Governor Dan “Transparency” Malloy announces negative news late on Friday – again

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Dannel Malloy ran on a promise that he would make Connecticut State Government “open and transparent.”

But that claim has become a joke over the past four years.

Time and time again, Malloy and his administration have released information they deem negative on Friday afternoons or leading up to holidays.

In the night before the night before Christmas, the Malloy administration announced up to 12 percent pay raises for his top aides, and even then, failed to reveal that Malloy has signed an order guaranteeing his political appointees automatic raises in the future.

Now comes the news of a second round of budget cuts that begins to address the large state budget deficit that Malloy claimed did not exist until ten days after Election Day.

In this case, as the CT Mirror reports, “Connecticut’s public colleges and universities – a frequent target of governors’ emergency cuts in the past because of the large operating grants they receive in the state budget – sustained a $6.2 million cut on Friday. And that’s after losing $6.5 million during the first round of emergency cuts Malloy ordered in mid-November.”

CT Newsjunkie highlights the latest round of cuts noting, “Second Round Budget Cuts Hits Disabled Hardest.”

The largest cut of all, “was aimed at the Department of Developmental Services, which lost $8.4 million.  And more than half those funds came from employment and other support programs for people with disabilities, or from volunteer services.”

Yup, when in doubt go after the most vulnerable people in our society.

Oh, and why drop the news late Friday afternoon?

As CT Newsjunkie noted,

“In his statement, Barnes said the administration held off on releasing the list of cuts to reporters until Friday afternoon in order to meet with a Republican legislative leader during a public, mid-day lunch.

“We waited to release this until after meeting with the Republican leadership, in anticipation of their suggestions,” Barnes said.”

You can read more at:  http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/second_round_of_2015_budget_cuts_hits_disabled_hardest/  and http://ctmirror.org/2015/01/23/governors-budget-cuts-again-hit-social-services-universities-and-courts/

Just how deceitful can Malloy be on Connecticut’s budget deficit – here’s how!

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For those who want a snap-shot about how political power has corrupted Connecticut’s budget process – this is the post.  It is a lengthy article but it provides readers with an extremely important understanding of the level of deceit surrounding Connecticut’s fiscal health.

The CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf is the state’s leading reporter when it comes to the Connecticut State Budget.  His article in last night’s CT Mirror is entitled, “Malloy to order a 2nd round of emergency cuts as deficit swells.”  Christine Stuart, of the CT Newsjunkie, also covers the latest news in a piece entitled, “Second Round of 2015 Budget Cuts On The Way.”

As Keith Phaneuf explains;

“Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will order his second round of emergency spending cuts in two months as the current fiscal year’s budget deficit reached a new high Tuesday, approaching $121 million.

Eroding tax receipts and other revenues – first outlined in a report last week – added $39 million to a deficit that stood at $32 million on Jan. 1.

But the governor’s budget agency, the Office of Policy and Management, also disclosed Tuesday in its monthly budget report to the comptroller that “deficiencies” — likely cost overruns in various agencies — have grown by another $50 million. And most overspending, by far, involves Medicaid.”

So, immediately after the election, the Malloy administration announced that a state budget deficit of approximately $100 million had suddenly appeared.  In response to the news, Governor Malloy identified well in excess of $50 million in cuts to various programs.

Now, a month later, and despite those cuts, Connecticut’s budget deficit has jumped to over $120 million.

In order to fully understand the scheme that was instituted by Governor Malloy and his operation, you must carefully follow the bouncing ball…

Connecticut State Law (Section 4-85 of the Connecticut State Statutes) requires that if the State Budget Deficit exceeds one percent of the appropriated budget, the Governor MUST submit a deficit-mitigation plan to the Connecticut General Assembly.  Any proposed cuts in excess of what the Governor is allowed to implement on his own (that is cuts in excess of three per cent of the total appropriation from any fund or more than five per cent of any individual line-item appropriation) requires the approval of the General Assembly.

In order to ensure that there is some degree of honest oversight, it is the State Comptroller and NOT the Governor or the Office of Policy and Management who has the legal duty to determine if a shortfall exists and whether it is in excess of one percent of the general fund appropriation.

To facilitate the Comptroller’s responsibilities, on the 20th of each month, the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management (Ben Barnes) provides the State Comptroller (Kevin Lembo) with a letter summarizing all the issues related to state revenue and expenditures.  The OPM Secretary has the legal obligation to accurately report whether state revenues are up or down from the previous month and whether any state agency is over-spending its budget allotment.

The Comptroller has his own budget experts and both OPM and the Comptroller are also supposed to look at the information provided by the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis to guide their assessments.

Throughout the recent gubernatorial campaign, Governor Malloy constantly and consistently declared that there was no state deficit, nor would there be a state deficit this year (or next year).

Two weeks before Election Day, OPM Secretary Barnes issued his mandatory monthly letter (October 20, 2014) informing State Comptroller Lembo that revenues where on track and that no state agency was spending or would be spending more than their budget.

Although Lembo used his “Letter of the First” to warn about the problems that lay ahead, he certified on November 1, 2014 – five days before the Election – that there was no state budget deficit.

However, the notion that in a General Fund Budget of $17.5 billion, every single line-item was perfect and there would be no overspending in any area was beyond absurd.  Traditionally state budget overspending is in the range of $100-$200 million or more.

But with Election Day approaching, Malloy and his operatives stuck by their claim that there was absolutely no state deficit.

However, on October 31, 2014 Keith Phaneuf reported, “Nonpartisan analysts tracking $84M in potential cost overruns in state budget.”

Phaneuf wrote, “Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration isn’t projecting any troubles for the current state budget, but the legislature’s nonpartisan analysts have identified almost $84 million in potential problems. The Office of Fiscal Analysis reported “deficiencies” or potential cost-overruns in five areas. Nearly half of the deficiencies, about $40 million, are in the Department of Social Services. Another $27 million involve health care for state employees and retirees. Comptroller Kevin Lembo warned last May that a shortfall in this area was likely because of a projected surge in retirements among state prison guards.”

But with Election Day so close, and the election hanging in the balance, Malloy and his campaign utterly rejected the notion that the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis was correct and they were wrong.

