Gubernatorial Election 2014 Gubernatorial Election 2014
Wait, What? readers;
It is time once again to conduct a Wait, What? 2014 Gubernatorial Election Readers Survey.
Although the results are unscientific, since it does not survey a random sample of Connecticut voters, the results always prove interesting.
You can take the survey via the following link: Wait, What? 2014 Gubernatorial Election Readers Survey
The software only allows one person per IP address to take the survey so households with multiple Wait, What? readers will have to fight over who gets to complete the poll.
Check back for a full report on the results:
Wait, What? 2014 Gubernatorial Election Readers Survey
The survey includes the following questions:
1. Tuesday,November 4th, 2014 is Election Day in Connecticut and voters will have the opportunity to cast their vote for candidates seeking the office of governor.
All things considered, do you think Governor Dannel Malloy should be re-elected or is it time for someone new to lead that state?
2. If Connecticut’s 2014 election for governor were held today and the choices were Governor Dannel Malloy and one of the Republican candidates that are seeking the Republican nomination;
Would you vote for Governor Malloy, the Republican candidate, are you unsure/undecided or would you not vote in the race for governor?
3. If Connecticut’s 2014 election for governor were held today and the choices were Governor Dannel Malloy, one of the Republican candidates that are seeking the Republican nomination and and a Democratic running as an independent candidate who was pro-public education, pro-transparency and pro-fiscal responsibility;
Would you vote for Malloy, the Republican candidate,the independent Democratic candidate, are you unsure/undecided or would you not vote in the race for governor?
4. Many politicians and political pundits would say that an independent Democratic candidate can’t win a state-wide race for governor and would only serve as a “spoiler” and ensure that the Republican candidate for governor would win. Others would point out that independent candidates for governor have won gubernatorial races including Lowell Weicker here in Connecticut.
Taking these arguments into consideration, would you say that you strongly support the idea of an independent Democratic candidate running this year, somewhat support the idea, somewhat oppose the idea or strongly oppose the idea of an independent Democratic candidate running for governor in 2014.
Again, you can take the survey via the following link: Wait, What? 2014 Gubernatorial Election Readers Survey
Board of Regents, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Higher Education, Malloy, State Budget, UConn Board of Regents, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, State Budget, UConn
“I am not talking about what happened in the past. I am talking about what needs to happen in the future. (Governor Dannel Malloy 2-12-14)
The CT News Junkie headline reads “Commits To Higher Ed, Hopes Future Governors Will Too.”
Governor Malloy held a press conference at Manchester Community College on Wednesday in which he touted the “major investment” he was making in Connecticut’s institutions of public education.
As the article reports;
“Calling his recently announced higher education investments a good first step, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Wednesday he’s committed to additional funding increases even as he nears the end of his current term as governor.”
This “commitment” comes from the same Governor Malloy who has pushed through the deepest budget cuts in state history at Connecticut’s public colleges and universities.
At UConn, for example, before Malloy became governor, the Connecticut state budget accounted for 33% of the total cost required to operate the University of Connecticut. Three years into his term and after his record budget cuts at UConn, Connecticut State University and at the State’s Community Colleges, the state now only provides 27.9% of the amount necessary to keep UConn operating.
As a direct result of Malloy’s budget cuts, the burden on students and their families have INCREASED by 17.3% with tuition and fees going up by double digits since Malloy became governor.
In 2010, candidate Dan Malloy promised to make Connecticut’s public college and universities a priority. Since being sworn in as Dannel Malloy in 2011, Malloy has done exactly the opposite.
The reality is that it is getting harder and harder for middle class families to afford to send their children to college in Connecticut. Since 2000, the cost of attending UConn has increased 118%.
And no Connecticut governor in living memory has done as much damage to higher education than Malloy.
But in what has now become typical fashion, Malloy failed to let the truth get in the way of a good press opportunity.
According to the CT News Junkie article, Malloy called his new funding initiative;
“Not a bad start” and added, “This is only a down payment, I’ve said it to members of the Regents Board. As this plan becomes further identified, there will in fact be increased investments in this system. That’s why this is really a celebration . . . of what is to come in the future.”
