Hold on…Now let me see if I understand what you are saying….

Pick up any newspaper and you are bound to see at least one story about the impact of budget cuts and another about how state governments are giving money away to private companies in an attempt to convince them to create or retain jobs.

It is quite a commentary about our times.  A lack of adequate funding means people who work for schools, hospitals and nonprofit providers of human services are or will be losing their jobs, while taxpayer continue to provide the money that is being used to try and persuade businesses to pledge that they will create or keep private sector jobs.

True, it may not be the notoriety that we want, but you certainly can’t say that Connecticut hasn’t become the epitome of this paradox.

For example, earlier this week, Wait What? readers were provided an opportunity to read two posts, one entitled Has it come to this…? and another entitled And while cutting essential services, Malloy gives $100,000 to a Stamford Brewery.

The first post reported on a recent Hartford Courant commentary piece by a father lamenting Governor Malloy’s cut to essential programs that help Connecticut’s developmentally disabled residents while the second was about the Governor’s visit to a brew pub in Stamford to celebrate a $100,000 taxpayer-funded grant that the Malloy Administration was giving to help the brew pub expand.

The two stories served to enlighten readers about the reality of our times or the juxtaposition between an era where we are cutting vital services while providing private companies with what some would call economic development incentives and what others would refer to as corporate welfare.

What I failed to report was that, in addition to the brew pub, Governor Malloy and his Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), Catherine Smith, were actually visiting three other companies around the state that day.  All four of the companies were receiving funds thanks to the State’s Small Business Express Program (EXP).

Over the past eighteen months, the Small Business Express Program has given out more than $80 million.  According to state officials, the program has helped “create and retain more than 7,600 jobs.” The Legislature will soon be voting to give the Governor an additional $60 million for this program.

In addition to Stamford’s Half Full Brewery, Malloy was visiting Atlantic Canvas and Awning (a company that received a loan of $50,000 and a matching grant of $10,000); Automotive Core Recycling (a company that recycles and sells catalytic converters and other auto parts and received a $250,000 loan) and Katalina’s (a cup cake bakery that received a loan of $30,000 to add equipment and furnishings to their new retail shop).

According to the Department of Economic and Community Development, the $50,000 loan and $10,000 grant “support the creation of three new jobs and retained four,” the $250,000 loan translated into one new position and retained 8 jobs, while the $30,000 loan to the bakery “created one full time job and retained two full time and two part time jobs.”

The Governor’s press release that day announced that the Small Business Express Program has already created or retained more than 1400 jobs in 2013.

Meanwhile that distraught and frustrated father, along with the others who care for Connecticut’s developmentally disabled, try to cope with Governor Malloy’s $6 million cut to employment and day service programs.

Actually, that $6 million cut was part of a much bigger list of cuts Governor Malloy ordered last November 28, 2012.   That day, back in November, Governor Malloy announced $170 million in budget rescissions.

The press release didn’t actually quote Governor Malloy. Instead the task of explaining the cuts was left to Ben Barnes, Malloy’s budget director.  Barnes wrote, “Many of these cuts are very difficult to make, especially now when so many residents continue to struggle in a tough economy, But as painful as they are, cuts are necessary to keep this year’s budget in balance.  State government needs to live within its means.”

The November list included a wide variety of reductions including a $53,000 cut to the Division of Criminal Justice’s Shooting Task Force; a $200,000 cut to the Jobs First Employment Service Program, a $488,000 cut to the state’s Environmental Quality Program; a $335,000 cut to the Department of Health’s Community Health Services Program and $41,000 cut to their Genetic Diseases Program; a $433,000 cut to the state’s Community Mental Health  Centers, a $2.3 million cut to home care services that keep people out of more expensive nursing homes and hospitals and the list goes on and on.

More recently, the state budget plan that Governor Malloy proposed a month ago continued those cuts.  In fact, his new budget makes even deeper cuts to a variety of vital and essential services.

So how is it possible that a Governor would be instituting record budget cuts while giving away record amounts of taxpayer funds to private businesses?

Truth be told, it is the difference between how the State operating budget works compared to the way the State Capital or Bond budget functions.