But day’s after Malloy won re-election, the Malloy administration began to divulge the truth.

Eight days after Election Day, Phaneuf reported, “Malloy to order emergency cuts, restrict hires to counter impending deficit” writing,

“To reverse an impending state budget deficit, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration has told agencies it will order emergency spending cuts and freeze all-but-critical hiring…In a memo sent late Wednesday to all agency heads, the governor’s budget director, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes also reinforced existing caps on overtime work.”

Nine days after Election Day, Phaneuf reported, “It’s official: CT’s budget is $89 million to $100 million in the red,”adding,

“The state budget received its first official deficit reports Friday when nonpartisan legislative analysts and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration projected shortfalls ranging from $89 million to just under $100 million.

“And while the administration issued the larger of the two deficit forecasts — $99.5 million — budget director Benjamin Barnes, insisted it quickly would be closed, and reasserted Malloy’s insistence that tax hikes are not an option.

“This is consistent with what the administration has been saying,” Barnes said, “that no matter what the projections are, we will manage and administer the budget so that there will be no deficit. It is important to remember that this is a prediction of what would happen now and in the future should we do nothing — and doing nothing is not an option.”

The whole situation revealed the grim political gamesmanship in which Malloy and his advisers were engaged.

Before Election Day – On October 20, 2014 – the Malloy administration’s official letter to Comptroller Lembo said there was no state deficit.

After the election – On November 20, 2014 – the Malloy administration’s official letter to Comptroller Lembo admitted that there was a $100 million state deficit.

And the deceit continued…

On December 20, 2014 OPM Secretary Barnes bragged that the $70 million in cuts instituted by the Malloy administration meant that the State deficit was down below $40 million.  According to Keith Phaneuf’s report at the time, “Malloy’s budget chief, Benjamin Barnes, also warned in his last forecast on Dec. 20 that no major growth in state revenues was anticipated at this time. But Barnes also did not project any decline in the state tax revenues and, equally important, Barnes did not identify any additional areas of overspending.

And yet thirty days later – On January 20, 2014 – comes the “stunning” news that revenue has declined and “new” areas of overspending have suddenly been identified.

Now the Malloy’s administration suddenly admits the state deficit has jumped from less than $40 million to almost $121 million, despite the $70 million in cuts – because state revenue is actually down an additional $39 million and state agencies have spent $50  million more than authorized (mostly in the area of Medicaid).

Before the Election – no state deficit.

Within sixty days after the election – that overall problem has grown by nearly $200 million.

The fact is that every state agency has professional staff monitoring their budget on a daily basis.

The Office of Policy and Management has an entire office of professional staff monitoring the state budget.

It is beyond inconceivable that Governor Malloy and his team suddenly discovered the sudden decline in revenue and yet another significant and growing problem with overspending.

But instead of telling the truth, Governor Malloy, his administration and his campaign decided that their best strategy was to lie about the existence of the state deficit and the magnitude of that deficit.

Was their rationale due exclusively to the fact that they wanted to make it seem like Governor Malloy was a good fiscal administrator?

No, the real issue is more complex.

Recall that this blog post begins with the statement,

Connecticut State Law (Section 4-85 of the Connecticut State Statutes) requires that if the State Budget Deficit exceeds 1% of the appropriated budget, the Governor MUST submit a deficit-mitigation plan to the Connecticut General Assembly.  Any proposed cuts in excess of what the Governor is allowed to implement on his own (that is cuts in excess of three per cent of the total appropriation from any fund or more than five per cent of any individual line-item appropriation) requires the approval of the General Assembly.

The fundamental problem facing Governor Malloy and his political spin operation was more than simply the truth that a state deficit existed.

The problem was that if they had told the truth – the whole truth – it would have been clear that the size of the budget deficit was greater than $170 million and that put it in excess of the one percent trigger that would have, in turn, required Malloy to develop a public Deficit Mitigation Plan laying out where all the cuts would be taken to eliminate the entire deficit.

While Malloy was proclaiming that if he was re-elected, there would be no tax increases, no cuts in vital programs and no need to approach the state employee unions about concessions, the last thing Malloy and his political team could afford was not only revealing that there was a deficit, but actually detailing where the cuts would take place.

The key constituencies that Malloy needed to win are those that are most likely to be alienated by the type of cuts Malloy was going to implement to balance the budget.

Keeping the fact that there was a state deficit secret was important to Malloy’s campaign strategy, but even more importantly, the Malloy campaign needed to make sure that under no circumstance did anyone discover that the projected deficit actually exceeded one percent of the general fund.

Had that been known, Malloy would have to have laid out an entire plan – a plan that would have been seen as devastating to the very people Malloy needed to win, so it was necessary to stay silent in order to trick them into casting their vote for him.

For that very reason, even when the news of the deficit started to be released (safely after the election), Malloy had to ensure that that it was revealed slowly… in phases… so that it never exceeded that $170 million trigger.

First came the news of a $100 million deficit, which he claimed he “knocked” down with a round of cuts.

Now comes the news of a larger deficit…which he says will bring along a second round of cuts

But holding the news until after the election, and then manipulating when the truth was revealed, Malloy not only made it through Election Day, but has managed to avoid having to produce the required Deficit Mitigation Plan altogether.

Next month Malloy will be announcing his proposed budget for Fiscal Years 2016-2017, but right now he is doing the “happy dance,” knowing that he successfully manipulated the law, and thus was able to trick the people of Connecticut … BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER ELECTION DAY.

And that is why these past two months are a case study about how political power has corrupted Connecticut’s budget process.

OMG!  You mean Connecticut really does face a budget crisis?

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Keith Phaneuf’s lead article in yesterday’s CT Mirror reads, “Malloy doesn’t get predicted revenue boost, big deficits remain.”

The news…

“A new analysts’ report Thursday found tax receipts and other revenues still likely to grow as originally anticipated last summer – when major deficits were projected for the next two fiscal years.

