Malloy and Dems take giant step backwards as World Leaders negotiate effort to save the Earth from Climate Change (updated)

NOTE:  Updated with responses from Malloy administration agencies

Heralded as groundbreaking legislation designed to promote energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gasses, in 2007, Republican Governor Jodi Rell signed legislation that “permanently” exempted weatherization products and energy-efficient light bulbs from the Connecticut State Sales Tax.

The legislation, which was overwhelmingly adopted by the Democratic-controlled Connecticut General Assembly, was cited as one of the state’s major accomplishments.

Gina McCarthy, then Connecticut’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection and now the head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, highlighted the “landmark” legislation in her 2007 Annual State Report entitled Protecting and Restoring our Environment.

In a 2014 national EPA report on “Existing State Policies and Programs that Reduce Power Sector CO2 Emissions,” McCarthy’s agency explained the importance of “State tax incentives for energy efficiency,” writing

“…sales tax exemptions…spur private sector innovation to develop more energy efficient technologies and practices and increase consumer choice of energy-efficient products.

To this day, the federal government promotes Connecticut’s sales tax exemption law on its Department of Energy website

However, just two weeks ago as world leaders, including Gina McCarthy, worked around the clock to develop the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Governor Malloy and Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly repealed Connecticut’s important sales tax exemption on weatherization and energy-efficient light bulbs as part of their “Democratic Budget Deal.”

Why?

The reason remains a mystery, but faced with a growing state budget deficit the Democrats’ “budget mitigation bill” included a variety of budget gimmicks, significant cuts to important human services and education programs, a major tax break for General Electric (and a handful of other large companies) and a sentence repealing Connecticut General Statutes Sec. 12-412k. [The state statue that exempts residential weatherization products and energy-efficient light bulbs from the state sales tax]

Section 12-412k. (a) For purposes of this section, “residential weatherization products” means programmable thermostats, window film, caulking, window and door weather strips, insulation, water heater blankets, water heaters, natural gas and propane furnaces and boilers that meet the federal Energy Star standard, windows and doors that meet the federal Energy Star standard, oil furnaces and boilers that are not less than eighty-four per cent efficient and ground-source heat pumps that meet the minimum federal energy efficiency rating.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of the general statutes, the provisions of this chapter shall not apply to sales of any residential weatherization products or compact fluorescent light bulbs.

With no public notice, hearing or debate, Malloy and the legislature simply voted to eliminate the sales tax exemption on residential weatherization products and energy-efficient light bulbs as of January 1, 2016.

The move will mean that Connecticut residents trying to weatherize their homes or buy energy-efficient light bulbs will pay an additional $3.6 million in sales tax to the State of Connecticut in FY 2016 and $7.5 million in FY 2017.

But, of course, perception is always more important than reality;

The recent move to reduce Connecticut’s commitment to energy efficiency and slow climate change didn’t stop Governor Malloy from making sure he was part of the news story and photo opportunity when EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy came to Connecticut last week to talk about the Paris Agreement.

As CT Newsjunkie reported with, “EPA Chief Returns to Hartford, Touts Paris Agreement On Climate Change,”

It was a homecoming of sorts for Gina McCarthy, the current administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency who served as the head of Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection from 2004 through 2009.

Flanked by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and members of the Connecticut Auto Retailers Association, McCarthy returned to … to talk about the Paris agreement, under which 195 countries have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

She said climate change is one of the biggest “economic and national security challenges of our time,” and because of the leadership of President Barack Obama, “we were able to get an agreement in Paris that everyone should be proud of.”

[…]

McCarthy said the only reason they were able to push forward with a plan to reduce emissions here in the United States and a plan to lower the temperature of the climate globally is because states like Connecticut are paving the way.

[…]

The governor said Connecticut is doing its part to address the impact of global warming.

Several years ago the state passed legislation to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and it became the first “range confident” state for electric vehicles in the nation.

“Climate change is happening. Make no mistake about that,” Malloy said. “And it’s time to take action to address the challenge in a responsible and thoughtful way.”

