Malloy, State Budget, State Deficit Malloy, State Budget, State Deficit
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.
“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.
CT MIRROR, Malloy, State Budget, State Deficit CT Mirror, Malloy, State Budget, State Deficit
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.
Community Colleges, Malloy, State Budget Connecticut Community Colleges, Malloy, State Budget
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.
Education Funding, Malloy, State Budget, Vo-Tech High Schools Education Funding, Malloy, State Budget, Vo-Tech High Schools
Yesterday’s news headlines read:
State education board eyes closing 2 vo-tech schools, other cuts (CT Mirror 10/5/16)
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.
Democratic Legislators, Malloy, State Budget, State Deficit Democratic Legislators, Malloy, State Budget, State Deficit
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.
Malloy, State Budget, State Deficit, Susan Herbst, UConn Malloy, State Budget, State Deficit, UConn, UConn President Susan Herbst
The truth is that UConn needs a lot more than transparency – its needs a new President, new top administrators, a new Board of Trustees and a new Governor.
In a CT Newsjunkie column last week, education advocate Sarah Darer Littman highlighted the UConn management’s fiscally irresponsible, tone-deaf and elitist leadership style, an approach in which the President receives raises and bonuses and hands out large pay raises to her top staff, all while the state’s “flagship” university faces one record budget cut after another.
Perhaps more than any other area of state government, Governor Dannel Malloy’s disdain for doing the right thing has been on full display at Connecticut’s public institutions of higher education.
Claiming to be concerned about Connecticut’s economy, Malloy’s state budget policies have undercut college and career educational opportunities by dramatically reducing state support, which in turn, has led to much higher tuition and fees, all while reducing the level of programing at UConn and the state’s other colleges and universities.
Yet at the very same time, with Malloy serving as the statutory President of the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees, the Board and UConn President have increased the already outrageously high salaries of top administrators at the University.
It is, as Sarah Darer Littman wrote, a “let them eat cake” moment.
As Littman explains in her Let Them Eat Cake’ Moment Shows Need for Transparency at UConn commentary piece,
Connecticut’s political parties might be increasingly polarized, but there’s one issue upon which they finally reached unanimous agreement: UConn President Susan Herbst has had a “let them eat cake” moment and her Board of Trustees is utterly tone deaf.
Jump into the DeLorean, fire up the Flux Capacitor and set the date for February 24, 2015, when President Herbst testified about how cuts to the university’s block grant would have dire impacts on the quality of education at the university:
“A reduction to the appropriation in that amount would without question have a devastating impact on every aspect of university operations, faculty teaching and research, and student success . . . The greatest consequences of this would be the effect it would have on our students, our academic programs, and the role UConn must play in the state’s future, economic and otherwise. It would be a giant step backward. To address the gap this would create, our cost savings and revenue options will include: strategic workforce reductions and, to the extent permitted by collective bargaining obligations, unpaid furlough days for all employees including management and unionized workers, reductions to student financial aid, closing academic departments and programs including in Storrs and the regional campuses and ending certain degree programs.”
As of February, 30 faculty members had been laid off, according to Michael Bailey, Executive Director of the UConn chapter of AAUP (American Association of University Professors). It’s happening across the country — tenured professor positions are being filled by less expensive adjuncts for whom the university isn’t required to pay benefits.
“Approximately 50 percent of the faculty is off the tenure track with adjuncts accounting for 25 percent of those. There has been about a 10 percent increase in adjunct faculty use in the Fall semesters since 2010,” according to Bailey.
Yet despite this, at a time of massive state budget deficits and statewide layoffs, President Herbst and the Board of Trustees have chosen — because let’s be clear, it’s a choice — to go forward with massive pay increases to a few non-union administrators on the basis that “everyone else is doing it.” One can’t help but think of that oft-heard parental reprimand, “If all your friends were jumping off a cliff, would you do that, too?”
“The university does not run itself,” President Herbst reminded Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney and state Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, Senate Chair of the Higher Education Committee, in a letter responding to their questions. “We strongly believe in hiring high quality employees in order to fulfill UConn’s potential and ensure that we are as good as we can be as an institution. There are undeniably costs to that including the pay for the four people that prompted your letter, out of a workforce of more than 9,000.”
“I believe a contract is a contract and people should abide by contracts,” Board of Trustees chair Larry McHugh told the Hartford Courant.
What’s interesting — and revealing — is Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s position. He was stridently adamant that labor unions reduce their contractual benefits in light of the new fiscal situation
Those who care about the state’s fiscal survival, let alone the future of the University of Connecticut, would do well to read Littman’s piece which can be found at:
The logical conclusion after reading it is that Connecticut AND UConn are in need of new leadership….
