State Deficit?  What State Deficit?”

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In a recent interview with the CT Mirror, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy said,

“We really don’t have a deficit.”

However, if the truth be told, according to the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis, the State of Connecticut continues to face a monumental fiscal crisis.  In fact, here are the projections from the experts for the fiscal years following this November’s election;

Fiscal Year 2016:  A $1.4 billion Connecticut state budget deficit

Fiscal Year 2017:  A $1.6 billion Connecticut state budget deficit

Fiscal Year 2018:  A $1.8 billion Connecticut state budget deficit

Malloy says the Office of Fiscal Analysis is wrong, although he uses their numbers when he complains that he inherited a $3.7 billion state budget deficit from former Governor Rell.

The most recent campaign pitch from Malloy is that he wants to be judged on his record.

And the fact is his record is extremely clear.

As a result of Malloy’s unfair tax package that coddled the rich and disproportionately hit the middle class, along with his constant use of budget gimmicks, the candidate who wins this year’s gubernatorial election will have to deal with a situation in which Connecticut will be at least $4.8 billion short of what would be needed to balance the state budget over the next three years.

Meanwhile, the cornerstone of Malloy’s campaign is his claim that he won’t propose or accept any tax increases during the next four years, he won’t need to renege on his deal with the state employee unions nor will he have to ask for further concessions from state employees and he won’t cut vital services here in Connecticut.

Is Malloy intentionally misleading voters?

Is he straight out lying?

According to that same CT Mirror article, Malloy says he will be able to achieve the un-achievable because, as he puts it, “he’s confident that both the nation’s and Connecticut’s economy are on the cusp of a major surge. 

As Connecticut heads into the last three months of the 2014 gubernatorial election, Governor Malloy may want to remember the famous phrase attributed to President Abraham Lincoln who said, 

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

 If there is one thing that the 2014 campaign for governor should be about – it is tell the people of Connecticut the truth.

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

Malloy’s PR operation for the Free Park Admission Weekend

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File this one under – “How The Connecticut Budget Process Really Works.

A couple of weeks ago, with Election Day in sight, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy kicked off a public relations campaign to promote the state’s Free Park Admission Weekend.

Malloy told the media,

“To encourage everyone to visit a state park this Centennial year, we are waiving fees at our parks this Saturday and Sunday…We will not charge the usual parking fees, and we will not collect admission fees at state park museums.”

While the free weekend program saved Connecticut residents $120,000 in parking and admission fees, what went unnoticed was how the Malloy administration paid for the associated free weekend marketing program.

It turns out that Section 14 of this year’s State Budget bill quietly moved $40,000 from Connecticut’s Emergency Spill Response program to pay for the “marketing costs for free park admission weekend.”

Connecticut’s Emergency Spill Response Program includes the Emergency Response Unit which, “responds 24 hours per day to emergencies that result from accidental and deliberate discharges and uncontrolled releases of chemicals, hazardous wastes, petroleum products and other hazardous materials.”

Considering the budget bill passed the Connecticut State Senate on May 3, 2014 at 12:04 a.m. we’re left to wonder whether legislators even knew that this transfer of funds was part of the budget or simply didn’t care?

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

Amistad – The quintessential example of failed leadership

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[…]

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

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

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

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

Connecticut deserves better.

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

 

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

All is well in the Land of Oz

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The scene in which Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy says, “CT budget and economy both poised to take off” In the last of a series of articles written by the CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf on how the candidates for governor would deal with Connecticut’s $1.4 billion projected state budget for the year following the November election, Governor Malloy has said,

“We really don’t have a deficit…I know that’s hard to believe.”

Malloy tells the CT Mirror;

  • Connecticut doesn’t have a deficit
  • There will be no cuts to key services
  • There is no need to discuss concessions with state employees
  • He will not propose or accept any tax increase during his four years as governor – even to shift the tax burden by making the wealthy pay their fair share so Connecticut can reduce the disproportionate pressure on the middle class.

And how is Malloy going to achieve this incredible feat of having more services, no additional taxes and no deficits? As the CT Mirror explains,

“The governor said he’s confident that both the nation’s and Connecticut’s economy are on the cusp of a major surge.”