It’s a problem we can’t fail to act upon, Malloy added.

Yup, Governor Dannel Malloy, who now serves as the head of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) and therefore the spokesman for the country’s Democratic Governors actually spoke up about Climate Change saying, “It’s a problem we can’t fail to act upon.”

The only problem is that Malloy failed to tell EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the media or the public that he had, in fact, acted…

But alas, it was in exactly the wrong direction.

Footnote:

The 2007 legislation exempting weatherization and energy-efficient light bulbs passed the Connecticut House of Representatives on June 1, 2007 by a vote of 128 -19, with both present Speaker of the House Sharkey and Majority Leader Aresimowicz voted in favor of the bill. The next day the bill passed the Connecticut State Senate by a vote of 32-3 with now President Pro-Tempore Looney and Majority Leader Duff voting “Yes.”

The advocacy group, Energy Northeast, wrote about the original sales tax exemption stating;

Illustrating the bi-partisan and diverse stakeholder appeal of legislation requiring [greater energy efficiency] is Rhode Island’s 2006 efficiency procurement law [which] passed a Democratic-majority state Senate and House unanimously and was signed at a joint press event with the sitting Republican Governor a few days later. Similarly, Connecticut’s 2007 Efficiency Procurement legislation was passed overwhelming by a Democratic-majority state legislature and signed by a Republican Governor.”

But that was then and this is now…

Eight years after the bi-partisan commitment to promoting energy efficiency and with the issue more important than ever, Connecticut’s Democratic Governor and Democratic General Assembly decided that a few million dollars in additional state revenue was more important than continuing to help Connecticut residents weatherize their homes and buy energy-efficient light bulbs.

Requests for comment were made to Governor Malloy’s Office, the Office of Policy and Management and various agencies in the Malloy administration.

The Department of Revenue Services responded by email saying  they would have no comment.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Communication Director responded as follows:

In these difficult financial times for our state, we recognize that tough decisions have to be made.  In order to balance the state’s budget, the General Assembly has had to look at eliminating sales tax exemptions on many products and services.

While the sales tax exemption that covered many products used for weatherizing homes was certainly an added incentive for people to take action, we believe its elimination will not have a significant impact on the public’s appetite for energy efficiency projects.

Homeowners and businesses understand the importance of weatherization and energy efficiency – and the kinds of saving that can be achieved.  This concept has become deeply embedded in people’s minds and even without an sales tax exemption there will continue to be a strong focus on saving energy.

 

 

You can read more about McCarthy’s visit to Connecticut last week via the CT Mirror’s EPA’s Gina McCarthy stops by with a Paris postcard

 

Amistad – The quintessential example of failed leadership

Here in Connecticut, the governor is – first and foremost – the state’ chief executive.  He or she is responsible for the operations and performance of the executive branch of state government.  In order to perform that duty they must recruit and supervise a team of commissioners and senior managers.

The operative term is not just to recruit, but to actually supervise, manage and direct a team dedicated to ensuring that state government performs its duties in an efficient and effective manner.

Being governor is not about campaigning 24/7, 365 days a year for four years.

Being governor is not about issuing press releases, cutting ribbons or gallivanting around the country raising money or engaging in political activities.

Being governor is about getting the job done – and done right.

And here is yet another example of what happens when governors decide that playing politics comes before managing the affairs of state.

As the Hartford Courant reports in an article entitled, Audits: As Amistad Finances Collapsed, State Money Kept Flowing

When the cash began running out at the nonprofit Amistad America Inc., officials defaulted on bank loans, skimped on bills, borrowed from employees and used state grant money as a temporary loan against other grants, a series of audits released Friday shows.

They also laid off employees with financial expertise, stopped preparing federal tax returns and got permission from the state, year after year, to delay filing financial audits that would have shown the depth of Amistad America’s troubles.

And while the charity’s finances were collapsing, state grant money kept flowing — more than $1 million from 2009 to 2011, even as the organization’s assets fell below zero, the audits show.

