have set aside for difficult economic times.

And yet, in response, Malloy continues to downplay the problem, with his spokesperson telling the CT Mirror

 “The year that ended on June 30, 2016, was an extraordinarily difficult one,” Malloy spokesman Chris McClure said. “Income tax receipts were $650 million below budget, and the state was repeatedly compelled to take difficult steps to mitigate a developing deficit. We should be gratified that the hard work of state workers and the commitment of the legislature helped us to preserve more than $200 million of our Rainy Day fund, even in the pouring rain.

“We will continue to hold the line on the budget to ensure we fulfill our solemn obligation to balance the budget for FY17,” McClure said. “Our most current budget estimate, issued September 20th, is that the state is on track to meet its budget targets for FY17.”

However, the fiscal reality is that Connecticut’s budget is not on target.

Malloy and public relations team are intentionally overlooking the news that revenues are falling short and expenses are actually going to be significantly higher than authorized.

It would not be at all surprising if this year’s shortfall exceeds $200 million, eating up the remaining $236 million in the “Rainy Day Fund.”

But with Election Day a month away, look for Malloy to duck any mention of this year’s budget deficit until after November 8, 2016.

Then, and only then, will the people of Connecticut be told about Connecticut’s continuing budget deficits.

Connecticut taxpayers robbed by their elected officials and the Lockheed Martin Corporation

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The politicians and industry officials were beaming.  The media was singing their praises.  The Connecticut General Assembly had just voted to give Lockheed Martin $220 million in public funds.

The question was not whether Lockheed Martin was going to get paid for producing a new line of helicopters.  The question was whether, in addition to payment and excessive profits, a state government would pay the Lockheed Martin Corporation even more money in return for a promise that the company would produce those machines in their state.

And Lockheed Martin found a willing partner in the form of Governor Dannel Malloy and the members of the Connecticut General Assembly.

Yesterday, Connecticut’s elected officials voted – almost unanimously – to give Lockheed Martin $220 million in corporate welfare.  Counting principal and interest, the cost to Connecticut taxpayers will exceed a quarter of a billion dollars over the next twenty years.

In return, Lockhead Martin, a $50 Billion a year company, has promised to keep Sikorsky’s headquarters in Connecticut for at least a decade, add up to 550 new jobs at the Sikorsky plant and build some new helicopters here in the state.

The underlying threat was that If Connecticut’s taxpayers didn’t cough up the blood money, Lockheed Martin would retaliate by moving the Sikorsky work to a factory in another state or overseas.

And the $220 million taxpayers will be paying?

As Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Lockheed Martin Corporation, Marilyn Hewson made in excess of $29 million in 2015.  Her pay and benefits topped $106 million over the past five years.  Meanwhile, the top five Lockheed Martin corporate officers pulled in approximately $62 million in pay and benefits last year.

That $220 million that Connecticut taxpayers are donating to the company barely equates to what the top five corporate officials have made over the last five years.

But Connecticut’s elected officials weren’t talking about padding the salaries of Lockheed Martin’s executives yesterday, instead they were patting themselves on the back for agreeing to the deal.

Governor Dannel Malloy crowed about the gift Connecticut was making to one of the most profitable members of the military-industrial complex saying,

“Competition in today’s worldwide economic climate is fierce, and Connecticut is showing that we remain a valued leader where businesses can maintain a competitive edge well into the future,”

Meanwhile, State Senator Catherine Osten, (D-Sprague), celebrated the deal calling it, “an unalloyed piece of good news,” and stating,

“I’m more than happy to support this deal. I think it’s a great day. I think it’s a turning point in Connecticut.”

Maintaining a competitive edge?  The development is an unalloyed piece of good news?

To reiterate the obvious, this was not about whether Lockheed Martin was going to get paid to build a new line of helicopters.  Not only were public and private funds paying for the helicopters, but Lockheed Martin was always going to make a massive profit on each unit.

The reference to the so-called competitive climate was simply a question of which state – or country – was willing to pay Lockheed Martin above and beyond their costs and profits in order to “win” the company’s benign neglect.

In January 1960, President Eisenhower warned us of the danger of the Military-Industrial Complex.

Yesterday, we saw that more than fifty-five years later, there were only 7 out of 187 members of the Connecticut General Assembly who had the courage and conviction to stand up to that political cabal.

Voting against the horrendous deal…

Republican State Senator Markley and Republican State Representatives Ackert, Belsito, Dubitksy, France, Sampson and Smith.