As Malloy put it, “I’m making a personal commitment and I hope future governors will make a personal commitment to make sure that this program continues…I want to be very clear, this is just the beginning of the investments we need to make in this system.”
However, the “new investment” that Malloy is making is based on an incredible budget gimmick and is not an ongoing effort to improve funding at Connecticut’s public colleges and universities.
As the CT Mirror explains, “Malloy is proposing to pay for this initiative using a budget loophole to get around the state’s constitutional spending limits.”
In a related budget story the CT Mirror laid out Malloy’s plan;
“…the $60 million Malloy would provide to cover the operating expenses…rely and the buy-one-get-one-free course for dropouts would come from a “one-time revenue transfer,” according to the administration.
What Malloy has proposed commonly is known in fiscal analyst circles as an “intercept” — a loophole used to move funds off budget and outside the purview of the constitutional spending cap.
After pledging for weeks that his new budget would comply with the cap, Malloy sent lawmakers a $19 billion plan that falls a razor-thin $8 million under the cap — and that’s before the Transform CSCU 2020 initiative is included.
The Democratic governor has been loathe to approve a legal exception to the cap – having criticized his GOP predecessors for frequently going that route. That option also is more complicated, requiring a 60 percent vote of approval in both the House and Senate.
Malloy instead turned to a loophole.
The cap system technically applies only to tax receipts and other revenues assigned to the state budget. Malloy will ask lawmakers to “intercept” $60 million of those revenues – which means that before the money “arrives” in the state treasury, it has been assigned to a new purpose outside of the budget.
Effectively, there would be no difference in how the money is spent in the fiscal year that begins July 1, but the expenditure wouldn’t be counted for spending cap purposes.
Traditionally though, state payments to cover higher education costs have been included within the budget.
Governor Malloy’s entire “commitment” to higher education has been a farce and his latest “commitment” is even more absurd than his previous ones.
Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
First there was Dan Malloy, the Democratic candidate for Governor. Once elected, Dan became Dannel and the commitments and promises made were quickly swept aside by the arrogance and sense of entitlement displayed by Connecticut’s new Governor Dannel Malloy.
Now with the gubernatorial election ten months away, Dannel Malloy is morphing yet again — and it isn’t even a full moon!
Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie has a “MUST READ” piece in this weekend’s Hartford Courant entitled, Malloy Shifts Into Full-On Makeup Mode.
Kevin Rennie pulls back the curtain observing;
“State leaders said weather delayed the opening of the year’s legislative session from Wednesday to Thursday. I’m not so sure. Democrat and Working Families Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was still serving the detention imposed on him by the state’s public school teachers.
Malloy emerged from the penalty box Thursday and proceeded to deliver an address from never-never land, sprinkling fairy dust on the state, hoping it would make his record fly. Pity the poor people who had to sit through the grind of focus groups testing themes and nuggets.
The governor started his address with a salute to the Department of Transportation workers who plowed our roads on Wednesday. You can tell it’s an election year. In 2011, Malloy was haranguing those same workers when they resisted his contract changes. You aren’t the only ones who can plow snow, he snarled with his customary charm. Nine months from an election, Malloy needs to bring those workers onside if he’s to have a chance at winning a second term.
There are thousands more teachers in Connecticut than DOT snow removers, so Malloy needed more than a nod of thanks to start winning teachers over after waging war on them in 2012. He put the brakes on a teacher evaluation program that, only two years ago, the governor claimed was crucial to Connecticut’s future.
Teachers are furious with Malloy. He spent a year kicking the stuffing out of them while ignoring the fundamental challenge in education inequality: poverty. How the Malloy team must have agonized over what to do to tamp down the hostility of the state’s seething public school teachers. Malloy loves a target, but he made a mistake when he took on every teacher in the state. He cannot win a second term without the full-throated support of one of the Democrats’ most powerful interest groups.