Even in the desperate times, the Capital budget continues to pump out cash.

The State’s operating budget is paid for with tax dollars.  The State’s Capital Budget is funded via the state’s credit card.

Because we are borrowing the money and then paying the amount (plus interest) back over twenty years, the argument is that cutting the Capital Budget won’t help to balance this year’s operating budget.  This year’s operating budget is still facing a $135 million plus deficit despite the terrible cuts instituted by the Governor and the additional cuts approved by the General Assembly.

Although Connecticut already has the highest per capita debt burden in the nation, since the word “deficit” applies to the operating budget and not the Capital Budget, we end up with a situation in which vital services are cut at the same time money is being handed out.

In fact, if Governor Malloy gets his way, we’ll see more cuts to essential services and more layoffs of hospital and human service workers in the coming months, and at the same time, the General Assembly will be allocating even more money for the Governor to hand out to the private sector.

And while cutting essential services, Malloy gives $100,000 to a Stamford Brewery

In a tribute to modern American politics, while Sunday’s newspaper featured the article by the father of the 28-year-old intellectually disabled daughter who wrote, “Amid Stark State Cuts, A Father’s Plea: Who Will Care for Katie?”; the Monday paper featured a photo-op of Governor Dannel Malloy in his hometown of Stamford celebrating a grant for $100,000 to the Half Full Brewery.

Thanks to Malloy’s $100 million Small Business Express Program, in which the state borrowed $100 million to give away operating grants to various businesses, the Stamford beer pub got a helping hand from Connecticut’s taxpayers.

Billed as a way to provide “working capital” to small business, the program effectively picks winners and losers, all funded at taxpayer expense.

While supporting small business is probably a better economic development strategy then giving away tens of millions to corporate giants, the actual benefit of many of the grants remains doubtful.

With the legislation approved in October 2011, the Malloy administration has funded 598 applications to the tune of about $80 million.

Despite the record budget cuts included in his new budget, the Governor is proposing to borrow another $60 million for the corporate welfare program.  While the Stamford brew pub is undoubtedly appreciative of the $100,000 gift, there was no word from the state’s other small beer manufactures (23 of them) or the state’s hard cider manufactures (8 of them) or the state’s apple brandy manufacturers (3 of them) or the state’s liquor manufactures (12 of them).

You can catch the story and a picture of Malloy at the beer tasting at: http://stamford.dailyvoice.com/business/gov-dannel-malloy-gets-taste-stamford-brewery


Has it come to this…?

Over the weekend, there was a heart-wrenching commentary piece in the Hartford Courant that was written by the father of a 28-year-old intellectually disabled daughter.

His daughter’s name is Katie and he wrote, “She lives at home with my wife, Donna and me. She is the love of our lives and we embrace the gifts she brings to us and to all who know her.”

His piece was entitled, “Amid Stark State Cuts, A Father’s Plea: Who Will Care for Katie?”

Katie’s father reported that “Last November, the governor exercised his rescission authority and, without notice, reduced funding for people with disabilities who receive residential and day services. Making these cuts permanent, as proposed, delivers a body blow to vital assistance Katie receives from the Department of Developmental Services through organizations such as HARC. The latter is a long-respected family organization that provides critical services for people like Katie. It was founded by parents like me as a self-help group, at a time when institutionalization was the only choice for help. The splendid people at both these agencies are a blessed lifeline for my daughter and others.”

While every Connecticut resident, and especially every elected official should read the full article, it is easy to understand his core message.

There are useful state services, there are important state services, there are vital state services and then there are essential state services.

The services that Katie and her family receive are truly essential.

These services are essential, not only because we hold ourselves out to be a humane and caring society, but because the cost of respite and day services allow thousands of our fellow citizens to live at home rather than in far more costly institutions.

These are services that government provides because it is the right thing to do.

There are also services that when cut define the notion of being pennywise and pound foolish.

No governor, Democrat or Republican should have cut those services, but Governor Malloy did.

No Legislature, Democrat or Republican should have allowed those cuts to go forward, but Connecticut’s legislature did.