But wait, there is more! Not only do we get all that, but after talking with Malloy, the CT Mirror adds that Malloy says we’ll get even more if we just re-elect him.

“Swelling tax receipts not only will close whatever part of the deficit he can’t close with efficiencies, he says, but will also create opportunities for future tax cuts.”

In response to Malloy’s beyond belief explanation of the crisis facing Connecticut and its state government, the CT Mirror quotes me saying,

“What a sad commentary,” said petitioning candidate Jonathan Pelto, a Mansfield Democrat and former state representative. “He’s not functioning in the same economic world that the rest of us live in.”

The truth is that Connecticut faces a $5 billion revenue shortage over the next five years and Malloy’s reliance on inappropriate borrowing has further undermined the fiscal health of our state. While Malloy claims the problems will all disappear, the CT Mirror correctly notes that,

Pelto is at the other end of the spectrum, insisting that a major tax hike on the wealthy is needed to safeguard public services, public employees’ pensions, and municipal aid.

If you are going to read one article about Governor Malloy’s approach to the problems facing the state, this is the one to read. You can find the whole article at: http://ctmirror.org/malloy-ct-budget-and-economy-both-poised-to-take-off/

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

Malloy’s $3 million state funded PR operation

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Every day Connecticut taxpayers ask, where do our tax dollars go?

Today, thanks to investigative reporter Jon Lender, we got a little glimpse into Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s taxpayer funded PR operation.

As taxpayers, we pay about $3 million a year for Malloy’s staff in the Governor’s Office.

And forget, for a moment, that Connecticut taxpayers will be giving Malloy and Foley $6.2 million each in public finds, via the state’s public financing system, to run television ads misleading voters about their records while attacking each other.

Today, the Hartford Courant provided Connecticut residents with a peek into Governor Malloy’s taxpayer funded public relations operation known as the Governor’s Office.

In an article entitled, How Malloy’s Aides Edited, Shaped Their Messages On Charter Schools Debacle, Lender revealed how Malloy’s PR team went into overdrive to try and duck the problems associated with the recent Jumoke/FUSE charter school scandal.

Rather than accept responsibility for diverting tens of millions in public funds to a private charter school company run by a convicted felon who served about 5 years in prison for embezzlement and tax evasion, not to mention he called himself a Dr. Michael Sharpe, when he didn’t even finish his academic training, the Malloy PR team spent hours trying to come up with statements that would make it look like they didn’t know they were funneling money to a crook.

As Jon Lender’s story explains,

Pull back the curtain as top aides in the Malloy administration shape the messages that get fed to the taxpaying public, and you see how much calculation, editing and rewriting happens before a statement is finally issued — and how high up the ladder they go for approval.

There’s no better time to do this than during a political crisis, such as the recent one that hit the Hartford-based charter school management group FUSE and the Jumoke Academy it runs. Malloy administration lieutenants scrambled to keep pace with news disclosures about problems that led to the resignation of FUSE’s CEO, Michael Sharpe.

When Sharpe quit on Saturday, June 21, after five days of damaging Courant stories, one of the state Department of Education’s press aides, James Polites, already had drafted in advance two statements to give to reporters

If you want, you can read the ugly details in the Hartford Courant by going to: http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-lender-crisis-communications-0706-20140705,0,6730548,full.column.

But the real story is that every year Connecticut taxpayers are paying about $3 million so that Malloy can have a team working to make it appear that he is responsible for all that is good in Connecticut and has no knowledge or responsibility for the problems that plague his administration.

So next time someone asks…Where is our tax dollars going?

You might want to have them read: http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-lender-crisis-communications-0706-20140705,0,6730548,full.column

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

Why doesn’t Connecticut have a Fair and Progressive Income Tax?

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In Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s world of “Shared Sacrifice,” middle-income families have taken a disproportionate hit.

On the state level, Malloy’s tax plan resulted in higher state income tax rates, a reduced property tax credit, more sales taxes and the largest gas tax increase in state history.  All of these taxes had a heavy impact on Connecticut’s middle class.

At the same time, rising local property tax rates also hit middle-income families especially hard.