The typical schoolteacher garners a lot of experience learning how to call the bluff of the bullyboys who go in and out of their classes. They aren’t likely to be fooled by Malloy. A re-elected governor, they must know, will resume his attacks on their profession. Re-election will only embolden him to punish them more for inflicting this bitter humiliation as November draws near.
If Malloy were serious about changing his teacher evaluation program, he would fire education Commissioner Stefan Pryor for his manifest failures in implementing the new law. The messages must have flowed in Malloy’s shadow email system as they decided how to retreat from teacher evaluations without abandoning the prospect of resurrecting the program. Teachers will note that Pryor stays.
You can and should read Kevin Rennie’s full commentary piece by going to: http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/hc-op-rennie-malloy-calculates-price-of-re-electio-20140207,0,4697480.column
Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Minimum Wage Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Minimum Wage
However, his announced $10 an-hour minimum wage wouldn’t take effect until 26 months after the next election.
When it comes to politics, even short-term memory is a scarce commodity.
While candidate Dan Malloy was a supporter of increasing the minimum wage, Governor Dannel Malloy has taken a considerably more conservative approach.
In January 2012, the Democratic Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives proposed raising the minimum wage from $8.25 to $9.00 an hour on July 1, 2013 and then to a rate of $9.75 on July 1, 2014. The proposal also included a provision that would tie Connecticut’s minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index.
At the time Governor Malloy made it clear that the it wasn’t his idea to propose the increase telling reporters, “I’m not slamming any doors. I’m not saying ‘No’ but I’ll watch the debate and perhaps reach a conclusion subsequently.”
Without the Democratic governor’s support, the business community easily derailed the proposal.
At the beginning of the following legislative session, in January 2013, Democratic legislators returned to the push for an increase in the minimum wage.
When it was clear that the voters were there for an increase in Connecticut’s minimum wage, Governor Malloy’s chief of staff, Mark Ojakian, was dispatched late in the legislative session to inform the General Assembly’s Democratic leaders that Malloy would support an increase in the minimum wage but that Malloy demanded that they “soften the blow on business in 2014,” the year Malloy would be seeking re-election.
As a result of Malloy’s effort to limit the increase in the minimum wage, the General Assembly ended up passing a bill that raised the minimum wage to $8.70 on January 1, 2014 and then to a rate of $9.00 on January 1, 2015.
While the original proposal was to reach the $9.00 minimum wage level by July 1, 2013, Malloy’s “compromise” forced minimum wage workers to wait eighteen more months to reach that level.
But 2014 is a gubernatorial election year and in an “I’m with you now” moment, Governor Malloy has seen the light, or at least read the political polling data and is now proposing to raise the minimum wage to $10.10.
But of course, Malloy’s plan is to phase in the increase over three years so that state’s lowest wage workers wouldn’t actually reach the $10.10 mark until 2017.
Malloy’s proposal is to raise the minimum wage to $9.15 on January 1, 2015, $9.60 on January 1, 2016 and $10.10 on January 1, 2017.
When reporters asked about whether Malloy’s election year conversion was an attempt to win votes, he responded, “What it should look like is I’m doing the right thing.”
So there you go… Malloy says he is doing the right thing.
Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Morgan Barth, Nancy Wyman, Stefan Pryor Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Morgan Barth, Nancy Wyman, Stefan Pryor
Even putting aside the fact that Governor Dannel Malloy’s re-election dreams face an insurmountable hurdle if Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and his gang of corporate education reform industry staff and consultants remain in place, Pryor must go if Malloy and the Democrats are truly interested in improving the state of the state when it comes to public education in Connecticut.
Pryor’s management of the Connecticut Department of Education has become the personification of what happens when arrogance, elitism and corporate driven interests replace a commitment to honesty, transparency and a commitment to doing what is right for the people public officials have a sworn duty to serve.
From the moment Stefan Pryor arrived in Connecticut, the Malloy administration’s education policy has been consistently designed to destroy local control, belittle and demean teachers, reduce parental involvement, undermine our public schools and divert scarce public resources to out-of-state consultants and carpetbagging staff. Pryor’s tenure has been dedicated to a preoccupation with turning our schools into little more than standardized testing factories.