Reasonable people can have reasonable discussions and debates about appropriate levels of taxes and services, but a stunning large number of the cuts in Governor Malloy’s rescission package and the deficit mitigation package that he proposed and the legislature passed with bi-partisan support were not reasonable.

Those cuts passed because few legislators took the time to study the package and fewer still had the courage to stand up and say no to this governor.

Over the next 90 days the Connecticut General Assembly will be reviewing Malloy’s budget proposal for the next two fiscal years.

There is truly no excuse for aspects of what Malloy has proposed and even fewer excuses for the legislature to accept them.

Take a moment to read this father’s piece and  know that it is just one example of budget cuts that have been made or are being contemplated that leave some of our most vulnerable fellow residents without the help and support they so deeply need and deserve.

Government officials will only respond when they know that their constituents will hold them accountable for their actions.

It is essential that our elected officials understand that that is exactly what we are going to do.

You can read the commentary piece at:  http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/hc-op-duffy-who-will-care-for-katie-0303-20130301,0,7996231.story

Connecticut’s teacher evaluation plan – even worse than we thought (by Wendy Lecker)

When you take a break from digging out from the “Great Blizzard of 2013,” I strongly urge you to take a moment today to read Heart Newspaper columnist and fellow blogger, Wendy Lecker’s, latest commentary piece entitled “Connecticut’s teacher evaluation plan – even worse than we thought.”

Wendy’s article is the clearest description to date of the dishonest, disastrous and counter-productive evaluation system that Governor Malloy, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, and his State Board of Education are trying to foist upon the teachers, administrators, students and parents who are part of Connecticut’s public education system.

The waste of time, energy and money associated with this abomination is staggering.

Even in a time of unlimited public resources, the program the Malloy and his Department of Education is pushing would be inappropriate, but now, as Connecticut continues to struggle through the greatest economic troubles of our times; their plan is nothing short of a criminal waste of taxpayer funds.

As Wendy Lecker writes;

“It turns out state’s proposed teacher evaluation program is far worse than I originally believed it to be.

Connecticut’s plan involves using “indicators of student growth” to form 22.5 percent of an evaluation. For grades and subjects covered by the CMTs or CAPTs, teachers must use those scores as a basis for their evaluation.

In my previous columns, I wrongly assumed that Connecticut would use the unreliable “value-added” model (VAM) as the foundation of this 22.5 percent. However, it has come to light that Connecticut’s model is much worse.

The value-added model would be bad enough. VAM is a flawed attempt to isolate the teacher effect on a student’s test scores. We have all heard that a teacher is “the most important in-school influence on students.”

There is no denying that teachers have a profound influence on students’ ways of thinking, their emotional development and other crucial aspects of children’s intellectual growth that cannot be measured on standardized tests. However, those who trumpet this claim refer to a teacher’s influence on a student’s test scores.

But decades of evidence prove that out-of-school factors account for the vast majority of a student’s test scores. Even those claiming teachers’ outsize influence on test scores only attribute 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent of a test score to variation in teacher quality.

Therefore, VAM’s goal is to tease out that 8.5 percent. As I have previously shown, a large and growing body of evidence proves that VAM fails at this task. VAM ratings based on test scores have a 50 percent misclassification rating, with a variance based on the test, the year, the class and even the statistical model used. It is dangerous to use this measure for even 22.5 percent of a rating because it is so unstable. Because it varies so wildly, the test-score-based rating will become the tipping point in most evaluations, despite its small percentage. Moreover, being a so-called hard number, it will inevitably be the main focus of evaluations.

Apparently, in thinking that state education officials would use VAM, I was giving them too much credit.

Connecticut is not using VAM. Instead, Connecticut is using something much worse: a “student growth” model.

Here is how it works. At the beginning of the year, a teacher in a subject covered by the CMTs or CAPTs chooses a goal. It can be that X percent of the class will move from proficiency to goal. Or, it can be that the average vertical-scale score of the class will increase by X percent. (Recall from an earlier column that vertical-scale scores basically only measure whether a child is a good test-taker.) Testing experts use statistical models to predict test-score increases. Teachers, I guess, are supposed to use their intuition — about children they have just met. Then, the teacher will be evaluated on whether she meets that goal.