[…]

A year ago, state officials hired the New York accounting firm of CohnReznick to sift through Amistad America’s financial records and prepare the first audits since a March 2008 accounting. CohnReznick’s $78,000 fee was taken out of the state’s annual grant to Amistad America.

In four long-awaited audits released Friday, covering the fiscal years 2009 through 2012, CohnReznick found “material weaknesses” in Amistad America’s internal financial controls and found that the group did not comply with certain reporting requirements related to its state grants…The audits also did not address the day-to-day operation of the nonprofit group, or assign culpability for its financial problems.

The story paints an ugly picture of failed leadership and management.

And perhaps, most interesting of all, the long-awaited audits did not “assign culpability” for the massive waste of public funds.

Connecticut deserves better.

You can read the complete Hartford Courant story at: http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-amistad-audits-0809-20140808,0,3797591.story

 

Paid for by Pelto 2014, Ted Strelez, Treasurer, Christine Ladd, Deputy Treasurer, Approved by Jonathan Pelto

Incredible stupidity, stunning arrogance or both…

Earlier today, the Global Strategy Group, a political consulting and public relations company released a memo about a public opinion survey that it had conducted for the “education reform” advocacy group, ConnCAN, the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, Inc.

According to a Global Strategy Group memo, the poll found that, “Voters see the Governor [Malloy] as a strong advocate for education reform.  Voters give the Governor favorable ratings (54% favorable/36% unfavorable) and believe he is doing a good job when it comes to education.  A majority of voters (54%) approve of the job he is doing when it comes to Connecticut’s public schools.  Parents are especially supportive of the Governor’s efforts and rate his performance on schools favorably by a margin of nearly 2 to 1 (60% approve/31% disapprove).

The Global Strategy Group is where Roy Occhiogrosso landed after leaving the Governor’s Office six weeks ago.  After serving for two years as Governor Malloy’s chief advisor and spokesman, Roy Occhiogrosso recently returned to Global Strategies Group to serve as its Managing Director. 

Occhiogrosso had previously served as a partner at Global Strategies from 2003 to 2010.  During the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Dan Malloy’s gubernatorial campaign, much of it funded through the State’s publicly funded campaign finance system, paid Occhiogrosso and Global Strategies a total of $669,105.87.

According to the memo, the ConnCAN opinion survey was conducted between January 23 and January 27, 2013, just a couple of weeks after Occhiogrosso rejoined Global Strategies. 

Although neither ConnCAN nor Global Strategies released the questionnaire that served as the survey instrument, it is clear from today’s memo that the poll was designed to collect valuable political information, as well as perspectives on policy issues.

When an organization conducts a survey with a larger sample size, only interviews voters and includes questions to determine the respondents’ party affiliation, their goal is generally to collect information about how key political sub-constituencies respond to potential voting issues.

It is particularly suspicious that ConnCAN and Global Strategies decided to conduct the survey at the end of January, prior to the Governor’s Budget speech, but held the results until after the speech was completed. A poll of this nature would be of tremendous political value to the Malloy Administration if they had access to the data prior to putting together his budget speech.

ConnCAN’s political support for Governor Malloy is well known.  Last Spring, within 24 hours of Malloy’s “education reform” bill becoming a Public Act, one of ConnCAN’s founders held an extremely lucrative fundraiser for a political action committee called Prosperity for Connecticut.  The PAC appears to be affiliated with Governor Malloy and the Governor has attended all, or most, of the PAC’s fundraising events, including a series of fundraising parties in Washington D.C. and New York City. 

Jonathan Sackler, who hosted the event for education reform supporters, is not only one of the original founders of ConnCAN, but he also formed ConnAD, the organization that spent record amounts lobbying for Malloy’s “education reform bill.  Furthermore, he is also the founder of 50-CAN, a national education reform advocacy group.  National officials from Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, Teach for America and other national education reform groups donated to the Sackler fundraiser.

The May 30, 2012 fundraiser at Sackler’s $8.5 million home raised over $41,000 for the Prosperity for Connecticut PAC, making it the most successful of the 15 fundraisers the PAC has had since being formed two years ago. 

