Why Malloy’s (and Foley’s) anti-tax pledge is anti-middle class

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In a September 3, 2014 Wait, What? post entitled, Foley and Malloy are just plain wrong on taxes, the blog explained that Malloy and Foley are being fiscally irresponsible with their pledge not to propose raising taxes if they are elected. The article begins with the following;

Although Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy is fond of saying that he inherited a $3.7 billion budget deficit when he was sworn into office in January 2011…The candidate who is sworn in as Governor of Connecticut in January 2015 will be facing a combined budget deficit of at least $4.8 billion over the next three years!   YES – You read that number correctly.  Even after taking into consideration increased revenue from an “improving” economy, Connecticut state government will be $4.8 billion SHORT of what it is needed to maintain the present level of services and meet its present statutory obligations.

As a result of Governor Malloy’s irresponsible borrowing policies, the state MUST increase its debt service payments by at least $672 million dollars over the next three years.  The additional mandatory payments for the state employee and teacher pension and healthcare funds will require an additional $620 million.

And that doesn’t even count the minimum increases needed to maintain the most vital state services.

There is absolutely no way to balance Connecticut’s state budget without additional taxes.  The question is not whether we will have tax increases, but who will be providing that additional state revenue.

Furthermore, by pledging not to “raise” taxes at the state level, there will be no meaningful state increase in state aid to municipalities and that will translate into massive increases in local property taxes, as towns face the growing costs of education, public safety and other local services.

While Malloy and Foley can try and claim they won’t raise taxes, by forcing higher local property taxes, the two major party candidates will – in fact – be raising taxes that disproportionately hit middle-income families and small business that are particularly hurt by the way in which Connecticut raises revenue at the local level.

But Malloy and Foley’s “no-tax” pledge is even more unfair than it seems because they are promising to maintain the existing tax system that coddles the rich.

As the non-partisan CT Voices for Children has reported;

  • In Connecticut, wealthy residents pay a smaller share of their income in state and local taxes than the rest of us, while families raising children are uniquely hurt by Connecticut’s present tax system.
  • After federal income tax deductions, Connecticut’s wealthiest families pay an average of 5.5% of their income in state and local taxes, while the middle class pay 10.5%, and the poor pay 11% of their income in state and local taxes.
  • In addition, Connecticut is one of only two states that make no adjustment in their income taxes for the cost of raising children.  A family with $60,000 of income with three kids owes the same as the family with $60,000 of income and no kids.  It is a tax policy that is hardly pro-child.

The candidates for governor who have made a “no tax pledge” is not only being fiscally irresponsible, but is sending a loud and clear message to Connecticut’s middle class.   What Malloy and Foley are saying is that not only are they refusing to take responsibility for properly running the state of Connecticut, but they are admitting that they will be leaving Connecticut’s unfair tax structure in place while increasing the burden on local property taxpayers.

As of now, the Democrat and Republican candidates for governor have made a strong case for why they SHOULD NOT BE ELECTED.  Only 3rd Party candidates Joe Visconti (and I) have had the courage and wisdom to admit that the next governor needs to keep all the tools of governance on the table.

It is time for Malloy and Foley to admit their no-tax pledge is bad fiscal policy.

Or worse, while they know that additional taxes will be needed to balance the state budget and reduce the burden on the middle class, they’ve decided to lie rather than tell the truth in an attempt to get elected.

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

Foley and Malloy are just plain wrong on taxes

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[A special note of thanks to all of you who have posted comments and sent emails of support urging me to continue writing posts Wait, What?  While I will continue to mull over the various issues and opportunities, the following is an attempt to gingerly re-enter the fray by using this blog to raise what I feel are important issues as we collectively seek to educate, persuade and mobilize the citizens of Connecticut to take back control of their state government.]

With that as the backdrop, this blog is entitled, Foley and Malloy are just plain wrong on taxes.

Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy is fond of saying that he inherited a $3.7 billion budget deficit when he was sworn into office in January 2011.  (The number comes from reports produced by the Legislature’s independent Office of Fiscal Analysis).