Let us put aside the lunacy of having a teacher predict score increases and focus on Connecticut’s model. Unlike VAM, which tries and fails to isolate teacher effect, “student growth models” do not even attempt to isolate that 8 percent. There is no mechanism in Connecticut’s system that even tries to distinguish between all the factors affecting student test scores and the one factor upon which a teacher’s job will depend.

Lecker provides even more details in her latest commentary piece.

In the coming weeks we’ll dig even deeper into this absurd plan, but if you want to get a basic primary on how the education reformers are wasting our tax dollars, undermining the teaching professional and destroying our public schools, I urge you to start by reading – and then re-reading Wendy Lecker’s great piece.

Wendy Lecker: Connecticut’s teacher evaluation plan – even worse than we thought

Find it at: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-Connecticut-s-teacher-evaluation-4263492.php#ixzz2KQco2hL8

Malloy presents his blueprint for Connecticut: Record borrowing, cuts to vital services and non-tax tax increases

There are a lot of things I don’t agree with Senator John McKinney about, but in this case he is absolutely right. Governor Malloy’s proposed budget is a sham and a shame. It is an embarrassment that a Democrat proposed such an irresponsible budget and the Democrats in the Legislature will need to start from scratch.

As Senator McKinney put it, “”There’s so many gimmicks. I don’t know where to stop…This is the most dishonest budget I’ve seen.”

He is sadly correct in his assessment.

Governor Malloy told the Connecticut General Assembly;

“The budget I am proposing today keeps Connecticut moving forward… [and is] “an honest, balanced budget [that emphasizes] living within our means.”

But, in fact, it is a proposed state budget that;

  • Coddles the rich by refusing, once again, to require them to pay their fair share in taxes
  • Includes the largest gas tax increases in state history
  • Shifts tens of millions in municipal aid to the state’s credit card
  • Includes more than $250 million in cuts to vital social services
  • Cuts $146 million in state aid for Connecticut hospitals (on top of the $103 million cut)
  • Eliminates Medicaid coverage for thousands of poor parents who are now covered by the program that covers their poor children
  • Eliminates the Charter Oak Health Plan, an insurance program for those who can’t get affordable healthcare elsewhere
  • Reduces the state’s new Earned Income Tax Credit from 30 percent of the federal EITC to 25 percent (retroactive to Jan. 1), thereby removing a portion of the incentive that seeks to keep the working poor working as opposed to going on welfare.
  • Creates a new tax on power plants and continues a surcharge on the corporation tax — both of which were set to expire next fiscal year
  • Borrows $750 million replace the plan he never implemented to move the state to GAAP financing
  • Creates a $631 million state budget deficit in FY16
  • And MOST IMPORTANTLY balances the budget by delaying repayment of $1 billion that Connecticut borrowed in 2009 under Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

For more on this absurd plan read:




Malloy’s incredible and stunningly irresponsible budget plan makes an appearance

CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf has posted an article outlining the budget plan Governor Malloy will be presenting to the Connecticut General Assembly later today. 

After reading the article, an experienced “Connecticut budget watcher” would be forced to say; “imagine the worst, fiscally irresponsible scenario and then triple or quadruple the negative aspects of the plan” … and you still don’t get to what Governor Malloy will be presenting for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2014-2015 state budget.

Much more will become available as the day goes on, but here are the highlights (or more accurately – low lights) of the Governor’s budget proposal.

While promising a budget that has no new taxes, preserves his education reform program and dramatically expands spending in a few key areas, it is now clear that the Governor’s plans and proposals are virtually completely achieved by adding even more debt to Connecticut – the state that already has the worst existing debt burden in the nation.

Not only does Malloy’s $1.5 billion UConn initiative rely on borrowed funds, but he solves Connecticut’s $1.2 billion projected budget short fall through a complex, even bizarre, borrowing scheme.

The key component of Malloy’s new budget plan relies on getting more revenue from refinancing debt from the last recession, borrowing money to pay for municipal aid that was paid for with general fund dollars in the past and engaging in a new gimmick to make it appear the state is finally moving forward with its shift to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

In addition, Malloy’s budget proposal raises “about $140 million in new tax revenue by continuing expiring taxes on power plants and other businesses, and by reducing a tax credit for working poor families.