At the Sackler event, significantly more than half of the money raised came directly from members of ConnCAN’s Board of Directors, ConnCAN’s Advisory Board or family members of the individuals who serve on the two boards.

The decision to conduct this poll raises numerous serious issues. 

Did Occhiogrosso know about the poll before he left state service and did he spend any state time or resources communicating with ConnCAN or Global Strategies about the poll? 

Were any other members of Malloy’s Administration, such as OPM Secretary Barnes, Education Commissioner Pryor or Chief of Staff Ojakian aware of the poll?  Did any of these public officials offer information that impacted the questions being asked?

Equally important is whether the Malloy Administration received any information about the survey’s finding prior to the poll’s public release and most importantly, prior to the Governor’s budget speech.

Depending on what information was provided and who did the communicating, there are potential violations of Connecticut’s ethics laws, let alone the possibility that public employees used state resources to further their political agenda.

The issue is particularly relevant because leading up to the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, I filed a complaint against Governor Rell, her chief of staff and key members of her administration for using state resources to support public opinion polling that was designed to have political benefits for Rell.  The complaint eventually led to major fines for some of the individuals involved in the effort.

While in this case the poll was conducted by a private entity, was not done at state expense and Malloy has yet to form a campaign committee, ConnCAN is a registered lobbyist and that brings a whole series of ethics issues into play.  In addition, it is conceivable that if state employees were involved in the development of the survey, other laws may have been violated.

Anyone aware of Connecticut’s ethics laws and the laws prohibiting the use of state resources for political purposes would instantly recognize that a poll of this nature, especially conducted at this time, would raise a wide variety of questions.

It is for that reason that this post is entitled, “Incredible stupidity, stunning arrogance or both…”

Rest assured that this is not the last time we will hear about this incredible and stunningly stupid move by ConnCAN and Global Strategies.

News coverage of this event has been extremely limited to date.  Here is the first article on the poll.  Advocates Say Survey Shows Support For Education Reforms.

Coincidentally – here is a Wait, What? post from earlier today entitled; Malloy says: I know, let’s finish off the effectiveness of the government watchdog agencies…

An Endorsement? No, No a Recommendation – The two are very different

Early tomorrow morning, Connecticut Democrats will begin arriving at Central Connecticut State University’s Kaiser Hall to hold their 2012 Democratic Nominating Convention.

The primary agenda item is the endorsement of a Democratic candidate to run for the United States Senate seat being vacated by one-time Democrat Joe Lieberman.

Congressman Chris Murphy is poised to easily win the nomination.  The only question is whether Susan Bysiewicz, who at last check had about $1 million in her campaign bank account, will force a primary which would take place in August.

While Murphy’s nomination has been assured for quite some time, when State Representative William Tong withdrew from the race on May 1st,  Governor Malloy and Lt. Governor Wyman (neither of whom have Susan on their Holiday greeting card mailing list) were free to endorse Murphy.

Murphy already had the endorsement of his fellow Connecticut members of Congress, as well as, Attorney General George Jepsen, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Comptroller Kevin Lembo.

In the great Democratic tradition where “primaries are good” unless you are the nominee or support the nominee, Connecticut’s Democratic leadership has been working hard to limit support for Bysiewicz.

Today’s wait, what? post is designed to clarify the big difference between the concept of an endorsement and a recommendation.

You see, “endorsements” are very different from say “recommendations.”  For example, one is an endorsement and the other is a recommendation.  To make matters more complex, it appears that an endorsement can be a recommendation but a recommendation is not an endorsement.

This confusion arises, in part, from the investigative work of Stamford Advocate and Hearst newspaper reporter Brian Lockhart who, in February 2009, wrote about Governor Rell’s successful effort to get Linda McMahon a seat on the State Board of Education.

It took a Freedom of Information request by the Hearst newspapers to fully unravel the whole story, but it turned out that the senior staff from Governor Rell’s Office, McMahon’s lobbyists and the WWE’s vice president of global public affairs were forced to put in some long hours working to “polish McMahon’s image, craft her confirmation hearing statements and schedule as many one-on-one meetings as possible with legislators.”