That means the governor — who has called those earlier estimates “extremely conservative” – still must close shortfalls topping $1.3 billion next fiscal year and $1.4 billion in 2016-17. Malloy, whose budget plan is due to legislators on Feb. 18, repeatedly has ruled out tax hikes.”

A political campaign dedicated to lying to Connecticut’s voters is in the past, and with the release of the “Consensus Revenue estimates,” Malloy’s Budget Director, Ben Barnes, announced “The revenue estimates for the biennium will be the basis for the Governor’s budget proposal.”

So despite a year of constantly denying the very real looming deficit, the Malloy administration finally admits that the dire “predictions” produced by the Independent Office of Fiscal Analysis are true.

Throughout his re-election campaign, Malloy claimed that not only would tax receipts grow by about seven percent during the next two years, but as the CT Mirror recalls, “Connecticut could expect more, according to the governor. And the revenue from that extra growth would make the deficit relatively easy to manage, provided municipal aid was kept flat and agencies did not receive inflationary spending increases.”

Is the news a surprising development?  Hardly…

Here are just a handful of the budget related posts on Wait, What? over the past year;

10-24-14: Can we have a little honesty about Connecticut’s state budget problems?

No, because – That’s not how it works! That’s not how any of this works!  

Rather than honestly confront the projected $1.4 billion budget deficit in next year’s state budget and the shortfall of more than $4.8 billion over the next three years, the two major party candidates for governor have decided to simply lie their way to Election Day in the hopes that voters will not discover the magnitude of the fiscal problems Connecticut will face over the next few years.

10-1-14: Forgive them, for they know not what they do – Not!

Both Malloy and Foley say that, if elected, they will not raise taxes, not cut vital services not reduce the state workforce and will not need to negotiate contract changes with state employees.

The notion that such campaign promises could be met is not only laughable but it is a sad commentary on how far from the truth Connecticut’s gubernatorial candidates will stray in their ongoing efforts to get elected.

8-13-14: State Deficit?  What State Deficit?”

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.

[…]

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.

8-5-14 All is well in the Land of Oz

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

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.”

7-14-14:  Connecticut deserves a government that will tell its citizens the truth

As the CT Mirror explains in the series on where the candidates stand of the state budget, Pelto: State budget deficit reveals a broken fiscal system; 

“Former state Rep. Jonathan Pelto doesn’t have any trouble standing out from the rest of the 2014 gubernatorial candidates. For Pelto, a $1.4 billion shortfall – more than four years after the last recession ended – typifies a broken fiscal system that threatens Connecticut’s schools, state workers’ pensions, and middle class families.”

6-6-14:  Look there goes a flying pig!

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.

5-6-14:  Malloy’s “NO TAX” pledge will send Connecticut into the abyss

As a result of Governor Malloy’s gimmick ridden state budget, the candidate who wins the 2014 gubernatorial election will take office facing a projected state budget deficit of $1.3 billion or more.

By using one-time revenues for on-going expenses, purposefully under-funding various government programs and utilizing a series of budget gimmicks, the new 2014-2015 state budget is just about as irresponsible as they come.

The moment Malloy signs it into law he will be creating a budget deficit for this year and a catastrophe in the budget that will follow.

But as irresponsible as Malloy’s latest budget is, nothing compares to the damage that will come with his recent “NO TAX” pledge should he be elected to a second term.  Malloy sealed his fate when he recently told reporters that he would, “neither seek nor accept any further tax increases” in a second term.

Pandering to phantom voters, Malloy has engaged in a George Bush “read my lips” moment.

By making an “ironclad” NO TAX increase pledge, Malloy joins the Republican candidates in assuring that the people of Connecticut must live with a tax system that crushes the middle class while coddling the rich.

4-30-14:  Post-election state budget deficit projected to be an incredible $1.4 billion

As Wait, What? readers have been reading for months, the Malloy administration has been painting a rosy picture of Connecticut’s state budget situation thanks to the unparalleled use of budget gimmicks and inflated revenue estimates.

Readers have been repeatedly informed that Malloy’s irresponsible approach to budgeting would leave Connecticut with a $1 billion state budget deficit in each of the three years following the November election.

Based on the latest revenue projects, yesterday’s Wait, What? post increased that projected budget deficit to at least $1.2 billion and this afternoon, the Malloy administration, along with the General Assembly’s Office of Fiscal Analysis, announced that the person who is elected to be governor in November will face a budget deficit of close to “$1.4 billion or 7.4 percent of annual operating costs.”

And the list of articles warning about the fiscal realities facing the state goes on and on and on.

Whether you read Keith Phaneuf’s pieces in the CT Mirror or the news analysis and commentary pieces here at Wait, What?, the message has been the same….Governor Malloy and his administration have been lying to the votes of Connecticut.

And now, months after the campaign is over and just weeks before Malloy presents his 2015 state budget proposal, the governor’s budget office finally admits – Connecticut is facing a budget crisis well in excess of $1 billion.

Go Figure…

Re-post – Is it Malloy’s greatest “Wait, What?” Moment?

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Re-posting for Monday Readers;

As Governor Malloy and his administration prepare to roll-out his new “Transportation Initiative,” the Governor’s press office issued a press release Friday (January 9, 2015) to proclaim that the Governor will soon be proposing legislation to amend the Connecticut State Constitution in order to, “ensure revenues earmarked for transportation cannot be diverted for other purposes.”

Although the process to change Connecticut’s State Constitution takes two years or more, Malloy said, in his prepared statement, “We must make sure every penny we raise for transportation goes toward our vision to transform Connecticut – now and in the future,”

This incredible “Wait, What?” statement comes from the same individual who has consistently worked to balance Connecticut’s State Budget by raiding various funds and transferring money from dedicated accounts to the State’s General Fund.

But Governor Malloy now says that he is committed to ensuring that the money collected for a particular purpose will actually be spent on that purpose…

For starters, one might ask, on behalf of Connecticut’s state employees, why Governor Malloy still hasn’t created the “Health Care Trust-Fund Lock Box” that he promised to do as part of the 2011 SEBAC state employee concession agreement.