Apparently Malloy’s primary “budget financing plan” includes coming up with an additional $750 million dollars by “delaying repayment of $1 billion Connecticut borrowed in 2009 under Gov. M. Jodi Rell…Originally scheduled to be paid off in the 2015-16 fiscal year, the debt would be extended at least until 2018 in Malloy’s new budget.”

Meanwhile, two years ago, Candidate Malloy promised to immediately move the state to Generally Accepted Account Principles (GAAP).  When Governor Malloy realized the cost of his campaign promise he shifted his plan to make a $75 million down payment in year one, a $50 million down payment in year two and then enter into a 15 year plan to shift the state to GAAP by investing $100 million a year for the next decade and a half.  However, faced with budget deficits over the past two years, Malloy skipped the $75 million payment, then he skipped the $50 million payment and now he will be proposing to borrow the money to shift to state to GAAP, rather than actually make the necessary cash payments to resolve the problem the fiscally responsible way.

In addition, according to this new budget, Malloy will also turn to the state’s already overburdened credit card to provide more municipal aid.  Last year he decided to borrow the funds, rather than pay cash, for the state’s $30 million municipal road aid program.

In this new budget, he is proposing borrowing another $60 million to give towns their Mashantucket Pequot/Mohegan Tribe slot revenue allocations.  In that way, the state could keep all the Native American Indian Gaming funds for itself.

And the most incredible, piece de résistance, is that Malloy’s proposal to increase education funding – the plan he announced yesterday – appears to be paid for by changing (cutting) the Payment in Lieu of taxes program – the grant that towns get for lost revenue from state-owned property.  Malloy’s plan apparently shifts money from the Public PILOT program to the Education Cost Sharing Formula, but calling the funds “NEW MONEY” for education even though the towns aren’t actually getting any additional money.

And as noted above, the CTMirror story suggests that “the governor will propose reducing the state’s new Earned Income Tax Credit from 30 percent of the federal EITC down to 25 percent.”

Finally, the Governor’s plan also re-writes the state spending gap law to allow this increased spending to take place without having to go through the more burdensome supermajority requirements that would otherwise have been needed under the state’s existing spending cap law.

More details to come as Budget Day 2013 progresses.

For the CT Mirror article go to:  http://ctmirror.org/story/19025/malloys-push-avoid-taxes-preserve-education-spurs-more-borrowing

CTNewsjunkie also has additional details at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/republican_lawmaker_is_not_impressed_with_malloys_budget/

Governor Malloy: Proceeding down the path in a “forthright, fair, and transparent manner”

Last Wednesday’s blog post was entitled, “Wait,What? OPM Secretary Barnes says state budget deficit at $64.4 million.

The article sought to remind readers that back in December, State Comptroller Kevin Lembo announced that the state deficit was exceed $415 million, but rather than accept the word of the Constitutional Officer responsible for determining the deficit, Governor Malloy and administration decided to claim the Comptroller was wrong, or as they put it, wrong again.

Readers may recall, immediately after Lembo released his official certification that the deficit would $415 million and not $365 million as Malloy’s budget chief had announced,  Roy Occhiogrosso, sent an email to reporters that read; “We disagree with the number the comptroller is using today… The deficit mitigation plan the governor will propose within the next couple of weeks will, based on the best available data at the time, bring the current-year budget into balance.”

The Governor, himself, got in on the act, mocking Lembo’s prediction and saying, “These numbers are going to go up and down…We’re moving forward with our package, which addresses a set of numbers…The comptroller thinks we will spend more money than we did — he may be right…I was told similar predictions were made last year and they didn’t turn out to be right, so we’re dealing with the numbers we believe currently represent that challenge.”

It is worth repeating that Malloy summarized his position by saying, “We’re going to continue going down the path of dealing with it in a forthright, fair, and transparent manner.”

And thus the Malloy Administration and the Legislature enacted budget cuts and revenue “enhancements to eliminate a $365 million deficit.

What prompted the Wait, What? post in the first place was the announcement by Malloy’s budget chief that – even after the Governor’s budget mitigation actions – the state budget deficit now stood at $64 million.