Pryor began his tenure by using no-bid contacts to pass out millions of dollars in public funds to out-of-state companies for the purpose of developing Malloy’s “education reform” initiative and transforming the State Department of Education into a gravy train for the corporate education reform industry.
Pryor helped Malloy develop and push through the most anti-teacher, anti-union, pro-charter school education reform bill of any Democratic governor in the nation.
Malloy and Pryor’s legislation and policies were founded upon the inappropriate use of the Common Core, the mandated introduction of a huge and faulty Common Core standardized testing scheme, an inaccurate and unfair teacher evaluation program and a “Commissioner’s Network” and system of “Turnaround Schools” that are reducing parental involvement, destroying local control and are primarily designed to privatize public schools.
In example, after example, after example, Stefan Pryor and his “team” have consistently put their political agenda ahead of what was best for the students, parents, teachers and public schools of our state.
Pryor has dedicated himself to hiring his personal friends, giving out millions of dollars in contracts to out-of-state, politically-connected companies, putting his “Turnaround Office” in the hands of Morgan Barth, a person who illegally taught and worked for Pryor’s charter school management company (Achievement First, Inc.) for six years and relentlessly and consistently doing the wrong thing for Connecticut’s system of public education.
The quintessential example of Pryor’s dismal and idiotic approach to governing was his decision to let go or transfer ten State Department of Education, Connecticut-based experts on improving schools and replacing them with an unending series of inexperienced, out-of-state consultants who have no meaningful experience or understanding of how to close the achievement gap in our largest and poorest school districts.
To add insult to injury, last week Pryor extended this useless $1 million contract with Mass Insight on its last day, thereby giving Connecticut taxpayers an additional $800,000 bill and saddling Connecticut’s 30 Alliance Districts with this useless bunch of consultants.
Add in Pryor’s utter contempt for transparency and Connecticut’s Freedom of Information laws and his dedication to the outrageous actions of “Special Master” Steven Adamowski and you have the backdrop for the dysfunction and chaos that has become the trademark of Pryor’s State Department of Education.
It what may be the single best example of the Malloy administration’s arrogance, when Senate Minority Leader John McKinney appropriately called for Pryor’s resignation, Governor Malloy’s chief of staff responded, “John McKinney is working to further his political ambitions by scoring political points at the expense of Connecticut’s children. It’s beneath his office and, frankly shameless, even for him.”
Considering that Mark Ojakian and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman appear to be the only two people in the entire Malloy administration who even understand how public education works in Connecticut, Ojakian’s comments on behalf of the governor are beyond absurd and only reiterate the fact that Malloy is unable, incapable or simply unwilling to do the right thing for Connecticut’s students, parents, teachers and our schools.
As long as Stefan Pryor is at the helm at the State Department of Education and as long as Malloy keeps him there, doing what is right for Connecticut’s public schools will never be a priority.
Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Retired Teachers Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Retired Teachers
After undermining, maligning and insulting retired teachers and teachers for the past three years, with nine months to go before the next gubernatorial election, Governor Malloy has had an epiphany and is now offering retired teachers a “tax break.”
Malloy’s proposal plan would reduce the state income tax on teacher’s pension by 25% in Fiscal Year 2015 (the year after the election) and by an additional 25% in Fiscal Year 2016.
While Malloy failed to explain that the state of Connecticut is already facing a $1 billion deficit in each of those two fiscal years he did say that reducing the tax on teacher pensions was “a matter of basic fairness” and he added, “I’ve been wanting to do this for years.”
Governor Malloy wanted to do this for years?
How about some truth:
The unfunded liability of the Teacher Retirement Board Pension Fund has increased to $11.1 billion. According to the latest Connecticut State Teachers’ Retirement System actuarial report, “The unfunded actuarial accrued liability increased from $9.066 billion to $11.127 billion” over the two year period from 2010 to 2012.
The State of Connecticut’s failure to properly fund the teacher’s retirement fund and the state employee retirement fund has left Connecticut taxpayers with an obligation that require higher than necessary taxes over the next two decades.