But Connecticut’s wealthiest citizens have been given a pass.

Governor Malloy’s record-breaking 2011 tax increase failed to include any meaningful increase in the state income tax for those making more than $1 million a year.

When presenting his budget address to the Connecticut General Assembly in 2011, Governor Dannel Malloy explained,

“While I do believe in a progressive income tax, I do not believe that we should punish success, or wealth.”

Asking people to pay their fair share is not “punishing success or wealth.”

In the same year that Governor Malloy stood up and told the Connecticut Legislature that he wouldn’t raise the income tax on the wealthy because he didn’t want to “punish success,” Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney used the very same words to explain why he opposed any new taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

Malloy and Romney were both wrong.

Asking Americans to pay their fair share is what a representative democracy is supposed to do.  One need only look back one hundred and fourteen years ago when Teddy Roosevelt made that clear in his famous “New Nationalism Speech” of August 1910.

While the Malloy administration claims this year’s state budget is balanced the truth is that Connecticut is facing a $1.3 billion projected deficit in the state fiscal year that begins July 2015.

While Malloy and the Republicans shove each other about whose “no tax pledge” is stronger, the reality is that a billion dollar deficit will prevent the State of Connecticut from fulfilling its responsibilities to our public schools, the level of municipal aid, the availability of vital state services and our obligations to make payments for state debt, as well as pension and healthcare payments.

As a CT Mirror story today makes clear, the financial crisis on the horizon is directly attributable to Governor Malloy’s failure to demand that Connecticut’s wealthy pay their fair share.

As the CT Mirror notes,

Former state Rep. Jonathan Pelto, a Mansfield Democrat and one of the governor’s most vocal critics, said the huge deficit Malloy has left behind still threatens the future of town aid and public-sector pensions.

Pelto, who last week launched an independent bid for governor, said had Malloy not rejected calls for a more progressive income tax, Connecticut could have municipal aid and pension fixes and a balanced budget.

“Gov. Malloy’s decision to coddle the rich by raising the tax rate on the middle class but refusing to raise the rate for the wealthy is the primary reason the state is facing this deficit,” he said.

Malloy did raise the top marginal rate on the state income tax from 6.5 to 6.7 percent, and also approved a provision ensuring the wealthiest households pay the top rate on most of their income.

But he rejected a bid from Better Choices, a coalition of public-sector unions and social service advocacy groups, who pushed for a top rate of more than 10 percent.

For those who want to understand the real story surrounding Connecticut budget problems, the latest CT Mirror story and an absolute MUST READ.

You can find it at: http://ctmirror.org/should-malloy-have-shielded-education-pensions-from-historic-ct-budget-deficit/?hvid=4e7AU

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

Connecticut – Otherwise known as “Budget Gimmicks R US”

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Some call it “Dishonest Budgeting.”

Others call it “Cooking the Books”

And still others say… “Well, it’s just the way thing are done here in Connecticut.”

Whatever you call it, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy and his predecessors have used one budget gimmick after another to ensure that it is virtually impossible to determine where public funds are coming from and where they are going.

Cooking the books is not only bad public policy, but it endangers our democracy and our economy.  When voters lose faith in their government, a democratic system of government starts to crumble.

And when the People lose faith in how tax funds are collected and expended, it can’t help but reduce taxpayers’ willingness to contribute to the cost of maintaining our government.

In Connecticut, the lack of honesty and transparency in our state budget works promotes the notion that our government and our elected officials either don’t know what they are doing or don’t care about the citizens that they are sworn to represent.

A recent CT Mirror story entitled Tobacco funds: Connecticut’s budget-balancing escape hatch makes it painfully clearly how Connecticut has become the home of dishonest budgeting.

While Governor Malloy is certainly not the first Connecticut governor to use budget gimmicks to make the state budget appear balanced, he certainly excels when it comes to playing games with the state budget.

As the CT Mirror article begins,

The wish list was costly: Legislators wanted to fund new preschool slots, restore money for mental health clinics and put more funds into emergency medical service coordinators.

But as it came time to finalize the state budget this spring, money was getting tight. And so, lawmakers found the funds for preschool and the other programs by turning to a familiar escape hatch: the settlement money from tobacco companies.