Well, now we learn that the Office of Fiscal Analysis, the nonpartisan fiscal analysts who report to the Connecticut General Assembly, has determined that the deficit is not $64 million but $140 million.

As Keith Phaneuf reports in the CTMirror, “The state budget deficit is more than twice the size Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration reported this week, according to a new analysis released Friday by nonpartisan legislative analysts.”

The full explanation can be found in Phaneuf’s story, but suffice to say the Malloy Administration failed to reveal all of the excess spending that it taking place and misreported some revenue related information.

Read Phaneuf’s report here:   http://ctmirror.org/story/18895/nonpartisan-analysts-say-state-budget-deficit-approaches-140m

Soon we’ll receive the even more shocking and disturbing news of what this larger deficit means for next year’s budget.

While the Malloy Administration may seek to minimize the projected gap when he releases his proposed state budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, the latest numbers from the Office of Fiscal Analysis suggest that next year’s budget shortfall is not the $1 billion the Governor’s Office has hinted at but closer to $1.4 billion or more.  Traditionally, OFA should be announcing their FY14 projection soon.  I’m sure CTMirror will have the details the moment the numbers become available.

But what is clear is that assuming Connecticut seeks to continue to maintain its present level of diminished services, the gap between revenue and expenditures could be in the range of $1.4 billion or more for the coming budget year – almost the size of the tax increase that was adopted just two years ago.

Wait,What? OPM Secretary Barnes says state budget deficit at $64.4 million.

A state budget deficit at $64.4 million.

SURPRISE!  Surprise????

The Malloy administration goes for broke with its misleading approach to the state’s budget deficit problems.

Yesterday, Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management Ben Barnes issued his monthly budget letter to the State Comptroller announcing that due to a decline in revenue (and some additional excess spending); this year’s Connecticut’s state budget deficit now stands at $64.4 million.

The Malloy administration, along with some in the media, act as if this news comes as a surprise.

There is one thing we can say for sure, the fact that the state of Connecticut is facing more than a $50 million deficit should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone.

On December 3, 2012, State Comptroller Kevin Lembo officially certified that Connecticut had a $415 million state budget deficit.

The next day the headline in the CTNewsjunkie read, “Malloy Not Convinced Deficit Is Higher.”

The Malloy administration was sticking with their projection that the state had a $365 million budget deficit come Hell or high water.

Immediately after Lembo released his official certification of the $415 million deficit, Roy Occhiogrosso, the governor’s senior adviser shot an email off to reporters that read;

“We disagree with the number the comptroller is using today… The deficit mitigation plan the governor will propose within the next couple of weeks will, based on the best available data at the time, bring the current-year budget into balance.”

Malloy piled on, responding to Lembo’s announcement by telling reports, “These numbers are going to go up and down…We’re moving forward with our package, which addresses a set of numbers…The comptroller thinks we will spend more money than we did — he may be right…I was told similar predictions were made last year and they didn’t turn out to be right, so we’re dealing with the numbers we believe currently represent that challenge.”

The Governor summarized his position by saying, “We’re going to continue going down the path of dealing with it in a forthright, fair, and transparent manner.”

And so the Malloy Administration proceeded in their “forthright, fair, and transparent manner” and took action to eliminate a $365 million deficit.

In his December 10th article, the CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf wrote, “State Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo is projecting a $415 million budget hole, while the administration pegs the shortfall at $365 million.  Malloy’s proposal, if backed by the legislature in a special session scheduled for Dec. 19, would be enough to close out the smaller figure.”

On December 17, Phaneuf wrote, “The tentative [budget] plan, coupled with emergency spending cuts ordered by Malloy last month, would cover the entire $365 million deficit projected by the administration for the fiscal year that ends next June 30.  It would cover all but $50 million of the $415 million shortfall projected Dec. 1 by state Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo.”

And on December 19th, after Malloy’s Deficit Mitigation bill passed the legislature, Phaneuf wrote “It does fall short, though, of covering the larger, $415 million deficit projection issued Dec. 1 by state Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo.”

