Malloy brags about his support for $10.10 minimum wage, but takes campaign money from Wal-Mart

If you’ve been getting Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s recent campaign emails you know that the incumbent Governor is using his recent support for a higher minimum wage to raise money for his re-election campaign.

What doesn’t show up in those emails is the fact that the Malloy campaign operation accepted a $5,000 check, last October, from WAL-MART STORES INC. PAC FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT.

The check was deposited into one of the Democratic State Central Committee’s checking account on October 9, 2013.  This is the account Malloy and his campaign are using to side-step Connecticut law that restricts candidates from accepting political action committee money if they are participating in Connecticut’s public financing system.

Taking $5,000 in blood money from the Wal-Mart PAC is in stark contrast to Malloy’s orchestrated “campaign photo op.” a few weeks ago.  As CT Mirror reported on March 26, 2014,

With partisan votes on a pocketbook issue that the White House and Connecticut Democrats hope will mobilize voters this fall, the General Assembly voted Wednesday for legislation that would raise the state’s $8.70 minimum wage to $10.10 by January 2017.

The bill, which was approved 21-14 in the Senate and 87-54 in the House, became an instant political talking point for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and President Obama. Malloy is to sign the bill Thursday evening at Cafe Beauregard, the New Britain restaurant where Obama dined before a minimum-wage rally three weeks ago.

[…]

“I am proud that Connecticut is once again a leader on an issue of national importance. Increasing the minimum wage is not just good for workers, it’s also good for business,” said Malloy, a first-term Democrat facing re-election.

And in an email the Malloy campaign sent out yesterday, Malloy writes,

“Together, we have created new private sector jobs and we became the first state in the nation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. The progress we’ve made for the people of Connecticut has been great, but there is more to do. We cannot afford to turn back now!

To win, we need to hit certain fundraising benchmarks and the next one is to raise $20,000 by midnight on Monday.  Your gift goes directly toward helping us qualify for public financing. Chip in $5 or more right now >>

There is still so much more work to do if we’re going to secure Connecticut’s future.

I am counting on you to help me qualify for public financing. Then the fundraising emails stop and we move on to the next phase of our campaign: grassroots organizing.

In other words, all is well… donations from Connecticut voters who support the minimum wage in one pocket, a check for $5,000 from Wal-Mart in the other.

The Election Year epiphany syndrome

Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States….

President Obama will fly to Connecticut today as part of his campaign to promote a $10.10 minimum wage.  Glued to his side will be Governor Dannel Malloy, whom the President will call a champion in the effort to promote a fairer minimum wage.

This is the same Governor Malloy who failed to support a modest increase in the minimum wage just two years ago.

In January 2012, key Democratic members of the Connecticut Legislature, with strong support from Connecticut’s unions, 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.

Governor Malloy was quick to throw cold water on the plan 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.”

Malloy’s pronouncement that he would “reach a  conclusion subsequently” was a death sentence for the legislation and without the Governor’s support the business community, with the help of the Republicans and some Democrats, easily killed the proposal.

A year later, in February 2013, Legislators tried again to push legislation increasing the minimum wage and again Governor Malloy failed to step forward to support the proposal.  However this time, late in the legislative session when it was clear that Democrats would pass the bill away, Malloy did a 180 and announced that he would support a “compromise” on a minimum wage increase.

With the 2014 election year in sight, Malloy’s transformation on the issue was nearly complete.

On the last day of December 2013,  Malloy held a State Capitol press conference to brag about the extraordinarily positive impact Connecticut’s new minimum wage law would  have when it takes effect at midnight that night.

Malloy said,

“As the clock strikes 12 in this state, many people … will actually lift themselves out of poverty,” Malloy said during a press event and rally.

Malloy was referring to the mandated .45 cent an hour increase in the State’s minimum wage that will be taking effect.

However, as some may know, the federal poverty level for a family of three in Connecticut is about $18,400.  For the 70,000 to 90,000 Connecticut residents living on minimum wage, a full-time job only brings in $17,160 per year.

Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman joined Malloy in “celebrating” the raise in the minimum wage.  It would, according to Wyman, mean Connecticut’s minimum wage workers would make an extra $18 hours a week as long as they don’t miss a single hour of work.

That increase translates into an extra $936 a year — leaving most minimum wage families still living below the poverty line.

But many politicians believe that electoral success can be achieved through rhetoric and hyperbole…

And the President of the United States is coming to Connecticut to try to bolster Malloy’s political re-election dreams.

You can read more about Malloy’s transformation on the minimum wage in these two Wait, What? blog posts,

It’s an election year and Governor Malloy is now for raising the minimum wage

Governor Malloy: Blessed are the Poor

It’s an election year and Governor Malloy is now for raising the 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.

Governor Malloy: Blessed are the Poor

At yesterday’s press conference at the State Capital, Governor Malloy bragged about the extraordinarily positive impact Connecticut’s new minimum wage law will have when it takes effect at midnight tonight. 

“As the clock strikes 12 in this state, many people … will actually lift themselves out of poverty,” Malloy said during a press event and rally.

Malloy was referring to the mandated .45 cent an hour increase in the State’s minimum wage that will be taking effect.

The federal poverty level for a family of three in Connecticut is about $18,400.  For the 70,000 to 90,000 Connecticut residents living on minimum wage, a full-time job brings in $17,160 per year.

Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman joined Malloy in “celebrating” the raise in the minimum wage.  It will, according to Wyman, mean Connecticut’s minimum wage workers will make an extra $18 hours a week as long as they don’t miss a single hour of work.

That increase translates into an extra $936 a year — leaving most minimum wage families still living below the poverty line; this despite the fact that Connecticut remains the wealthiest state in the nation.

The notion that the “generosity” of the increased minimum wage allow many people to “lift themselves out of poverty” is beyond absurd.

However, yesterday’s performance was particularly insulting considering the “wage inflation” that has occurred among some of Malloy’s key allies and appointees.

One example of the double-standard can be found just down to street from the Capital at the Connecticut Board of Regents, the entity Malloy created when he pushed through the ill-conceived merger of the Connecticut State University and the Connecticut Community College System.

While Connecticut’s minimum wage earners wallow in their additional $18 more a week, Elsa Nunez, the Board of Regents’ Vice President of State Universities and President of Eastern Connecticut State University has seen her pay increase by $1,125 per week since Malloy become governor.

Nunez is one of the Board of Regent administrators who received the inappropriate and illegal bonuses that led to demise of the new agency’s president and executive vice president in 2012.  Although Nunez’ bonus was among those rescinded, it was later reinstated.

Despite Malloy’s record budget cuts to Connecticut’s public colleges and universities and the resulting massive tuition increases that have taken place, Nunez and other senior executives at the Board of Regents (and the University of Connecticut) have seen their salary and benefits grow and grow and grow.

Nunez, a Malloy ally in his corporate education reform initiative, is now making more than $377,000 this year, an increase of nearly 20% since Malloy took office.

And that salary doesn’t even include the massive compensation package that includes retirement funds, the use of a historic home in Ashford, Connecticut and a wide variety of other benefits.

With that as the background, it is hard to know what is more insulting.  Celebrating an $18 dollar a week increase in the minimum wage or claiming that, “As the clock strikes 12 in this state, many people … will actually lift themselves out of poverty.”