You read read more about the story and how the media covered it via:

CTMirror: http://ctmirror.org/2016/09/28/sikorsky-incentives-win-bipartisan-approval-in-special-session/

CTNewsjunkie: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/lawmakers_look_favorably_upon_deal_to_keep_helicopter_production_in_connect/

Courant: http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-sikorsky-connecticut-deal-20160928-story.html

 

Is it pure stupidity or political expediency that led the legislature to cut its oversight of the Malloy administration?

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CT Newsjunkie columnist Sara Darer Littman digs deeper into the incredible decision by Connecticut’s legislative leaders to dump the professional staff of its Program Review and Investigations Committee rather than trim the legislature’s partisan, political staff.

As explained in last week’s Wait, What? post entitled, Surprise!  CT Legislature decides to function in the dark,

As the former House Chair of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Program Review and Investigation Committee, I’ve waited with baited breath as Connecticut’s legislative leaders’ contemplated ways to trim their generous legislative branch budget.

One option facing the Democratic-controlled Legislative Management Committee was to reduce the number of partisan, political staff that serve as the part-time legislator’s year-around aides.

Alternatively, legislative leaders announced that would have to consider taking the unprecedented and illogical step of eliminating the professional staff who work for the critically important Program Review and Investigation Committee, the primary entity that allows the legislature to investigate and oversee Executive Branch programs.

What, oh what, would legislative leaders do when faced with such a “difficult” decision?

Should they take a small step that might reduce their power of incumbency or decide it is better to simply fly blind when it comes to the Legislative Branch’s oversight function?

With the stark headline, CT legislature’s chief investigative panel to lose all staffthe CT Mirror reported on the recent decision made by the legislative leaders.

CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf explains,

State legislative leaders have eliminated the General Assembly’s chief investigative arm, reassigning most of the Program Review and Investigations Committee’s 11-member staff to other duties in coming months.

The committee was established 44 years ago over the veto of then-Gov. Thomas Meskill.

In her follow up to the initial news, Sara Darer Littman writes;

The bottom line is that fewer analysts will be looking at the financial consequences of our state legislation and programs, which cannot possibly be viewed as a good thing by any rational taxpayer.

What makes this move particularly disturbing, especially in light of what’s been happening with the state’s economic incentives, is that the program review staff would have been assigned to review hundreds of millions of dollars in business tax incentives if Comptroller Kevin Lembo’s bill — which was passed by both houses of the legislature — had not been subsequently vetoed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Some of us are old enough to remember when the Governor came to office pledging to run an “open and transparent” government.

Sara Darer Littman goes on to lay bare the vague rationale behind the legislature’s recent decision to destroy their oversight function.  Her piece raises serious questions that every legislator should be forced to answer.

You can read and comment on her commentary piece at:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/op-ed_budget_changes_hamstring_good_government/

 

 

Surprise!  CT Legislature decides to function in the dark

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As the former House Chair of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Program Review and Investigation Committee, I’ve waited with baited breath as Connecticut’s legislative leaders’ contemplated ways to trim their generous legislative branch budget.

One option facing the Democratic-controlled Legislative Management Committee was to reduce the number of partisan, political staff that serve as the part-time legislator’s year-around aides.

Alternatively, legislative leaders announced that would have to consider taking the unprecedented and illogical step of eliminating the professional staff who work for the critically important Program Review and Investigation Committee, the primary entity that allows the legislature to investigate and oversee Executive Branch programs.

What, oh what, would legislative leaders do faced with such a “difficult” decision?

Should they take a small step that might reduce their power of incumbency or decide it is better to simply fly blind when it comes to the Legislative Branch’s oversight function.

With the stark headline, CT legislature’s chief investigative panel to lose all staff, the CT Mirror is now reporting the recent decision made by the legislative leaders.

CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf explains,

State legislative leaders have eliminated the General Assembly’s chief investigative arm, reassigning most of the Program Review and Investigations Committee’s 11-member staff to other duties in coming months.

The committee was established 44 years ago over the veto of then-Gov. Thomas Meskill.

The moves cap months of negotiations over the program review office between leaders of the Democratic majorities in the state House and Senate.

The $19.76 billion state budget enacted in May for the 2016-17 fiscal year includes a vague directive that the Legislative Branch achieve $750,000 in savings. Democratic leaders initially announced it would be achieved by eliminating six of the 12 program review staff posts.