It all began when the co-chair of the Legislature’s Nominations Committee told the Governor’s Office that she had heard from a constituent who was “concerned about whether Mrs. McMahon would be an appropriate role model.”

Worried about the potential fallout on McMahon’s nomination, the team kicked into high gear.  The WWE vice president informed the Governor’s office that “we are going to be announcing a new community-based program in early February…We also are going to post some clips of Linda speaking at the Republican National Convention, doing stand-ups at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions with our Superstars and addressing high school students at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C…”

The FOI also revealed a memo in which McMahon’s team provided the Governor’s Office with “notes” responding to “a list of concerns being circulated by Jonathan Pelto.”

However, the most intriguing information came with the news that the WWE and Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s office were scrambling to gather “letters of recommendation from a variety of bi-partisan sources.”

The packet of letters of recommendations, which was presented to legislators on the day of her confirmation hearing, included letters from;

1. Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy

2. Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz

3. U.S. Congressman John Larson

As well as a host of others including the President of Sacred Heart University, the past president of the League of Women Voters of the United States and the President of UBS Investment Bank

Upon further investigation it turned out that Linda McMahon and her family had been very generous campaign contributors to some of the people writing the letters of recommendation.

So, should it come up at tomorrow’s Democratic State Convention, it’s important that the delegates remember that regardless of whether they are persuaded by Governor Malloy’s endorsement of Chris Murphy or Susan Bysiewicz’s endorsement of herself; recommendations are not endorsements, but endorsements might be recommendations.

For one of Lockhart’s great blogs on this issue see: http://blog.ctnews.com/politicalcapitol/2009/11/18/linda-mcmahons-list-of-supporters-print-clip-and-save-for-future-use/

Never underestimate the value of a good lawyer (just ask Lisa Moody and Jodi Rell)

On October 13, 2009 – more than fifteen months ago – an extremely serious complaint against Governor M. Jodi Rell, his senior staff and her campaign committee was filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission alleging that they knowingly violated Connecticut’s campaign laws by receiving illegal campaign contributions and that her campaign illegally used public resources for political purposes. http://www.scribd.com/doc/21009985/seec-complaint-101309

The day after tomorrow – on Wednesday of this week – the SEEC is finally scheduled to take action on that complaint I filed 15 months ago;

In the Matter of a Complaint by Jonathan Pelto, Storrs File No. 2009-104

Proposed Findings and Conclusions, Proposed Consent Agreement and Order

 The controversy received widespread media coverage in the fall of 2009 after Ted Mann of the Day broke the story in series of investigative reports.  The Courant, JI and other papers also revealed key facts about the issue and a number of editorial boards weighed in against the Governor’s apparently illegal activities.

The allegations that a public official broke the law and used public resources for political purposes are among the most serious charges that can be raised against a sitting Governor.  State employees have lost their jobs for such action.  If true, Governor Rell would have become only the 2nd Governor in history to be forced to pay a fine for violating the Connecticut law. (Rowland’s earlier use of basketball tickets and other items earned him that honor).

In addition to the SEEC investigation, parallel investigations were begun by the Office of State Auditors, the Attorney General’s Office and the University of Connecticut.  It was never quite clear if the Ethics Commission was also involved or if they have been waiting for the other agencies to act.

 One would reasonably think that responding to charges such as these would be a top priority – but the wheels of justice move slowly – at least for some.

The record seems to indicate that the investigation phase moved forward fairly quickly, but official action was “delayed” for months.  According to their minutes, the Elections Enforcement Commission did take up what appeared to be a final report in executive session last fall but a final vote was delayed. 

Now, with Jodi Rell no longer Governor and her staff no longer working in the Governor’s Office File No. 2009-104 (my complaint) is on the agenda for a final vote this coming Wednesday.

The issues behind the complaint are certainly very interesting, but the fact that official action (thanks at least in part to the work of her attorney) was delayed until after she left office seems particularly noteworthy.