In addition to the underfunding of the Teacher’s Retirement Board Pension Fund, the teachers’ retirement health insurance fund is $3 billion short of what is needed.
As many retired teachers know, Connecticut state law requires that every year the state contribute 33 percent of the cost of health care premiums into the teachers’ retirement health insurance fund.
However in 2012, in an incredibly irresponsible fiscal maneuver, Governor Malloy actually proposed dropping the state contribution to NOTHING!
After retired teaches and their advocates spoke up and fought back the legislature increased the contribution rate to 25 percent. Although the amount we better than what Malloy had initially proposed it still translated to a cut that further undermined the fiscal health of the retired teachers’ health insurance fund.
But what many retired teaches and other missed was that in that same year Governor Malloy managed to push through another proposal.
Malloy’s 2012 state budget also changed the way the state handles the federal subsidy that the Teachers Retirement Board receives for providing prescription drug coverage for Medicare retirees.
Under Malloy’s plan the State of Connecticut started using those federal funds to OFF-SET the required contribution that the state makes to the Teachers Retirement Board health fund.
In other words, as a direct result of Malloy’s plan, the state of Connecticut is now using the federal contribution that the state gets for teachers on Medicare to further REDUCE what the state provides to the retired teachers health fund.
In this way Malloy is undermining the long-term fiscal stability of the Teachers Retirement Board health fund even more.
While the state of Connecticut’s decision to drop the required contribution to the health fund from 33 percent to 25 percent was “only temporary,’ the maneuver on the federal subsidy the TRB receives for providing prescription drug coverage for Medicare retirees was permanent.
It appears that Governor Malloy and his political handlers think retired teachers will overlook his utter failure to provide for Connecticut’s retired teachers and will vote for him because he dangles a tax break in front of their faces now that it is an election year.
For more about these proposals see PA 12-104, § 21 (the language that temporarily overrides the statute to reduce the state’s share to 25% and increase the share paid by the retired teachers’ health insurance premium account to 42% for FY 13) and PA 12-1, June 12 Special Session (JSS), (the language that permanently defines the federal subsidy TRB receives for providing drug coverage for TRB retirees under Medicare Part D be used to offset the state’s share of the TRB plan premium cost.)
For more about Malloy’s attempt to win over retired teachers read: CT Newsjunkie
Campaign Finance, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy Campaign Finance, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy
More big money for Malloy campaign operation from contractors who got state funds…
As the website Raising Hale continues to reveal, contractors who benefited from the Malloy administration are coming through with hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions for Malloy’s re-election operation.
But whatever you do, don’t call it “Pay TO Play.”
“Pay AFTER Play” maybe, but let’s be clear, the generosity these contractors are showing the Governor Malloy re-election effort WASN’T because they WANTED to get state funded work, they are SIMPLY saying THANK YOU for the state funded work they did received.
Now that is a WHOLE different thing… (please note the satire)
DOT preferred developer brings 2013 gifts to Democrats up to $90,000 with December contributions (From the Raising Hale Website) February 1, 2014 by Zachary Janowski
The joint venture selected by the Department of Transportation to redevelop part of Stamford near the city’s train station gave $90,000 to the Connecticut Democratic Party’s federal account last year, including $32,500 in December.
DOT selected Stamford Manhattan Development Ventures in June to take charge of the $500 million project, including $35 million in state funding for parking garages.
Weeks after DOT told the joint venture it won, the family behind JHM Group, which belongs to the joint venture, gave $30,000 to the Democratic Party’s federal account.
Since the company is a prospective state contractor, its executives are prohibited from giving to the party’s state account, but are allowed to give to the federal account.
Executives from other joint-venture partners, including Ciminelli Development and AllPro Parking, gave another $27,500 in November.
In December, Paul Ciminelli and Dennis Penman, executives at Ciminelli Development, gave $2,500 and $10,000, respectively.
John and Raymond Gizzi, of ECCO III Enterprises, Inc., another joint-venture partner, gave $10,000 each last month, bringing the total to $90,000.