The SEBAC concession agreement provided that all state employees give up 3% of their pay to help fund future state employee retirement health care premiums.  At this point, the program is generating about $120 million dollars a year, but the money isn’t even being put aside in a special “Lock Box” fund and invested for long term growth, as Malloy promised.

The State employees have fulfilled their end of the bargain, and although the State doesn’t start matching those contributions until 2017, the SEBAC agreement required that the funds collected are to be deposited into a special “Trust Fund.”

Yet to date, the Malloy administration hasn’t even taken that necessary step….

And now Malloy is proposing a Constitutional Amendment to protect future transportation revenue?

The political maneuver is nothing short of laughable.

What follows is just A PARTIAL LIST of the budget transfers Malloy and his administration has used over the past four years to make the state budget appear balanced;

  • Transferred $2.2 million from the Boating Fund to the General Fund, eliminated the boating account and required all future revenue from watercraft registration and numbering fees to be deposited in the General Fund.
  • Transferred $600,000 from the Transportation Strategy Board in the Department of Transportation to the General Fund.
  • Transferred $7.5 million from the Regional Performance Incentive Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $1.2 million from the Banking Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $450,000 from Workers Compensation Administration Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2.3 million from Consumer Counsel and Public Utility Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $500,000 from Insurance Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $4. 7 million from the School Bus Safety Belt Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred all revenue from fines, civil penalties, or restitution for violating banking law from the Banking Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred multiple PROBATE COURT ADMINISTRATION FUND “surpluses” to various non-probate programs and the remaining to the General Fund
  • Transferred $3. 6 million from the Public, Education, Government Programming and Education Technology Investment Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2 million from the Biomedical Research Trust Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2 million from the Community Investment Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2 million from various accounts within the Office of Policy and Management to the Litigation/Settlement account
  • Eliminated the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account Malloy created in his 2011 tax package to aid cities and towns, “saving” the General Fund nearly $100 million a year
  • Transferred $35 million from the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) to the General Fund
  • Transferred and additional 6.9 million from the Public Education and Governmental Programming Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred an additional $11 million from the Banking Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $5 million from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to the General Fund
  • Transferred $30.4 million from the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) to the General Fund
  • Transferred $10 million from the Municipal Video Competitiveness Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $10 million annually (for 10 years) from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the “smart start” preschool program so the $100 million would not need to come out of the General Fund
  • Transferred $10 million from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) to the General Fund
  • Eliminated $20 million statutory transfer from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the Stem Cell Research Fund, thereby keeping the money available for the General Fund
  • Transferred and additional $1 million from the Probate Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred an additional $4 million from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $15 million from the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation to pay for one-time expenses of the Connecticut State Universities and Community Colleges

And that doesn’t even cover some of the other “fund transfers” that Malloy made.

And when it comes to actually supporting transportation, Malloy’s first term in office was marked by failing grades.

At a campaign stop last fall, Malloy told a special forum on transportation,

“This stuff is a passion to me,” and he added, “This administration is committed to build out the infrastructure of this state.”

But as a special CT Mirror investigative series in September 2014 pointed out, Malloy’s record on transportation is anything but impressive.

[For the details read Keith Phaneuf’s pieces in the CT Mirror – BUDGET CHOICES, FISCAL MANEUVERS UNDERMINE TRANSPORTATION FUNDING  IMPROVING TRANSPORTATION IN CONNECTICUT: A DECADE OF SLOW GOING, A ROUGH ROAD AHEAD FOR TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTS.]

While Malloy said he had made transportation a priority and would do even more in a second term, the CT Mirror revealed;

  • Nearly $3.5 billion in financing for transportation projects has been approved — but the funds actually haven’t been borrowed and spent.
  • And as a result of the Malloy administration’s decision not to refill many important positions, the State Department of Transportation has almost 150 fewer engineers and employees than when Malloy took office, making it impossible to get a large number of projects underway.

And while Malloy may not have raided the Transportation Fund as much as former Governor Rell had done, he still siphoned off money that was supposed to be earmarked for improving Connecticut’s transportation system.

The actual level of state spending on transportation in FY14 was $91 million less had been approved by the legislature and this year’s budget diverted another $20 million.

The Transportation Fund is supposed to get most of its dollars from Connecticut’s 25-cent-per-gallon retail tax and the state’s wholesale fuel tax.  However, despite four tax increases in the wholesale fuel tax which increased Connecticut’s revenues by 40 percent since 2005, Governors Rell and Malloy have used nearly $1.4 billion on non-transportation programs.

And now Governor Malloy is saying that Connecticut should adopt a Constitutional Amendment so that taxpayers can be sure that revenue for transportation programs are actually spent on transportation programs????

Yeah, this could very well be Governor Dannel Malloy’s greatest “Wait, What?” moment (to date.)

The Malloy Leadership Model – Raises for political appointees – Secrecy whenever possible

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It was the night before the night before Christmas and with the vast majority of Connecticut citizens focused on the short work week and the upcoming holidays, the Malloy administration quietly announced that they were handing out major salary increases to approximately 200 of the governor’s political appointees.  In fact, although some of these individuals already made more than the Governor, Malloy gave a number of his top aides no less than 12 percent pay raises, skyrocketing those salaries even higher.

As explained in a Wait, What? post last month entitled, “Malloy political appointees score big with “Christmas” salary increases,” although Malloy spent the 2014 gubernatorial campaign claiming there was no state deficit, nor would there be one next year, a $100 million hole in the budget “appeared” in the week following Election Day and the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis has consistently warned that the State of Connecticut will be facing a $1.3 billion budget shortfall in next year’s budget.

But as incredible as the news was that Malloy handed out large pay raises back on December 23, 2104, the Hartford Courant’s investigative reporter, Jon Lender, has now reported that Malloy’s extreme generosity toward his political appointees pales by comparison to what Malloy actually did on that day that he ordered the pay raises.

As Lender explained in his recent weekend story, “Political Appointees’ Christmas Raises Came With Unannounced Gift: A Provision For Future Pay Hikes,” the pay raise directive that Malloy signed not only granted his aides those lucrative raises but he also changed the entire payment arrangement for top political appointees (who are coded as Labor Unit 01 in the state payroll system).