I know from previous experience that agencies like the SEEC prefer to go the route of a “Consent Agreement” when dealing with major complaints because it prevents the need for going to court since it includes an acceptance by the accused party that some type of violation took place.  Consent Agreements both resolve the situation and make good “case law” for future cases.

The problem with consent agreements is that it requires both sides to agree and you know how it is – the wording of a particular paragraph can take months to negotiate and work out.

Of course, maybe it is just a coincidence that the consent agreement wasn’t ready for action until Rell left office. 

Oh, and who represented Governor Rell and her campaign before the State Elections Enforcement Commission?

It was none other than Ross Garber, who readers will remember as the person Governor-elect Malloy selected to serve on his Transition Committee reviewing the names and resumes of potential appointees. 

[Funny side note, I never did hear back from the Transition Committee or its Personnel Committee when I sent in my cover letter and resume.  Maybe they are still reviewing my materials].

For those who are really interested in the issue and the charges, below are some of the highlights and links to more detail.

“Democrat accuses Rell, committee of ‘significant violations – A Democratic political consultant filed an elections complaint Tuesday against Gov. M. Jodi Rell and her political committee, charging “serious and significant violations” of state campaign financing laws in relation to Rell’s use of a University of Connecticut pollster to help craft her budget and political messaging.” (The Day Oct 14, 2009) http://www.scribd.com/doc/21053052/Democrat-Accuses-Rell-Committee-of-%E2%80%98significant-Violations%E2%80%99

 “Complaint Claims Rell Broke Election Laws – Rell and her administration have been under fire since last week, when news broke in the Day of New London that Dautrich’s $220,000, taxpayer-funded contract with Rell’s budget office – for a government efficiency study – has produced controversial political research and advice for how Rell should tailor her stances to please voters.” (Courant, Oct 13, 2009) http://www.scribd.com/doc/21051752/Complaint-Claims-Rell-Broke-Election-Laws-in-Prof%E2%80%99s-Study

 “Paying for Rell Message –At best the use of state money by the governor’s office to help frame a political strategy for managing the budget crisis shows a lack of leadership. At worst it could be a violation of law.” (The Day October 9, 2009) http://www.scribd.com/doc/21051781/Paying-for-Rell-Message

“Our view: Top Rell aide must step down – Gov. M. Jodi Rell should instruct her gubernatorial exploratory committee to immediately reimburse the state for any expenses related to the political research conducted — with taxpayers’ money.” (Norwich Bulletin Oct 9, 2009) http://www.scribd.com/doc/21051767/Norwich-Bulletin

“Taxpayers Paid $220,000 For This?  – COSTLY CONSULTANT  – Taxpayers will pony up for UConn professor’s partisan political advice to the governor …Consultants’ bills for such advice are usually paid by candidate committees out of voluntary contributions, not by taxpayers. The state treasury shouldn’t lay the groundwork for a re-election campaign if Mrs. Rell decides to bid for a second full term.” (Courant Editorial, Oct 9, 2009). http://www.scribd.com/doc/21051772/COSTLY-CONSULTANT-Taxpayers-Will-Pony-Up-for-UConn-Professor%E2%80%99s-Partisan

“Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s account of when her administration abandoned a plan to use public funds to poll voters on budget issues is directly contradicted by correspondence between officials at the University of Connecticut. “(The Day Oct 13, 2009) http://www.scribd.com/doc/21051745/Documents-Disprove-Rell%E2%80%99s-Timeline-on-Polling

“Gov. M. Jodi Rell has insisted that her staff rejected an adviser’s suggestion to use public funds to conduct a poll of voters on budgetary issues soon after the suggestion was made, and that the issue was ever discussed after the administration conducted a focus group instead in December 2008. But e-mail correspondence between University of Connecticut officials indicates that the proposal was still alive as late as Jan. 21, 2009, long after Rell has said the issue was discarded for good.” (The Day Oct 14, 2009) http://www.scribd.com/doc/21053055/E-Mails-Contradict-Governor%E2%80%99s-Contention-That-Survey-on-State-Budget-Never