[The] alternative, ultimately, was to eliminate the committee’s staff but let most of them remain in state employment.

[…]

During the last recession, program review staff recommended changes involving prescription drug purchasing and transitioning more nursing home patients into home care that saved just over $200 million in 2010 and 2011 combined, according to the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.

But legislative leaders have said tough fiscal decisions had to be made.

[…]

Sharkey and Looney said they value the program review office’s work but they also felt the legislative branch’s portion of the budget — albeit a small one — should sacrifice in the same way as the rest of state government.

The Republican minorities in the House and Senate had recommended cutting the entire program review operation in an alternative budget plan.

By eliminating the Program Review and Investigations Committee’s professional staff, Connecticut’s elected state senators and state representatives have taken another giant step in giving up their constitutional duty to review and investigate the actions taken by Governor Dannel Malloy and Connecticut’s Executive Branch of government.

Hooray – CT Taxpayers to cough up $220 million for Lockheed Martin Corporation

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With annual sales in excess of $50 billion a year, the gigantic Lockheed Martin Corporation purchased Sikorsky Aircraft from United Technologies Corporation last year.  Then, just last month, the mega-defense contractor announced that it would be laying off at least 150 workers at the Sikorsky Aircraft plant in order to ensure that it would, “remain competitive in the marketplace.”

Now comes word that Governor Dannel Malloy and the corporate behemoth have reached a reached a “tentative deal” in which Connecticut taxpayers will give Lockheed Martin more than $220 million dollars in return for the defense contractor’s commitment to keep Sikorsky headquartered in Connecticut and create up to 550 jobs over the next 16 years.  The company is also promising to increase total payments to Connecticut-based subcontractors between now and 2032.

While Malloy has been a huge fan of using corporate welfare to buy the loyalty of successful corporations, this particular deal will be one of the largest in Malloy’s career.

While details are a bit scarce, it appears that of the $220 million being given to Lockheed Martin, Connecticut will borrow about two-thirds of the money and reduce the company’s tax liabilities by the remainder.

Considering taxpayers will then be liable for the principal and interest associated with the borrowing scheme, the total cost to taxpayers will exceed a quarter of a billion dollars meaning the subsidy from Connecticut taxpayers to Lockheed Martin will be in the range of $500,000 to $600,000 per promised job.

The CT Mirror is reporting that the Connecticut deal includes the following elements;

  • The company would earn grants of up to $8.57 million annually over the term of the agreement by meeting benchmarks such in jobs, payroll spending, use of in-state suppliers and spending on machinery, equipment, and other long term investments.
  • Sales and use taxes would be exempted up to $5.7 million per year over the term of the agreement.
  • If Lockheed Martin exceeds the target-level employment by 100 to 550 jobs in any given year of the agreement, it will be eligible for a performance incentive grant of up to $1.9 million, for a total of up to $20 million.

Due to the size of the deal, a special session of the Connecticut General Assembly will be needed to approve the project, a session that has apparently been set for September 28, 2016,

You can read more about this developing story at:

Connecticut Offers Stratford-Based Sikorsky Incentives To Stay  (CT Newsjunkie)

Sikorsky, Malloy cut tentative deal to produce new helicopter in Connecticut (CT Mirror)

Malloy, Lockheed Martin Reach Deal to Keep Sikorsky HQ in Connecticut (Courant)

Asked about the critically important CCJEF v. Rell case, Malloy tells media he isn’t Governor Jodi Rell

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It was another classic Wait, What? moment with Dannel Malloy at the helm.

When the CCJEF v. Rell school funding lawsuit was filed 11 years ago, Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy was a plaintiff in the case, one of a number of local elected officials who decried the fact that Connecticut’s system of school funding was unfair, inadequate and unconstitutional.

Then, Malloy become Connecticut’s governor in January 2011 and immediately did, “a 180.”  Instead of using his position to settle the lawsuit and develop a funding formula that would be fair and constitutional, Malloy lead the charge to dismiss, disrupt and upend the case that would have benefited the children, parents, teachers and taxpayers of Stamford and Connecticut’s other poorer cities and towns.

Malloy not only squandered the opportunity to develop a constitutionally adequate school funding system, he used his budget authority to make the state’s school funding programs even more unfair.

Last week came the initial trial ruling on the CCJEF v. Rell case.  Connecticut superior court judge went so far as to say that not only is Connecticut’s school funding system unconstitutional, it is irrational.