Through the years, the decision about whether to increase the pay of Labor Unit 01 (political appointees) required direct gubernatorial action, ensuring the public, via the media, would know when a governor decided to give his or her aides raises.

But on December 23, 2014, Malloy not only signed the required executive directive granting his aides up to 12 percent raises, but he added language that reads,

“Note – Effective January 1, 2106, employees in Labor Unit 01 shall receive cost of living adjustments and annual increments granted to managerial and confidential employees in the MP pay plan in Labor Unites 02 and 03.  The EX [Executive Pay Plan] pay plan shall be adjusted accordingly.”

As Lender reports, Malloy’s action means that going forward a governor’s top political appointees will automatically get the same salary increase that Connecticut non-union, non-political, 3,000 classified employees will get.

The move not only means Malloy’s political appointees will get automatic get pay increases each year he is in office, but that unless the edict is directly repealed, the political appointees of future governors will also reap the benefits of Malloy’s decision to provide an unprecedented level of special treatment for political appointees.

Lender adds that the, “provision calling for those raises in future years was quietly tacked onto the end of the official Dec. 23 order that authorized the raises – which was signed by Malloy, his budget director Ben Barnes, and Commissioner Donald DeFronzo of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS).”

Barnes also serves as Malloy’s budget director and was one of the political aides that got a 12 percent pay raise in December.  Malloy’s Chief-of-Staff also pulled in a 12 percent pay raise at the time.

As an indication of the Malloy administration’s never-ending strategy of secrecy, Lender notes, “But this provision wasn’t mentioned in the press release that a Barnes deputy issued as darkness fell at 4:32 p.m. on the day before Christmas Eve.”

Lender and the Hartford Courant provide a link to the pay raise memo which can be found at: http://das.ct.gov/HRDocs/EItem/2147-E.pdf

Lender’s piece adds that, “Both Barnes and the Democratic governor have defended the raises by saying most of the political appointees hadn’t gotten raises during the governor’s first four years in office – or had not come close to keeping up with unionized employees and non-unionized managers. As Barnes put it, the state needs to ‘attract and retain top-notch talent.’”

When Lender asked OPM Secretary Barnes why the larger change in policy wasn’t reported in the press release, Barnes claimed that the Malloy administration wasn’t attempting to withhold the information, but, “It didn’t seem that it was as relevant as the fact of the raises.”

So Malloy’s position is that he needed to give his political appointees up to 12 percent raises in order to “attract and retain top-notch talent,” and that he decided it wasn’t necessary to tell the public about the maneuver to that automatically grants raises to political appointees in the future because it, “wasn’t relevant.”

It would appear that Governor Malloy and UConn’s Board of Trustees, who approved a massive boost in salary and benefits for President Susan Herbst between Christmas and New Year’s went to the same school of public relations.

You can read more about this issues at Wait, What? -Malloy political appointees score big with “Christmas” salary increases  and at the Hartford Courant: http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-lender-appointees-raises-0111-20150109-column.html

Is it Malloy’s greatest “Wait, What?” Moment?

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As Governor Malloy and his administration prepare to roll-out his new “Transportation Initiative,” the Governor’s press office issued a press release Friday (January 9, 2015) to proclaim that the Governor will soon be proposing legislation to amend the Connecticut State Constitution in order to, “ensure revenues earmarked for transportation cannot be diverted for other purposes.”

Although the process to change Connecticut’s State Constitution takes two years or more, Malloy said, in his prepared statement, “We must make sure every penny we raise for transportation goes toward our vision to transform Connecticut – now and in the future,”

This incredible “Wait, What?” statement comes from the same individual who has consistently worked to balance Connecticut’s State Budget by raiding various funds and transferring money from dedicated accounts to the State’s General Fund.

But Governor Malloy now says that he is committed to ensuring that the money collected for a particular purpose will actually be spent on that purpose…

For starters, one might ask, on behalf of Connecticut’s state employees, why Governor Malloy still hasn’t created the “Health Care Trust-Fund Lock Box” that he promised to do as part of the 2011 SEBAC state employee concession agreement.

The SEBAC concession agreement provided that all state employees give up 3% of their pay to help fund future state employee retirement health care premiums.  At this point, the program is generating about $120 million dollars a year, but the money isn’t even being put aside in a special “Lock Box” fund and invested for long term growth, as Malloy promised.

The State employees have fulfilled their end of the bargain, and although the State doesn’t start matching those contributions until 2017, the SEBAC agreement required that the funds collected are to be deposited into a special “Trust Fund.”

Yet to date, the Malloy administration hasn’t even taken that necessary step….

And now Malloy is proposing a Constitutional Amendment to protect future transportation revenue?

The political maneuver is nothing short of laughable.

What follows is just A PARTIAL LIST of the budget transfers Malloy and his administration has used over the past four years to make the state budget appear balanced;

  • Transferred $2.2 million from the Boating Fund to the General Fund, eliminated the boating account and required all future revenue from watercraft registration and numbering fees to be deposited in the General Fund.
  • Transferred $600,000 from the Transportation Strategy Board in the Department of Transportation to the General Fund.
  • Transferred $7.5 million from the Regional Performance Incentive Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $1.2 million from the Banking Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $450,000 from Workers Compensation Administration Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2.3 million from Consumer Counsel and Public Utility Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $500,000 from Insurance Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $4. 7 million from the School Bus Safety Belt Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred all revenue from fines, civil penalties, or restitution for violating banking law from the Banking Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred multiple PROBATE COURT ADMINISTRATION FUND “surpluses” to various non-probate programs and the remaining to the General Fund
  • Transferred $3. 6 million from the Public, Education, Government Programming and Education Technology Investment Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2 million from the Biomedical Research Trust Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2 million from the Community Investment Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $2 million from various accounts within the Office of Policy and Management to the Litigation/Settlement account
  • Eliminated the Municipal Revenue Sharing Account Malloy created in his 2011 tax package to aid cities and towns, “saving” the General Fund nearly $100 million a year
  • Transferred $35 million from the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA) to the General Fund
  • Transferred and additional 6.9 million from the Public Education and Governmental Programming Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred an additional $11 million from the Banking Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $5 million from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to the General Fund
  • Transferred $30.4 million from the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) to the General Fund
  • Transferred $10 million from the Municipal Video Competitiveness Account to the General Fund
  • Transferred $10 million annually (for 10 years) from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the “smart start” preschool program so the $100 million would not need to come out of the General Fund
  • Transferred $10 million from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) to the General Fund
  • Eliminated $20 million statutory transfer from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the Stem Cell Research Fund, thereby keeping the money available for the General Fund
  • Transferred and additional $1 million from the Probate Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred an additional $4 million from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to the General Fund
  • Transferred $15 million from the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation to pay for one-time expenses of the Connecticut State Universities and Community Colleges

And that doesn’t even cover some of the other “fund transfers” that Malloy made.