Connecticut has received nearly $2 billion over the past 15 years as part of a legal settlement meant to compensate states for the toll of tobacco.

But, to the consternation of anti-tobacco advocates, the state has spent only a tiny fraction of it to curb smoking, the cause of an estimated 4,700 deaths here each year.

Instead, lawmakers have repeatedly used the money as a crutch to help balance the budget. Even the money designated for a special fund for anti-tobacco efforts and other health programs has repeatedly been raided by lawmakers to cover other expenses.

The CT Mirror goes on to explains,

“Connecticut gets lots of money from smoking.  A $3.40-per-pack levy on cigarettes and small taxes on snuff and other tobacco products are expected to bring in about $375 million this fiscal year.

That money goes into the general fund, which pays for the vast majority of the state’s operating costs — including health care and social service programs that incur expenses because of smoking.

A second pool of money stems from a lawsuit Connecticut and 45 other states settled in 1998 with the nation’s four largest tobacco manufacturers. Besides agreeing to curtail certain marketing practices, the industry agreed to pay — in perpetuity — to offset the cost of treating people with smoking-related illnesses.

While the settlement didn’t require the money be used on anti-smoking efforts, Connecticut legislators created the Tobacco and Health Trust and entitled it to all settlement funds not designated for some other purpose. But since 2000, only about 10 percent of the nearly $2 billion Connecticut received from the settlement has gone to the trust — just under $200 million.

And even money that’s gone into the trust fund hasn’t always been available for anti-smoking efforts. Six times in the past decade, lawmakers took the trust fund’s money to help balance the budget — a total of more than $113 million.

Officials have also assigned the trust fund to pay for other programs, some of which have little relationship to tobacco, like $13 million for then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s Charter Oak Health Plan or $3.5 million over several years for a health information sharing network at the UConn Health Center.

And Governor Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly have continued to raid the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund for programs that are not remotely related to public health.

For example, as the CT Mirror points out, the General Assembly took money from the Tobacco and Health Trust fund to pay for the following expenditures in the budget that takes effect on July 1, 2014.

  • $10 million a year to expand pre-school programs between 2016 and 2025
  • $10 million for mental health and substance abuse grants
  • $1 million for after-school programs
  • $500,000 for a bioscience industry grant
  • $25,000 to enhance coordination of emergency medical services

Over the last fourteen year, almost $200 million has been paid into Connecticut’s Tobacco and Health Trust Fund.  Of that amount, less than $25 million or about 12.5 percent was actually used for anti-smoking programs.

And the Tobacco and Health Trust fund is one of dozens of special funds that Governor Malloy and previous governors have raided to make it appear that they are managing Connecticut’s state budget correctly.

Despite the reality that both Democratic and Republican governors have utterly failed to provide Connecticut with honest and transparent state budgets, there is no reason that budget gimmicks must be part of the budget process.

Connecticut voters deserve far better.

The CT Mirror story is a must read article for those who want a better understanding of how Connecticut’s budget is made to appear balanced.  You can find the story at: http://ctmirror.org/tobacco-funds-connecticuts-budget-balancing-escape-hatch/?hvid=5y7gJw

 

Look there goes a flying pig!

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The truth is that Connecticut is facing a projected state budget deficit of at least $1.3 billion dollars for the fiscal year that begins after this year’s gubernatorial election.

But today Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy boldly announced… “We don’t face a deficit.”

In a late afternoon CT Newsjunkie story entitled, Malloy Dismisses Deficit Projections, Won’t Ask for More Concessions, the Governor not only explained that the deficit was going to disappear but he took the opportunity to repeat his iron-clad pledge that he will not propose or accept any new taxes in a second term.

As Malloy explained, “There will not be a tax increase.”

And to top things off, Malloy said that he was ruling out asking state workers for more concessions should he be re-elected as Connecticut’s Chief Executive Officer.

While the Governor’s hyperbole is impressive, there is not a state employee, retirees, public school teacher or retired teacher, let alone a public official or taxpayer who believes that Malloy’s portrayal of reality is accurate.