The candidate who is sworn in as Governor of Connecticut in January 2015 will be facing a combined budget deficit of at least $4.8 billion over the next three years. YES – You read that number correctly.  Even after taking into consideration increased revenue from an “improving” economy, Connecticut state government will be $4.8 billion short of what is needed to maintain the present level of services and meet its present statutory obligations.

On the campaign trail, Malloy claims that there is “no deficit” in the future; these projections come from the same independent Office of Fiscal Analyses, the entity he quotes in his regular campaign stump speech.

The truth is that Connecticut continues to face a budget crisis, but rather than tell the truth about the fiscal house of cards that has been built up over the past two decades, the two major party candidates have made a calculated decision that politics trumps reality and that their best tactic is to mislead the voters in the hope that Connecticut citizens will remain docile, compliant and unaware of the fiscal crisis that will not only swallow up their economic stability but that of their children as well.

Malloy has based his campaign on a promise never to propose or accept any tax increase in a second term, while telling voters that he will not cut vital services and telling state employees that he will not need to discuss further concessions with their union leaders.

Tom Foley, in turn, has made an equally strong commitment to a “no tax” pledge” saying that he will honor the existing state employee agreement and that he will not use state employee layoffs to balance the state budget.

In a recent attempt to prove that Foley’s “no tax” pledge is bigger than Malloy’s “no tax pledge,” the Hartford Courant wrote that Foley and his running mate, Heather Somers have even launched a new online “No New Taxes Petition.”

The “I’m no tax, no I’m no tax” charade make Foley and Malloy the modern day equivalents of  Frick and Frack, the two Swiss skaters who their fame as original members of the Ice Follies,  doing ice skating tricks while wearing Lederhosen.

But if the Democrat and Republican candidates for Governor succeed in ducking the real tax issue facing the state, the people of Connecticut, especially our middle income taxpayers, will be the true losers.

The truth is that most of the expenses related to the $4.8 billion projected budget deficit over the next three years must be paid.  Neither Malloy nor Foley can wish or lie the problem away.

For example, Governor Malloy’s irresponsible borrowing policies mean that the state MUST increase its debt service payments by at least $672 million dollars over the next three years and mandatory payments to the state employee and teacher pension and healthcare funds will account for an additional $620 million.

Putting aside critically important issues like the increased costs for education, healthcare, transportation, support and services for citizens with developmental chalengees, our public colleges and universities and all the other areas of state expenditures, Malloy and Foley can pledge that they will not raise any taxes all they want, but the winner of the gubernatorial election will need to come up with $1.3 billion over the next three years just to pay the additional debt service on the state credit card and the minimum payments into the state pension and healthcare funds.

On top of which, while the “no tax” pledges sound good in a television ad, the major party candidates owe the voters a detailed list of where they are going to cut billions from the state budget and how they are going to sidestep having to sit down and talk with state employee unions about the financial crisis.

This isn’t a magic show.  It is an extremely serious decision about who will lead the state and how they will deal with the very real issue of increased taxes.

As taxpayers across Connecticut are aware…

When Malloy introduced his record-breaking tax increase in 2011, he increased the income tax rate for everyone except those making over $1 million a year.  He told a joint session of the Connecticut General Assembly that he wasn’t increasing the income tax rate on the wealthy because he didn’t want to “punish success.”

As if Connecticut’s middle class and working families weren’t the ones who really deserved to be called successful.

Furthermore, a growing number of people are aware that in Connecticut, middle income families pay about 10% of their income in state and local taxes, the poor about 12% and the wealthy about 5-6%.

When Malloy and Foley say their will not support any increase in state taxes, what they ARE saying is that the full burden for maintaining our schools and other important local services will fall on Connecticut’s already overburdened local property taxpayers.

In fact, every time a Connecticut voter hears a gubernatorial candidate say they he will not support additional taxes, they should understand that he is saying that he will continue Malloy’s strategy of coddling the rich and dumping the burden on homeowners, car owners and those who pay property taxes through increased rent.