And when it comes to actually supporting transportation, Malloy’s first term in office was marked by failing grades.

At a campaign stop last fall, Malloy told a special forum on transportation,

“This stuff is a passion to me,” and he added, “This administration is committed to build out the infrastructure of this state.”

But as a special CT Mirror investigative series in September 2014 pointed out, Malloy’s record on transportation is anything but impressive.

[For the details read Keith Phaneuf’s pieces in the CT Mirror – BUDGET CHOICES, FISCAL MANEUVERS UNDERMINE TRANSPORTATION FUNDING  IMPROVING TRANSPORTATION IN CONNECTICUT: A DECADE OF SLOW GOING, A ROUGH ROAD AHEAD FOR TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTS.]

While Malloy said he had made transportation a priority and would do even more in a second term, the CT Mirror revealed;

  • Nearly $3.5 billion in financing for transportation projects has been approved — but the funds actually haven’t been borrowed and spent.
  • And as a result of the Malloy administration’s decision not to refill many important positions, the State Department of Transportation has almost 150 fewer engineers and employees then when Malloy took office, making it impossible to get a large number of projects underway.

And while Malloy may not have raided the Transportation Fund has much as former Governor Rell had done, he still siphoned off money that was supposed to be earmarked for improving Connecticut’s transportation system.

The actual level of state spending on transportation in FY14 was $91 million less had been approved by the legislature and this year’s budget diverted another $20 million.

The Transportation Fund is supposed to get most of its dollars from Connecticut’s $25 cent per gallon retail tax and the state’s wholesale fuel tax.  However, despite four tax increases in the wholesale fuel tax which increased Connecticut’s revenues by 40 percent since 2005, Governors Rell and Malloy have used nearly $1.4 billion on non-transportation programs.

And now Governor Malloy is saying that Connecticut should adopt a Constitutional Amendment so that taxpayers can be sure that revenue for transportation programs are actually spent on transportation programs????

Yeah, this could very well be Governor Dannel Malloy’s greatest “Wait, What?” moment (to date.)

Malloy political appointees score big with “Christmas” salary increases

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On the day after Christmas about 200 of Governor Dan Malloy’s top political appointees will receive salary increases that will boost their income by as much as 12%.

The raises come despite the fact that the this year’s existing budget deficit is pegged at about $50 million and will probably grow to well over $100 million in the next couple of months.  Of course, this year’s budget deficit is nothing compared to the projected $1.4 billion shortfall in next year’s budget.

But to the victor goes the spoils, so not only are Malloy’s top aides getting big raises but the Malloy team held off releasing the news of the taxpayer funded gifts to ensure it didn’t become a news story until Christmas Eve, thereby significantly reducing the number of Connecticut residents who will learn where their tax dollars are going.

Some readers may remember that as a candidate for re-election, Malloy spent the fall claiming that there was no state deficit, nor would there be any deficits if he was re-elected.

Then, about a month ago, Malloy announced “emergency cuts” to reduce a projected $100 million state deficit that appeared the week after Election Day.  Malloy’s cuts only resolved about half the deficit problem that existed at the time.  The rest of the financial problem has gone unaddressed, and as noted above, will likely grow considering the Malloy administration appears to be intentionally hiding areas where it is overspending.

When Malloy announced last month’s budget cuts, a significant portion of them were aimed at the Department of Children and Families, where Malloy intentionally limited DCF’s ability to place children who are in crisis, and unable to live at home, into group homes.

Malloy also reduced funding for occupational therapy and day services for those with developmental disabilities.

And although Malloy had already made historic cuts to Connecticut’s public colleges and universities, he went even further, cutting Connecticut’s institutions of higher education even more which further ensures that students and their parents will end up paying more and getting less.

But as the CT Mirror reported late yesterday, “The holidays will be a little merrier for about 200 appointees of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other constitutional officers: They are getting raises ranging from three percent to 12 percent at an annual cost of $1.4 million.”

Leading the list of happy campers is Malloy’s budget director, Ben Barnes, whose salary will increase on Thursday to over $209,000 a year, a 12 percent increase.  Malloy’s Chief of Staff, Mark Ojakian also received a 12 percent raise pushing his salary to nearly $190,000.

Perhaps even more telling than the extra $1.4 million Malloy is giving out to his political appointees is the way in which the news was released.

As the CT Mirror’s Mark Pazniokas explained,

“The raises were announced on the night before the night before Christmas, when hardly a creature was stirring, either in the House, the Senate or the Capitol press room.

A press release went out at 4:34 p.m. under the name of Gian-Carl Casa, the undersecretary of policy and management.

At the time, he was sitting on an airplane in Baltimore, connecting on a vacation flight to Florida. Reached by cell phone on the tarmac, he did arrange for the full list of raises to be forwarded to The Mirror.”

Explaining away Malloy’s decision to hand out major salary increases to his political appointees while tens of thousands of Connecticut families continue to face economic distresses, Malloy’s budget chief provided what may be one of the greatest quotes of 2014.

Barnes explained in the emailed statement;

 “For the last four years, most appointed officials have not seen their salary change as they have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Connecticut families…Because of their hard work, we are seeing the results in many areas, such as a steadily improving economy that’s added over 75,000 jobs since 2011.”