Hearing about Malloy’s remarks, one can’t help but dwell on that classic idiom about pigs flying or the one about Hell freezing over.

Or for that matter that one we used as kids that always got a good laugh and referred to the possibility of monkeys flying out our butts.

For the latest on Malloy’s economic theories check out the CT Newsjunkie story at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/malloy_dismisses_deficit_projections_wont_ask_for_more_concessions/ and the Hartford Courant story at: http://courantblogs.com/capitol-watch/malloy-promises-no-new-deficit-rejects-new-state-worker-givebacks/

Malloy must take responsibility for many of the these hospital layoffs

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When Governor Malloy proposed his bait and switch “provider tax” strategy he promised hospitals that they would be “held harmless.”  The goal he said was simply to maximize federal reimbursement rates.

But two years later, the impact of Malloy’s decision to renege on that promise is leading to massive layoffs and undermining many of Connecticut’s hospitals.

The news headlines have been shocking;

“The state’s 30 acute care hospitals have shed 1,400 jobs in the past year”

“Hartford HealthCare is eliminating 350 jobs”

“Nearly 70 positions at The William W. Backus and Windham hospitals will be eliminated”

“List shows 176 Connecticut layoff notices so far (Norwalk Hour)”

“116 positions will be eliminated as a result of state budget cuts (Danbury News-Times)”

St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center is reducing the staff at its pediatric and adolescent clinic

“The layoffs announced Monday are the second round in the last seven months.  In November, Hartford HealthCare laid off 179 employees, including 10 each at Backus and Windham.”

So why are people being thrown out of their jobs when access to quality healthcare is more important than ever?

Malloy’s “provider tax” budget gimmick is a major factor.

When Malloy proposed his $1.5 billion tax increase in 2011, the plan also included an additional $350 million “provider tax” on hospitals.  Malloy claimed it wasn’t really a tax because the hospitals would get all the money back and the federal government would reimburse the state for a portion of that money.

Of course, to the self-pay patient, it was a tax.

And to the health insurance company it was yet another cost to be passed on to the people who pay for health insurance.

But the General Assembly approved Malloy’s plan anyway.

As part of his state budget coverage, CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf wrote last year,

“And then there’s really bad news: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy would cut their state funding by one-fifth over the next two years.

Put it all together, hospitals say, and at best, they will cut jobs and services. At worst, some will shut their doors. And facilities in the state’s poor northeastern corner say they are particularly at risk.”

The fact is that while the Malloy administration did pay the hospitals back the first year, his budget REDUCED the amount Connecticut hospitals received by about $27 million in the second year, $134 million the third year and $269 million in this year’s budget.

Overall, as a result of Governor Malloy’s budget strategies, while hospitals are being paid for additional Medicaid services, the State of Connecticut has reduced funding for its 32 chronic care hospitals by about $400 million dollars in the last two years alone.

The massive number of layoffs are proof that the “chickens are coming home to roost.”

And, none of this is a surprise to Malloy and the legislature.

As the Vice President of the Connecticut Hospital Association said,

“In short, what started 18 months ago as a scheme to help balance the state budget … has been converted to an unadulterated tax on hospitals…It’s one thing not to help hospitals, it’s something completely different when you harm hospitals.  “Taking patient care revenue to balance the state budget is just plain wrong.”

The state cuts to hospitals garnered some notoriety last spring when Malloy lost his temper on the WNPR radio show, “Where We Live,”

The CT Mirror reported at the time,

When Malloy appeared on May 6 on WNPR’s public affairs show “Where We Live,” he responded quickly when host John Dankosky asked about the hospital funding reductions the governor’s own budget staff wrote about in his budget.

“Let me stop you right there,” Malloy told Dankosky about four minutes into the program. “There aren’t cuts to hospitals.”

The administration insists that while the hospitals lose $400 million in tax reimbursements, they will make it back. But to do so, hospitals will have to treat thousands more poor patients covered through Medicaid.

“It is time for people to trim their sails, to find ways to deliver great service at less expense,” the governor said, adding that all hospital-related state spending should be $1.7 billion next fiscal year, just as it is this year. “We’re not cutting, we’re funding.”