For more go to: http://www.raisinghale.com/
Charter Schools, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Steve Perry Capital Preparatory Magnet School Bridgeport, Capital Preparatory Magnet School, Charter Schools, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Stefan Pryor, Steve Perry
The Hartford Courant and City Line Blog reporter Vanessa De La Torre have the latest news on Steve Perry’s attempt to open a charter school in Bridgeport.
De La Torre refers to “Capital Prep.” wanting to open a charter school but as Wait, What? readers are undoubtedly aware, the charter school application is not from Capital Preparatory Magnet Academy, a Hartford public school, but from a private company that Steve Perry set up as part of a complex strategy to get the City of Hartford and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor to transfer Capital Prep and another Hartford elementary school to Perry’s private company.
The move would have given Perry control of more than 1,000 Hartford public school students and more than $15 million a year in state funds.
The Hartford Board of Education eventually rejected Perry’s scheme, but it now appears that Perry wants to keep his six figure income as a Hartford principal while running a K-12 charter school in Bridgeport.
According to sources within Capital Prep, certain administrators and hand-picked teachers have been promised jobs and promotions in Perry’s proposed charter school.
In addition, with the help of one or more legislators from Bridgeport, Perry has already been lobbying Bridgeport officials to support his charter school plan.
The Hartford Courant reports;
“The state Department of Education received nine applications by its Jan. 24 deadline from organizations interested in establishing state or local charter schools in Connecticut. Today, the state released the list to Cityline after a Freedom of Information request.
Some highlights? Capital Preparatory Schools, Inc., the nonprofit management group run by Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry, wants to open a charter school in Bridgeport this year called Capital Prep Harbor School. As you might recall, Perry recently clashed with organized labor over the failed proposal to have his group take over SAND School in Hartford.
Family Urban Schools of Excellence (FUSE), the group that has brought you Jumoke Academy, seeks to open a Booker T. Washington Academy charter school in New Haven.
And Democracy Prep Public Schools, the New York-based charter organization, has proposed opening a school in Hartford in 2016.
…The completed applications — usually large files — are still being processed, said Kelly Donnelly, an education department spokeswoman.”
Perry’s maneuver obviously raises a lengthy list of ethical and legal questions.
As a full-time, 12 month employee of the Hartford Board of Education, Perry is prohibited from using public time or resources to promote any private business.
However, Perry has already missed 20% of the Capital Prep School days traveling around the country collecting fees for giving “inspirational” speeches.
Perry has also consistently used time when he was at school to promote his speaking business.
And there are growing reports that meetings related to Perry’s charter school proposal, including discussions with State Board of Education officials, took place during the work day.
Conducting private business while on state time is both a violation of Hartford Board of Education policies and Connecticut state law.
FOI requests for all communication related to the proposed Perry charter school have or will be submitted to all the various parties. A related issue is that previous FOI requests reveal that Perry has used his private email and phone to conduct public business. Although those records fall within the Freedom of Information purview, Commissioner Pryor’s office has refused to turn over some of those communications.
Meanwhile, word is that Commissioner Pryor and the State Department of Education are moving quickly to set up “public hearings” on these new charter school requests and that Pryor will try to force a vote of the State Board of Education on these charter applications within the next 60 days.
Finally, as Wait, What? readers also know, charter school supporters have become a major source of campaign contributions for Governor Malloy’s political aspirations.
Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Retired Teachers Gubernatorial Election 2014, Malloy, Retired Teachers
A year ago this month, a Wait, What? Blog post began with the words:
There are a lot of crazy, irresponsible and down-right mean things in Governor Malloy’s budget proposal, but his plan to totally eliminate Connecticut’s contribution to the retired teachers’ health insurance fund may very well take the cake. (See link)
But election years will have wondrous impacts on politicians.
As Keith Phaneuf reports in yesterday’s CT Mirror, Governor Malloy is now offering, “modest tax breaks for retired CT teachers.”
As Phaneuf explains;
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy proposed a second round of tax cuts Friday, including a new income tax break for retired teachers that could provide a strategic edge in his re-election bid.