For more on UConn and its problems, read;
Malloy’s blindness and lack of leadership leads to chaos at UConn
Was UConn President channeling Donald Trump in interview with student reporter? (Part I)
ALERT: Malloy’s Budget Cuts lead to another 23% Tuition Increase at UConn plus 7%
Malloy Administration ushering in a “Wisconsin Moment” at UConn and CSU
UConn hires Gov. Chris Christie connected law firm to negotiate contract with faculty union
Malloy, State Budget, Susan Herbst, UConn Malloy, State Budget, Susan Herbst, UConn
Although Governor Dannel Malloy has consistently ducked his responsibility as the statutory President of the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees, the buck actually does stop on his desk…. Even while he pretends it doesn’t
Back in January 27, 2016, the UConn’s Board of Trustees voted to approve a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the University of Connecticut and the University of Connecticut Professional Employees Association (UCPEA), the non-teaching professional staff at UConn.
No member of the UConn Board of Trustees voted against the contract. All voted yes, except for one of the two alumni representatives, who abstained.
Then, as the concerns were raised about the contract by the Connecticut General Assembly, Governor Dannel Malloy suddenly become critical of the agreement – despite the fact that, by law, Malloy is the President of the UConn Board of Trustees, Malloy appoints the majority of the members of the Board and Malloy’s own personal representative on the Board had missed 12 of the last 15 monthly meetings, including the Trustee meeting in January when the contract was approved.
Malloy’s personal representative has missed every meeting since then, having now missed 15 of the last 18 UConn Trustee meetings.
Malloy pretended like it all occurred on someone else’s watch and demanded the contract be withdrawn or defeated.
Now, six months later, the CT Mirror is reporting a new and even more shocking controversy.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016 – A few top UConn officials get pay increases despite tough times (CT Mirror)
In a fiscally challenging year in which few non-union managers received pay increases – at UConn or elsewhere in state government – President Susan Herbst is sticking by promises she made in 2013 and 2014 to give multiyear increases to four senior staff.
In December 2014 – one month after the governor cut state funding for UConn by $3.7 million and warned more cuts would come before the fiscal year ended – Herbst gave three of her most senior staff members hefty pay increases over two or three fiscal years.
Those increases went to the university’s general counsel, chief architect and Herbst’s deputy chief of staff. In 2013 she awarded her chief of staff increases and bonuses over the next three fiscal years.
Thursday, June 23, 2016 – Legislative leaders call UConn ‘tone deaf’ over raises for top staff (CT Mirror)
Legislative leaders Thursday blasted hefty pay increases University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst awarded to four senior staff members as the state and public university grapple with big budget cuts.
“UConn’s administration continues to be tone deaf to the economic realities facing our state. Handing out exorbitant raises to their highest-paid staffers while at the same time increasing tuition on hard-working families is the height of arrogance,” House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, said in a statement sent to reporters Thursday afternoon. “As state employee layoffs approach the 1,000 mark, and virtually every state agency is dealing with severe budget cuts, the leadership in Storrs has shown once again they just don’t get it.”
Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney, D-New Haven, in a statement shortly afterward, called on UConn to rescind the raises.
“Really?! You’ve got to be kidding me. One might have thought that the examples of the disastrous mistakes of Chancellor Gray and President Hogan would have left a more lasting impact on decisions regarding raises for administrators in higher education. At a time when painful reductions are being imposed throughout state government, UConn should not see itself as an isolated and privileged exception. I urge President Herbst to reconsider and rescind these untimely raises,” said Looney.
The Connecticut Mirror reported Wednesday that Herbst was sticking to promises she made in 2013 and 2014 to award multiple-year, double-digit percentage pay increases to the university’s general counsel, chief architect and Herbst’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff.
All received pay increases in the 2015-16 fiscal year even though few other non-union managers did – at UConn or elsewhere in state government.
The school’s top lawyer received a $55,000 increase over two fiscal years, her chief of staff received a $50,000 increase over three fiscal years and her chief architect received a $45,000 increase over two fiscal years. The general counsel and chief of staff also received bonuses of $25,000 to $30,000 each year.
Bonuses and pay raises for a select few elites while state employees are being laid off, tuition is going up and programs are being cut.
The reverse Robin Hood Effect continues to move forward at full steam.
Now watch for Malloy to wake from his stupor and demand something… anything in order to look good in the face of this disturbing development.