The list of Malloy’s commissioners who are getting double-digit salary increases include;

Commissioner Catherine Smith (Economic Development) Now at $190,400

Commissioner Jewel Mullen (Public Health) $190,400

Commissioner Kevin Sullivan (Revenue Services) $190,400

Commissioner Roderick Bremby (Social Services) $190,400

Commissioner Thaddeus Martin (Military Department) $182,132

Commissioner Joette Katz (Children and Families) $172,291

Commissioner Patricia Rehmer (Mental Health and Addiction Services) $165,535

Commissioner Melody Curry (Motor Vehicles) $145,600

Commissioner Steven Reviczy (Agriculture) $132,160

You can read the CT Mirror story at: http://ctmirror.org/early-christmas-malloy-appointees-get-raises-of-up-to-12/.  The CT Newsjunkie story is here: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/malloy_appointees_get_pay_increase/ and the Courant is here: http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-administration-raises-20141223-story.html

Courant weighs in –”State Must Curtail Deceptive Borrowing”

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A Wait, What? post last Monday entitled, “The State Budget Gimmick to End all Budget Gimmicks,” followed up on Keith Phaneuf’ CT Mirror story “Is Malloy poised to put much of the budget deficit on CT’s credit card?

The articles outlined Governor Malloy’s inappropriate use of “bond premiums” to use the state’s credit card to cover the State’s operating expenses and hid budget deficits.

In his piece, Phaneuf’s explained,

 “Malloy relied heavily on bond premiums during his first three years in office, using more than $160 million to close budget deficits or to bolster the emergency reserve, commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund.  Phaneuf added, “According to records from the treasurer’s office, the state had taken $41 million in bond premiums through the first four months of the fiscal year. The treasurer’s office said the state took another $37.7 million premium this week on $300 million in new bonds. That means more than $78 million has been added to the budget’s debt service line item since the fiscal year began.”

The purpose of the Wait, What? article was to try and put the deceitful fiscal move into plan language.

Now the Hartford Courant has joined the effort to shed light on Malloy’s actions in an editorial entitled, “State Must Curtail Deceptive Borrowing.”  The Courant wisely observers,

Here’s a worthwhile idea that may hinder if not stop the inappropriate use of bond premiums — a form of borrowing — to cover operating expenses in the state budget.

Republican state lawmakers Vincent Candelora and Len Fasano intend to introduce legislation that would require the treasurer to report monthly to the General Assembly on all bond premiums taken and on the interest rates involved.

Regular reporting ought to shine some much-needed sunlight on a practice that can add another layer of deception and expense to state borrowing.

It works this way: The state sometimes when issuing bonds pays a higher interest rate than originally planned in return for a premium. That’s extra money the state might use to cover the cost of issuance (a legitimate use) or to retire high-interest debt or, usually in bad times, to support the state’s operating budget — running the agencies day to day on borrowed money.

Of course, debt service must be paid on the premium, which makes the borrowing expensive.

[…]

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is no stranger to bond premiums. He used more than $160 million to close budget deficits and bolster the rainy day fund during his first three years in office.

Although Mr. Malloy recently found $48 million in spending cuts to partially bridge the $100 million projected budget deficit for the current fiscal year, Republican legislators speculate that he’ll resort to bond premiums to cover the rest.

The Malloy administration hasn’t ruled out the use of premium money.

Mr. Malloy, who has become a prodigious borrower, should resist the temptation. Find more budget reductions. It’s time for discipline.”

When Dan Malloy was running for governor in 2010, he said, “Increasing debt makes responsible budgeting less possible… And, it is simply irresponsible to leave more and more debt for future generations.”

However, despite his campaign pledge, since becoming Governor, Dannel Malloy has been engaged in a excessive borrowing spree that has irresponsibly put more and more debt on the taxpayer’s of the state and our children.

The editorial from the Hartford Courant is spot on and extremely timely.

The State Budget Gimmick to End all Budget Gimmicks

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Governor Malloy has been borrowing money – called “bond premiums”  – to balance Connecticut’s state budget.

But what the heck are bond premiums?

On Black Friday, the CT Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf wrote an article entitled “Is Malloy poised to put much of the budget deficit on CT’s credit card?”  The news story highlighted the fact that Governor Dannel Malloy has repeatedly used “bond premiums” to mask Connecticut’s debt and he appears to be poised to do so again.

As Phaneuf writes,

Malloy relied heavily on bond premiums during his first three years in office, using more than $160 million to close budget deficits or to bolster the emergency reserve, commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund.”

And the article adds,

“According to records from the treasurer’s office, the state had taken $41 million in bond premiums through the first four months of the fiscal year.

The treasurer’s office said the state took another $37.7 million premium this week on $300 million in new bonds. That means more than $78 million has been added to the budget’s debt service line item since the fiscal year began.”

But explaining what “bond premiums” are is no easy feat.

So please stick with me here – what follows is an amateur’s effort to try to explain the maneuver in a way that makes some sense to those of us who are not accountants:

Imagine that Jack, Jill and Danny are three friends, fresh out of college and all making good incomes. [Maybe they got some of those lucrative UTC jobs thanks to Malloy’s corporate welfare program].

Jack, Jill and Danny each make $150,000 a year, each is carrying $50,000 in student loan debt (with an interest rate of 8%), each has immaculate credit, and each wants to borrow $500,000 so that they can buy matching side by side homes, thereby allowing them to car pool to work.

Together they go to the bank which is aptly named “The First and only Bank That Lends” and each one fills out the paperwork to borrow $500,000.

The bank, after reviewing their applications, immediately announces that it would be happy to lend them each $500,000 at 4% to be paid back over 25 years.

But the bank adds —- if they’d like, the bank will give them a $550,000 loan at 4.25% for 25 years thereby allowing each to have a $50,000 “premium” to spend on whatever they want.

Now Jack likes to keep things simple when it comes to financial matters and while the thought of taking the extra $50,000 is intriguing, he decides to keep his financial situation as clear as possible.  Jack takes the $500,000 home loan at 4%, and decides to keep paying off his $50,000 student loan debt at the 8% rate.

At the end of 25 years Jack will have paid off his $500,000 home loan at 4% and his $50,000 student loan debt at 8%. 

Jack will have paid a total of $907,527 in principal and interest.