The Democratic governor, who has clashed with public school teachers on several issues in recent years, expanded his recent efforts to extend an olive branch.
It took the form Friday of a two-stage break on state income taxes for retired teachers.
Malloy’s proposal specifically would exempt 25 percent of retired teachers’ pensions from state income taxes retroactive to Jan. 1.
That exemption would climb to 50 percent in January 2015. The annual cost to the state of this once it is fully implemented would be $23.7 million per year.
Malloy rejected suggestions this was an election-year overture to a key part of his base, noting that most retired teachers aren’t eligible to receive Social Security benefits. There are about 23,000 retired teachers living in Connecticut.
“All I’m trying to do is equalize that unfair treatment,” he said, calling teachers “vital public servants.”
However, Wait,What? readers know Connecticut will be facing a combined $3.2 billion dollar deficit in the three years following the next election.
The tax cuts Malloy proposed on Friday, “would add more than $50 million to the nearly $1 billion shortfall projected for the first state budget after the election.”
While Malloy claims that his “election-year” offer to retired teachers is not related to the fact that it is an election year, readers may want to go back and re-read the Wait, What? blogs entitled; Define fiscally and morally irresponsible? Malloy’s plan for older, retired teachers and Heck, with an average age of 75, retired teachers may not even remember it was Malloy’s proposal
Here is the first of those posts – this one dated February 21, 2012
There are a lot of crazy, irresponsible and down-right mean things in Governor Malloy’s budget proposal, but his plan to totally eliminate Connecticut’s contribution to the retired teachers’ health insurance fund may very well take the cake.
For nearly sixty years, the State of Connecticut has been helping retired teachers acquire health insurance.
Prior to 1986, active teachers did not pay into the Federal Medicare system, so when they retired, they didn’t qualify for Medicare, the primary health insurance system for older Americans.
Furthermore, since teacher salaries were historically so low prior to the educational enhancement act of 1986, older teachers were retiring with very small pensions. With no Medicare and limited incomes, few could afford the most basic level of health insurance coverage, without some type of subsidy.
For nearly 4 decades, the State of Connecticut utilized a variety of different mechanisms to help these older, retired teachers get some health insurance. In 1991 it settled on the creation of the Retired Teachers Health Insurance Fund.
To fund the program, active teachers contribute 1.2 percent of their income into the health fund. This year that amounts to about $45 million.
The premiums that retired teachers pay for their insurance brings in about $37 million.
And state law required that the State of Connecticut contribute 33 percent of the cost of a Medicare supplement plan into the Insurance Fund.
Together these funds were used to help retired teachers get health insurance through the Teacher’s Retirement Board or through their last employing board of education. The subsidy isn’t much, only $110 per month, and despite the massive increase in health insurance premium costs, the subsidy hasn’t been increased since 2000. The Teachers Retirement Board has determined that the $110 subsidy “now covers “on average” only 14% of the monthly premium for the retiree, further eroding the value of the retiree’s pension.
But as bad as things have become, even the $110 helped a little as these retired teachers were forced to shell out of their own pockets an additional $500 to $900 a month to buy insurance through their former boards of education.
Meanwhile, some towns are engaging in a whole separate effort to change the rules and unfairly force teachers off their municipal plans, but I’ll cover that growing problem under a separate post.
In any case, for good or for bad, the present system has been functioning fairly well.
And then to balance the state budget in Fiscal year 2010 and 2011, Governor Rell and the Democrats decided to insert language that allowed the state to forgo any contribution for two years. The lack of funding created a situation that began to derail the financial stability of the Retired Teachers Health Insurance Fund.
When Governor Malloy was sworn in, rather than recommit the state to the appropriate level of funding, he proposed shifting the burden onto the backs of the retired teachers. The Legislature rightfully rejected the move, but “compromised” by agreeing to only allocate 25% of the value of a Medicare supplement plan rather than the 33% required by the law.
While the state did deposit $35 million in Fiscal Year 2012 and $18 million in Fiscal Year 2013, by refusing to deposit the appropriate amount the Fund was, yet again, undermined.