What Malloy forgot was the evidence of the cuts was part of his own budget documents.

Again quoting the CT Mirror,

When the administration unveiled its latest budget plan in February, it initially referred to those changes in hospital reimbursements as spending cuts.

“The decision to reduce hospital funding was not an easy one,” the governor’s budget introduction states.

While the overall policy is rather complex, the impact has been pretty simple.  The way Malloy has handled the state budget is a primary factor behind the hospital layoffs that are taking place across the state.

The families that are being devastated by these hospital layoffs and the communities being impacted by reduced levels of services should tell Governor Malloy that at the very least, he must take responsibility for the actions he took that are now leading to many healthcare workers losing their jobs.

You can read the CT Mirror’s coverage of this issue here:  http://ctmirror.org/hospitals-warn-budget-cuts-will-cut-jobs-and-services-maybe-close-doors/ and here http://ctmirror.org/semantics-malloys-no-tax-pledge/

Important Wait, What? weekend stories you might have missed

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Define fiscal irresponsibility….

While most Connecticut residents feel a growing unease about the Malloy administration’s irresponsible and underhanded approach to state budgeting, I’m often asked to give specific examples of how Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy has handled the Connecticut budget during his term in office.

Long-time readers may remember this one, but here is a prime example for readers who are newer to Wait, What?

In January 2010 there was a tragic school bus accident on Route 84 in Hartford that killed a young Rocky Hill student who was attending one of the CREC magnet schools.

As politicians are wont to do, state legislators kicked into action, and on May 1, 2010 the Connecticut General Assembly passed Public Act 10-83.  The new law created a special protected trust account called the Connecticut School Bus Seat Belt Account and required the Department of Motor Vehicles to administer a program to use the funds to help Connecticut 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 and directed that $50 of each license restoration payment be deposited into the Connecticut School Bus Seat Belt Account.  The Office of Fiscal Analysis estimated the higher fee would raise about $2.1 million a year.

Now fast forward two and a half years…

Governor Malloy had been in office for two years and none of the $4.7 million collected for school seat belts had been spent.

And then, rather than using the money for its intended purpose…

We witnessed the following;

As part of the December 2012 “deficit mitigation bill” Governor Malloy and the legislature included language that overrode the existing law and quietly transferred $4,700,000 from the School Bus Seat Belt Account into the General Fund to help eliminate the projected FY 2013 $415 million deficit.

Gone was the money for school seat belts.

For more go to:  http://jonathanpelto.com/2014/05/31/define-fiscal-irresponsibility/

 

Does it really only cost $30,000 to get Governor Malloy to veto a good bill?

Over the past few months Governor Malloy and his political operatives have raised more than $30,000 from major insurance companies and their corporate executives.  The funds were deposited into the special Democratic State Central Committee account that will be used to augment the $6.2 million that Malloy will be getting from the State’s public financing system.

Then late last week Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy stunned healthcare advocates when he vetoed an important bill that would have required insurance companies to provide data about how much substance abuse coverage and related mental health care they were actually providing Connecticut residents.

The legislation was a product of a major study conducted the Connecticut General Assembly’s bi-partisan Program Review and Investigation Committee, a committee I chaired in 1993 during the last year I served in the Connecticut House of Representatives.

The Program Review and Investigation is the only committee charged with fully investigating major public policy issues and developing comprehensive solutions.

In this case, the committee produced a comprehensive report entitled, “Access to Substance Use Treatment for Privately and Publicly Insured Youth.”  Phase I of the report, and its corresponding legislative initiatives, was adopted on December 18, 2012.  Phase II of the report was adopted on June 7, 2013.

This past legislative session, one of the legislative proposals arising out of the report, was introduced in the form of House Bill 5373, An Act Concerning the Reporting of Certain Data by Managed Care Organizations and Health Insurance Companies to the Insurance Department.

The bill was a common sense, first step toward ensuring insurance companies actually pay the bills they are supposed to be paying.

More at:  http://jonathanpelto.com/2014/06/01/really-cost-30000-get-governor-malloy-veto-good-bill/

 

And then this one…Will the Working Families Party stand up for working families in this year’s election

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