Jill is more nimble when it comes to these financial things so she takes the $50,000 premium and pays off her student loans immediately, leaving her with a $550,000 home loan at 4.25%

At the end of 25 years Jill will have paid off her full $550,000 home loan at 4.25% (having used $50,000 to pay off her 8% student loan debt.)

Jill will have paid a total of $893,868 in principal and interest.

But Danny, who is aspires to a future in politics, loves to live for the moment.  Danny decides to take the $550,000 loan at 4.25% but instead of using the extra money it to pay off his student loan he uses the “premium” to buy some things he has wanted to buy but couldn’t afford with his $150,000 income.  Danny is therefore left with a $550,000 home loan at 4.25% and $50,000 in student debt at 8%

At the end of 25 years, Danny will have paid off the $550,000 loan at 4.25% and the $50,000 student loan debt at 8%

Danny will have paid a total of $1,009,640 in principal and interest.

In return for getting that $50,000 “premium” to cover his expanded expenses, Danny’s strategy means he will have paid $115,772 more than Jill and $102,113 more than Jack at the end of 25 years.

So now let’s return to the real world of Connecticut in 2014.

And lo and behold Governor Dannel Malloy’s fiscal strategy is exactly the same as Danny’s!

However, in the real world situation, the extra principal and interest is being paid for by the taxpayers of Connecticut.

So when you read Governor Malloy took $160 million in “Bond Premiums” to cover up the debt over the last three years and has taken another $78 million in “Bond Premiums” so far this year, we can remember that taxpayers are now on the hook for $238 million in additional principal which will mean far higher total costs in principal and interest payments then we would have otherwise incurred.

And perhaps even more importantly, DON’T FORGET that Connecticut taxpayers are now paying a higher interest rate on the underlying debt that Malloy borrowed so that he could get that “bond premium.” [Recall that Danny took the $550,000 home mortgage at $4.25% instead of 4% so he could get that extra $50,000 “premium” cash.]

Not sure that makes the bond premium issues any clearer, but here is a table that attempts to summarize the whole thing in a single chart…

 

25 YEAR LOANS JACK JILL DANNY
New House $500,000 4% 791,755
Student Loan $50,000 8% 115,772
$907,527
 

Bank Offers – $550,000 including a Bond Premium of $50,000

4.25%     $893,868 $893,868
 

Jill uses her $50,000 to pay off student debt but Danny uses the $50,000 for expenses so still has his $50,000 in student loans at 8% interest rate

$115,722
 

TOTAL over 25 years in principal and interest

     

$907,527

 

$893,868

 

$1,009,640

 

Danny Pays $102,113 more than Jack

           

Danny pays $115,772 more than Jill

 

All to get the $50,000 “PREMIUM”

         

$50,000

 

Budget Cuts – Round #1, More to Come

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On Thursday, Governor Malloy’s budget director announced a series of significant budget cuts to existing state programs.  The problem is not only the damage the cuts will do but that they solve only a portion of this year’s growing state budget deficit which is now projected at about $100 million.  However, the magnitude of the budget deficit is closer to twice that number, a fact that Malloy can’t keep secret for more than another month or two.

Still Malloy’s initial cuts fly in the face of his repeated promises that Connecticut’s fiscal health is good and that we do not need to cut vital services if the voters of Connecticut granted him a second term in office.

But his actions tell a very different story.

Topping his list of budget cuts was, as expected, Connecticut’s public colleges and universities, along with critically important human services.

CT Mirror has the details at “Malloy’s emergency budget cuts fall on social services, education,” CTNewsJunkie at “Malloy Makes Cuts To DCF, Higher Ed,” and the Courant at “Malloy Makes $47.8M In Budget Cuts To Ease Deficit.”

The most revolting of Malloy’s budget cuts are aimed at Connecticut most vulnerable citizens, children facing severe challenges and those with developmental disabilities.

Malloy cut $9.2 million from the Department of Children and Families and $5.5 million from the Department of Developmental Disabilities.  Since there are only seven months left in the fiscal year, these cuts will hit key programs especially hard.

As reported by CT Mirror and others, Malloy has been limiting access to DCF’s residential treatment programs (group homes for extremely troubled children).   His latest cut will effectively close the door on new placements and lead the closure of even more DCF group homes.

While a Malloy official explained away the problem to the CT Mirror by saying that DCF was, “committed to maintaining youth in their communities in the least restrictive settings that can meet their needs,” the reality of the situation is that there are many parents and children that desperately need residential options.  In far too many cases, the failure to provide a residential placement puts the family and child in danger.

However, in what only can be described as an immoral move, the Malloy administration turns its back on these Connecticut families and children.  If Malloy’s action is not illegal, it should be.

In an equally inappropriate blow, Malloy is cutting the Department of Developmental Services including day services and employment programs for those with developmental disabilities.  Sad and ironic that Malloy reduces residential treatment options and then reduces options for those who need day treatment and employment services.

Malloy’s human service cuts also include $3.2 million cut from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The cuts to that agency will mean vitally important positions will go unfilled, leaving remaining employees unable to meet the present demand for services.

At the same time the governor is going after human services, he is also cutting an additional $6.5 from Connecticut’s public colleges and universities, this despite the fact that Malloy has already made the deepest cuts in state history to Connecticut’s system of public higher education.

Rather than speak out against these dramatic cuts, the spokespeople for the universities and colleges rolled over in appeasement, thereby assuring that Connecticut students and their parents will be paying even more and getting even less from UConn, CSU and the community colleges.

As Malloy pretends to claim that he is adhering to his “no new taxes” pledge, Connecticut college students and their parents will be paying higher tuition – which is nothing more than a user tax.

But perhaps the most offensive move of all is Malloy’s failure to come clean about the magnitude of the budget problem, even though the election is safely behind him.

While the present budget deficit is officially pegged at about $100 million, Malloy’s budget office is holding back evidence of additional budget problems.  The reality of the situation is that this round of cuts solves less than half of the documented budget deficit and more like 25 percent of the real budget problem facing the state.

Even in victory Malloy remains unable or unwilling to tell the people of Connecticut the truth.

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