But face it, the one thing that won’t happen is for Malloy to take responsibility for his utter lack of leadership on the Connecticut budget or his failure to do what is right for UConn’s students and the institution’s future.
Democratic Legislators, Malloy, State Budget, State Deficit Democratic Legislators, Malloy, State Budget, State Deficit
When Governor Dannel Malloy signed THIS YEAR’S state budget he said it was balanced…but he wasn’t telling the truth.
In fact, it was off by nearly a billion dollars. Budget cuts and layoffs have reduced some of the gap, but when the year ends in ten days – on June 30, 2016 – the state will need to grab much of Connecticut’s “rainy day” fund to balance the books.
As CT Newjunkie reports;
Connecticut’s budget deficit has grown to $315.8 million and the state will have to use more of the Rainy Day Fund than expected to cover the shortfall in this year’s budget.
Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes said Monday that the deficit has increased by about $56.7 million from last month’s estimates. It means the state will only have about $90.2 million left in its Rainy Day Fund because it will have to use $315.8 million of the $406 million Rainy Day Fund to close the deficit.
In his monthly letter to state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Barnes said that revenues continue to decline. The personal income tax is down about $75 million and the sales tax is down about $28.2 million.
But the even more serious problem is with the budget that begins on July 1, 2016 and runs through June 30, 2017 (FY17 budget).
Again, Malloy and the Democrats have done Connecticut an extraordinary disservice by not setting up a revenue and expenditure plan that balances.
The establishment will try to keep the magnitude of the problem secret until after the November legislative elections, but despite massive layoffs and record cuts to public schools, human services and healthcare, the austerity budget that Malloy and the Democrats passed this spring – and claimed produced a balanced budget – is at least a quarter of a million ($250m) dollars out of balance.
With only $90 million left in the raining day fund, Malloy and his team has created a situation in which they have allowed him to drain the state’s reserves and burden Connecticut’s taxpayers with a massive deficit in the coming fiscal year.
Keith Phaneuf adds more in his article entitled, Outgoing CT budget deficit swells, hints at more red ink to come
The fact is that fiscal irresponsibility is major barrier to economic activity.
The state, its business community and especially its taxpayers would have been better off if Malloy had dealt honestly with the need for appropriate revenue to ensure vital services were maintained and the budget was balanced.
Corporate Welfare, Democratic Legislators, Kevin Lembo, Malloy, State Budget, State Deficit, Wyman Corporate Welfare, Kevin Lembo, Malloy, State Budget, State Deficit, Wyman
Yesterday – June 9, 2016 – Governor Dannel Malloy, who once pledged to run the most transparent administration in history, vetoed an extremely important piece of legislation that would have ensured that there was proper oversight over Malloy’s outrageous corporate welfare and economic development programs.
As the CT Mirror Reported,
“State Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo called the veto “deeply troubling” and a blow against transparency. “
According to the news story;
“Malloy also wrote that transferring the analysis of tax credits from DECD to Program Review was “unnecessary and unwarranted.”
That drew a rebuke from Lembo, a fellow Democrat who testified at a public hearing in March favor of giving the job to Program Review, a bipartisan committee with a staff of non-partisan researchers and analysts.
“If objectivity really matters, we always want an independent third party to evaluate our work,” Lembo said Thursday in an emailed statement. “This is why teachers grade tests and students don’t just assign their own grades. Furthermore, this is a terrible loss of transparency where we need it most.”
Lembo said the veto, following a decision to provide $22 million in state bond funds to a rich hedge fund over his objection, is “deeply troubling.”
“The state owes it to businesses and all taxpayers to fully analyze the return on investment that these sizable and important programs actually deliver in order to assess whether such resources are fulfilling their intended purpose or, if not, whether state funds would be better deployed to other economic development or infrastructure investment,” Lembo said.
Malloy’s latest effort to keep Connecticut’s citizens in the dark about how badly government is managed comes on the heels of an incredible move by Malloy (and the Democrats in the legislature) to literally prohibit the “Independent” Office of Fiscal Analysis from warning elected officials and the public about upcoming budget deficits.
As a May 12, 2016 Wait, What? article reported;
Meanwhile, the same outrageous implementation budget bill includes unprecedented language that allows cities and towns to simply cut their local public school budgets by the amount of any reduction in state aid to those schools.
This means that while a number of cities and towns will be getting a major pot of cash dumped on the non-education side of the budget, they won’t even have to maintain their efforts to fund their schools.