And then came this year…
Malloy went for broke and proposed simply making no payments what-so-ever into the fund.
This Governor, who ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility, proposing that the state simply forgo putting $70 million into the Retired Teachers Health Insurance Fund.
Here are the facts;
In 2012 the Teacher Retirement Board health plan was serving 18,804 retired teachers
In 2012, the Teacher Retirement Board was also paying the town subsidy on behalf of 16,725 retired teachers.
The average age of the retired teacher on the Teacher Retirement Board’s plan is 75 years old.
These teachers received a $0 cost of living adjustment in their pensions in 2010 and 2011.
The Governor’s plan is simply outrageous.
The Connecticut General Assembly eventually modified Malloy’s plan, but in the end, Connecticut’s retired teachers were still shortchanged and hurt thanks to the Governor who now says, “ All I’m trying to do is equalize that unfair treatment [of these] vital public servants.”
Does Governor Malloy think retired teachers will forget how he targeted them in last year’s budget proposal or does he think they are simply to stupid to catch on to his latest scheme.
For more on the issue, here is this year’s CT Mirror story: http://ctmirror.org/malloy-offers-modest-tax-breaks-for-retired-ct-teachers-consumers/ and here is some information from CT Mirror about Malloy’s plan last year: http://ctmirror.org/malloys-budget-would-deplete-retired-teachers-health-care-fund/
Corporate Welfare, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Human Services, Malloy Corporate Welfare, Gubernatorial Election 2014, Human Services, Malloy, Taxes
Newspaper headlines in today’s Stamford Advocate:
Street bonuses heat up January real estate market in Greenwich, Darien
Stamford homeless shelters over capacity
In 2013, the stock market hit “52 all-time record highs” and had its best year in 18 years. As a result, Greenwich realtors report the sales of high priced homes is booming. As one realtor put it, “Traditionally, the markets in Greenwich — and neighboring towns such as Darien — have seen significant booms in the early months of the year, after those working on Wall Street receive their bonus checks.”
Meanwhile, just a few miles down the road, the spokesperson for Inspirica, a Stamford based non-profit that runs a homeless shelter for women and supportive housing program for families reported, “We are over capacity…We’re working at 116 to 120 percent capacity. Because it’s so cold, we’re not going to turn people away.”
This is Connecticut, where Democratic Governor Malloy’s 2011 record tax increase disproportionately hit the middle class while those making over $1 million saw no increase in their income tax rate – at all! Malloy’s claim was that if we didn’t coddle the wealthy, they might leave and move to New York state, New York City or New Jersey (where tax rates are even higher).
This is Connecticut, where Democratic Governor Malloy’s “economic development” strategy consists of giving successful, multi-million dollar businesses scarce public funds while failing to provide state agencies and towns with the money they need to even maintain existing services, let alone address the ongoing and growing impact of the Great Recession.
A case in point: with much fanfare Democratic Governor Malloy gave Bridgewater Associates a publicly funded corporate welfare deal worth over $110 million dollars so that they could move their headquarters from Westport to Stamford. In 2012, Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates’ CEO was paid $2.3 billion (that is billion with a B) making him the highest paid CEO in the world.
At the same time Democratic Governor Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly failed to provide sufficient funds or personnel to maintain the current level of services for most human service programs provided by the state of Connecticut, non-profit agencies or at the town level.
Put aside Malloy’s devastating initiatives that are undermining Connecticut public education system.
Forget that Malloy has left state government so understaffed that services aren’t being provided in a timely manner in many agencies.
Put aside the fact that Malloy instituted the deepest cuts in state history to Connecticut’s public colleges and universities, cuts that have forced tuition up and sifted even more of the burden of an undergraduate education onto the backs of Connecticut students and their families.
Forget that Malloy is proposing a mini election-year tax cut to try to persuade middle-income families to vote for him this November, despite the fact that Connecticut is facing a combined $3.2 billion budget deficit in the three years following the election.
When the truth is revealed, the fact is that Democratic Governor Malloy has helped push Connecticut so far off the right track that we can’t even see the path back to fairness, equity and economic stability.