And on January 2, 2013 Phaneuf and other reporters covered Lembo’s announcement that the state was still facing a deficit of nearly $50 million.

And so here we are…  It is two months AFTER Lembo warned the Malloy administration that the deficit was more than $50 million higher than what they were claiming and the Malloy’s budget chief announces that the deficit now stands at $64 million.

Consider it a painful, but enlightening tribute to Governor Malloy’s pledge that he was dealing with the state deficit in a “forthright, fair, and transparent manner.”

Damn it’s that poverty thing again…

Following last week’s State of the State address, Wait, What? wrote Connecticut – The State of the State: But what about poverty?

The post pointed out the that ten years ago, Connecticut state government passed legislation creating a commission on poverty and pledged to cut the rate of poverty in Connecticut by 50 percent over the next decade.  However, ten years later, the rate of poverty in Connecticut has not gone down, in fact, it has gone up significantly.

Now CTNewsjunkie has a story about a new report about Connecticut’s working poor.

Jim Horan, the executive director of the Connecticut Association for Human Services, is quoted in the article and the underlying report indicating that, “Twenty-one percent of Connecticut’s working families are now low-income, increasing from 16 percent in just the past five years.”

Horan goes on to say, “Connecticut needs to invest in human infrastructure. We need to make sure our citizens can work hard and earn a wage that sustains housing and health care and lets them provide for their children. More action is needed now to ensure that all families in our state can build a secure future.”

As with other studies that have been released recently, this new report also reiterates that income inequity is growing dramatically in the United States with the gap between the top and the bottom growing, as well as the gap between the top and the middle class.

According to this study, in 2011, the top 20 percent earned 10.1 times the total income earned by the bottom 20 percent.  That number is up from 9.5 times in 2007.

Or, as the report states, “the top 20 percent took home 48 percent of all income while those in the bottom 20 percent received less than 5 percent of the economic pie.”

And as readers of Wait, What know, the income gap in Connecticut has increased faster than in any other state in the nation.

Connecticut is the second largest in the nation behind only New York.

You can read the CTNewsjunkie story here: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/new_report_finds_poverty_is_on_the_rise/ and the new report here: http://www.workingpoorfamilies.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Winter-2012_2013-WPFP-Data-Brief.pdf

Oh those wily consultants: Consulting company determines UConn Administrator’s pay okay

Faced with criticism about the high rate of compensation for UConn administrators, the University of Connecticut’s Board of Trustees hired Sibson Consulting to determine whether the rate UConn was paying its senior administrators was appropriate.

According to their public relations materials, Sibson Consulting reports to be leaders in, “executive compensation and corporate governance design for over 50 years. We act as independent, outside counsel to both compensation committees and their senior management. Our principals and senior consultants specialize in the development of comprehensive compensation programs tailored to the particular needs of each client.”

In this case, the UConn Board of Trustees’ new Compensation Committee needed an analysis of how UConn is doing when it comes to salary packages and policies for its senior executive management team.

The answer was recently reported to the Board via a memo from the Compensation Committee.  The memo read:

“With respect to current salaries for UConn’s senior administrators Sibson concluded that they are ‘generally consistent with the salaries for positions and comparable duties and responsibilities’ in the academic markets studied (i.e. Top 20 Public Research Institutions, Top 50 Public Research Institutions and Top 50 National Research Institutions).  When compared with not-for-profit and corporate organizations, UConn’s salaries are generally below market practices.  Sibson also concluded that UConn’s senior administrator salaries are “consistent with what Sibson would expect for an institution of UConn’s size and complexity.”  Lastly Sibson found that UConn lacks a coherent compensation philosophy for its senior administrator salaries to guide the determination of starting salaries and incumbent salary increases as well as to support the recruitment and retention of outstanding management professionals.”

So, all in all, a pretty good report.

Salaries are not overly excessive and UConn lacks any coherent compensation philosophy.

Kudos to Sibson Consulting for engaging in a successful consulting project.

And special compliments to UConn who successfully revealed, yet again, that given the right perspective, you can even make s**t smell like flowers.

The memo reporting on the consultant’s report can be found here: http://courantblogs.com/capitol-watch/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/UCONN-salaries.pdf