And if those two sections weren’t telling enough, any member of the Connecticut State Senate and State House of Representatives who votes in favor of this bill will be taking the truly unprecedented step of adopting a law that would literally PROHIBIT the non-partisan office of Fiscal Analysis from reporting on future budget expenditures and possible deficits that are the result of the annual increases that go with maintaining current services.
THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!
With no public hearing, no public input and no public notice, Malloy and the Democratic leaders of the General Assembly have included language in this year’s budget implementation bill that intentionally prevents the media and the public from knowing the true ongoing costs of state government.
The CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf explains this incredible development in his latest article;
Future state deficit forecasts are likely to shrink significantly under a method imposed in the new state budget plan that disregards billions of dollars in annual expenditures not fixed by contract or federal mandate.
The language, proposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, is included in an omnibus policy bill to help implement the proposed $19.76 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, blasted the measure — which was released only a few hours before the Senate was expected to debate it Wednesday morning — as a means to hide Connecticut’s fiscal woes from the public.
Malloy and his budget director, Benjamin Barnes, have been critical for several years of the deficit-forecasting methodology used by the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.
OFA generally tries to assess both the current and future costs of all programs, staffing, grants and other expenditures, whether fixed by contract or federal requirement, or simply set by state law.
The new methodology would disregard cost increases in most state programs, excepting debt service, retirement benefits and federal entitlement programs.
“Moving away from ‘current services’ will help us ensure that government does not continue to increase spending on autopilot,” the governor said Wednesday. “As part the budget agreement, the state will change how it does business, and give residents and businesses the predictability they seek as government works to live within its means.”
The language is nothing but a blatant effort by Malloy and the Democratic legislature to hide the true costs of maintaining state services and preventing voters from understanding the ramifications of taxes and spending.
Dismissing the most fundamental notions of open government and democracy, Malloy and the Democratic leaders are engaged in a new political strategy based on keeping the citizens ignorant about how their government functions and how it spends their money.
No real Democrat would vote for such a measure.
But Democrat Malloy and Democratic legislators voted for Malloy’s maneuver and now Malloy has added salt to the wound by making sure no one outside of his own administration reviews the corporate give-away-program that is costing Connecticut taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
Connecticut General Assembly, Democratic Legislators, Malloy, School Safety, State Budget, State Deficit Connecticut General Assembly, Democratic Legislators, Malloy, School Safety, State Budget, State Deficit
Hidden deep inside the new state budget bill negotiated by Governor Dannel Malloy and Democratic legislative leaders, and approved last month by the Democrats in the General Assembly, was a provision that, once again, transferred the money that had been set aside to help school districts retrofit school buses with seat belts into the general fund.
As Wait, What? readers know, this is not the first time Governor Malloy and the Democrats have stolen the School Bus Seatbelt Account in order to make the state budget balance.
Since taking office, Malloy has reached into the special school seat belt fund four times, grabbing close to $10 million dollars.
Rather than use the funds for their intended use – to protect our children – Malloy and the Democrats simply grabbed the money to plug holes in the state budget.
This time, rather than adopt a fair and honest budget, the Democrats added Section 28 to Senate Bill 501 which “transferred” $2 million from the School Bus Seatbelt Account to the General Fund. The legislature also swept $2 million from the Seat Belt fund to address a small part of the $250 million Fiscal Year 2016 budget deficit.
Previous Wait, What articles on this issue can be found via the following links:
The Train Wreck of the Democrats’ State Budget. [Or for long-time Wait, What? readers file under – Not the Fricking School Bus Seat Belts again!] (6/3/2015)
School Bus Seat Belt Fund: A prime example of Connecticut’s budget gimmickry (1/14/2014)
Remember when school bus seatbelts were a big priority? (12/20/2012)
The School Bus Seat Belt Account was created following the tragic January 2010 school bus accident on Route 84 in Hartford that killed a Rocky Hill student who was attending one of the CREC magnet schools. Following the accident, the Connecticut legislature kicked into action, passing Public Act 10-83.
The law created the Connecticut School Bus Seat Belt Account, “a separate non-lapsing account in the General Fund” and required that the funds be used to help school districts pay for the cost of equipping school buses with lap/shoulder (3-point) seat belts.
To pay for the program, the Legislature increased the cost associated with restoring a suspended driver’s license from $125 to $ 175, using the extra $50 per person to create a funding stream for the important program.
Now six years later, no school bus seat belts have been installed, thanks to the fact that Connecticut’s governor and legislature have stolen nearly $10 million from the fund.
When these elected officials come looking for support, ask them why they didn’t do more to stop this outrage.