“Questions continue to surround the governor’s hiring of a University of Connecticut professor who is working to streamline government but also provided the administration with possibly inappropriate political advice during the budget battle.” (Stamford Advocate Oct 17 2009) http://www.scribd.com/doc/21759303/The-Advocate

“Rell’s UConn Consulting Project Worth Investigating The highly secret project — unearthed through open-records requests — turns out to be, in part, partisan political research that could help her re-election bid if she decides to run for a second full term.” (Courant Editorial Oct 18, 2009) http://www.scribd.com/doc/21759294/Rell%E2%80%99s-UConn-Consulting-Project-Worth-Investigating

“Rell has insisted that only a single focus group was held last December to help her craft her budget message and weigh the public’s opinion of various strategies to close a looming state deficit. But the existence of two additional efforts to test the public’s opinion on taxes and budgeting will likely raise more questions for Rell, who faces inquiries from state elections officials, state auditors and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal about the scope and purpose of Dautrich’s research, which was publicly funded but included substantial advice on how to best position the governor politically and give her leverage over Democratic opponents in the legislature.” (The Day Oct 22, 2009) http://www.scribd.com/doc/21759283/More-Questions-for-Rell-Likely-Over-Budget-poll-Focus-Groups

“Moody message indicates governor approved survey Hartford – University of Connecticut professor Kenneth Dautrich conducted a $6,000 poll this spring on the orders of Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s chief of staff aimed at weighing voters’ attitudes toward tax increases, borrowing and service cuts as Rell struggled to gain an upper hand over legislative Democrats in a brewing standoff over the state budget.” (The Day, Oct.. 28, 2009) http://www.scribd.com/doc/21759272/E-Mails-Cast-Doubt-on-Rell-in-Flap-Over-Budget-Poll

Governor M. Jodi Rell: A legacy of saying one thing, but doing another.

 

Rell and McMahon

 

As Governor Rell and her team leave the Capitol today, they leave with a virtually unbroken record of missed opportunities and lost potential.  Here are just a few of her more memorable comments over the last few years.

Note that in each case, her words preceded or followed her taking or allowing exactly the opposite to happen.

“The easy way out is to approve an early retirement plan one year but not pay out sick and vacation time to deserving employees until three years later. Unfortunately, later is now.”  (A plan she approved)

“This continuing spike in gas prices is bad for consumers, bad for our economy, and bad for all other businesses. It is hurting us and costing us jobs. ” (Rell having supported massive increases in the petroleum wholesale tax the skyrocketed as prices rose).

“We cannot put off the difficult decisions for another day, another generation.”  (This from the Governor who proposed and supported putting off the difficult decisions for another day, another generation).

“I have kept a steady focus on restoring public faith in our state government since taking office July 1. Now it is time to make even bigger and bolder gains through legislative action.”  (While Lisa Moody handed out donation envelopes on state time and the Governor’s Office used state funds to hire and conduct a political polling operation).

“I’m angry when we have to use state dollars to fill holes in our low-income heating assistance program because there isn’t enough support from Washington. “ (The Governor who used a billion dollars in Stimulus funds for on-going activities rather than one time costs that would create jobs and strengthen the economy).

“Our libraries are valuable centers of education, learning and enrichment for people of all ages. In recent years, libraries have taken on an increasingly important role. Today’s libraries are about much more than books.”  (Then proposed cutting libraries)

“The best math lesson we can teach college students this year is to subtract a tuition increase and benefit from the dividends of higher education. (Pushed for a “tuition freeze” after her trustees supported the skyrocketing tuitions, then cut the amount of state funds for higher education, leaving the students paying more and getting less).

“I can understand the confusion and questions that people have, so let me be quite clear: I do not and will not support cuts to the Metro-North branch lines…” (After her own budget officials proposed closing down the Metro-North branch line after spending tens of millions to upgrade that same line).

And the list goes on and on and one.

Twelve noon and the swearing-in of Governor Dan Malloy couldn’t come soon enough.

 

Congratulations to Dan Malloy and Nancy Wyman. 

The job they are taking on is daunting but if anyone can do it – they can.