So will Malloy and his administration appeal the decision to the Connecticut Supreme Court or not?

In a press conference yesterday (Tuesday, September 13, 2016) Malloy ducked the all-important issue claiming that since his name was Dan Malloy and not Jodi Rell, it wasn’t his responsibility to recommend whether the state of Connecticut should or should not appeal the controversial decision.

Instead he told reporters to go talk to Attorney General George Jepsen, the very state official Malloy has worked so closely with in their effort to dismiss and destroy the CCJEF lawsuit.

The New Haven Independent captured Malloy’s interaction on the subject, reporting the following in a story entitled, Malloy: Ask Jepsen,

Don’t ask Dannel P. Malloy how Connecticut will respond to a judge’s landmark ruling ordering sweeping changes in the state’s education system. After all, his name’s not on the lawsuit.

So the governor said when pressed by reporters at an unrelated New Haven press conference Tuesday afternoon for his take on Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher’s 254-page ruling last week in Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) v. Rell.

The 11-year-old lawsuit sought fairer educational funding for poorer school districts.

Judge Moukawsher went further. He not only ordered the state to distribute its education aid to local cities and towns more rationally and fairly (though not necessarily to spend more money overall). He also ordered new standards for high school graduation, for distributing special-education aid, for evaluating teachers. And to present a plan to do all that in 180 days.

Malloy was mayor of Stamford when the coalition originally filed that suit. He in fact joined the coalition. He was a plaintiff.

Now he’s the governor — not “Rell,” aka Jodi Rell, who was governor at the time of the filing. Malloy is now in effect the defendant, not the plaintiff.

So, reporters asked: Will he direct the attorney general to appeal the ruling?

Malloy responded that it’s not his call. Technically, Attorney General George Jepsen will have to decide whether the state appeals the ruling. And Malloy, who usually prides himself as a driving force behind state policy, said he plans not to try to influence Jepsen’s decision.

[…]

Malloy said he agrees with much of what Judge Moukawsher wrote in his decision: “You know why I think he made very valid points? Because I’ve been making the same points for the past five years.” He also said he disagrees with some of the decision, particularly the timetable; given that some of the decisions involve the legislative process, he questioned whether the state can meet the 180-day deadline.

CT Mirror reporter Mark Pazniokas didn’t let Malloy off the hook. Following is a partial transcript of his follow-up questions and Malloy’s responses.

Malloy: The attorney general needs to do what the attorney general needs to do.

Pazniokas: The lawsuit, after all, is “CCJEF vs. Rell.” The attorney general’s office is charged with doing the defense. They are not the defendant. You in effect are.

Malloy: My name’s not Rell.

Pazniokas: But if you were elected a little bit earlier, “Malloy” would be the defendant. The State Department of Education is in effect the client …

Malloy: I’m not fighting you. I’m not trying to get away from giving you a true answer and a factual answer. It’s a very involved decision. If the attorney general believes that it needs clarification, that it needs final judgement status … I am telling you that I am in agreement with large portions of this decision. And particularly on those points that I have made for the past five years.

Pazniokas: I just want to be clear … You are saying it is entirely George Jepsen and his team, his decision to appeal? You are not going to express a view to the attorney general’s office about whether to appeal at this point?

Malloy: If this was a simpler decision, if it was written on five pages and made statements solely about funding or the distribution of funds, then maybe it wouldn’t even be necessary to even be considering appealing. What I’m telling you is I have enough confidence in the attorney general and his staff that they’ll make the right decision. And I will support that decision. …

The primary purpose as you understood and I understood it when I brought it, then I’m largely in agreement [with the decision]. I don’t know what else to tell you.

I’ve answered it. enough.

Pazniokas: Again, I want to be clear. My question didn’t suggest that you would dictate what the attorney general would do. What’ I’m asking is: So you’re not going to participate in a conversation with him about an admittedly very complex …

Malloy: … Listen. I’m not running from this. I’ll participate in any discussion the attorney general wants to have with me about this subject … I’m even acknowledging that it may have gone beyond the scope of the original proceedings as drafted, as represented in the pleadings. So that may lead people in a particular direction. But if you’re asking me about the core purpose of this lawsuit — and that is how we distribute money for education — I am largely in agreement.

Call it just another day in Malloy’s world of leadership and policy….

You can read and comment on the full New Haven Independent story at: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/malloy_ask_jepsen/

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