When it comes to the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, one truth stands out.

Foley and Malloy will use their television ads to claim that they won’t raise taxes.

But there should be a huge disclaimer on those ads that should read:

If this candidate wins, vital state services will be cut and Connecticut’s middle class will be facing massive local property tax increases or face unparalleled cuts to their local public schools.

And no voter, liberal, moderate  or conservative, should cast their vote for either Malloy or Foley until each is willing to explain how they will actually deal with the fiscal realities that are facing Connecticut.

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

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

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

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/

Do you wanna tax break?  Apparently it depends on how much you’ve donated

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As the 2014 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly came to a close two weeks ago, the $55 rebate that Governor Malloy had promised disappeared….

Poof!

So did the promised tax break for retired teachers, and the tax break on clothing costing less than $50, and the tax break on over-the-counter, non-prescription medicines and the list goes on.

At Malloy’s direction, the legislature “pushed off” a total of $220 million in promised tax breaks.

And Connecticut’s citizens are now coming to the grim realization that those tax breaks may be gone for good, since Malloy’s new state budget morphs into a $1.3 billion deficit in the year following this fall’s election.

But it turns out, not everyone lost their tax break.

In fact, it turns out that at least one person get a brand new tax break.

Enter Howard Saffan.

Howard Saffan is a Weston, Connecticut resident.  He is a lawyer, real estate investor, and President of Harbor Yard Sports and Entertainment (aka The Webster Bank Arena), as well as, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

When Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch tried to persuade Bridgeport voters to change the City’s charter to eliminate their democratically elected board of education and replace it with one that he would appoint, Saffan’s Harbor Yard Sports and Entertainment Company donated the maximum allowable amount of $14,440 to help fund Finch’s failed effort.

Today, if you drive by the Webster Bank Arena, you’ll see a massive new electronic billboard that the Finch administration quickly pushed through the local zoning process, over the objection of other billboard companies.  The new Harbor Yard billboard often displays Mayor Finch’s face, along with a welcoming message.

But Howard Saffan’s financial generosity goes beyond Mayor Bill Finch.  On September 27, 2013, Saffan wrote a check for $10,000 to the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee’s federal account.

The Connecticut Democrat’s account is one of the mechanisms that Governor Malloy’s political operation is using to “legally” circumvent Connecticut’s campaign law.

Although a candidate who participates in Connecticut’s public finance system may not accept donations in excess of $100, may not take funds from political action committees and may not accept campaign contributions from state contractors, Malloy and the Democrats in the legislature created a massive loophole that allows Malloy to re-direct these types of illegal contributions to the Democratic Party’s federal account.  Once successfully laundered, these funds can then be used to augment the $6.2 million in taxpayer funds that Malloy he will be receiving to pay for his “official” 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

And as a result of the change in law, contributors can now give up to $10,000 in each calendar year.

And the Webster Bank Arena’s Howard Saffan is one of those who have join the growing list of people who have written out $10,000 checks to this Democratic account.

Now let’s return to the last night of the 2014 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly.

As the legislature approached its midnight deadline, the Connecticut House of Representatives adopted a massive, 260 section “budget implementation” bill 11:17 p.m.  The State Senate adopted the legislation at 11:47.

Few, if any, legislators really knew what was in this bill, but since it “implemented” the $20 billion dollar budget that had been passed a few days earlier, Democrats dutifully hit the “green” button and the legislation easily passed.

Toward the end of the bill, in Section 225, is a section of the statutes that requires that every “place of amusement, entertainment or recreation” charge a ten percent admissions tax.

The statute also includes a short list of types of locations that are exempt from having to charge that tax.

And if any legislator had actually read all the way to Section 225, they would have discovered that, without any public debate, “the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport” was slipped into the list of Connecticut venues that DO NOT HAVE TO CHARGE the 10 percent admissions or entertainment  tax.

The result of Section 225 is that Howard Saffan and his Webster Bank Arena is better positioned to beat out its competition because it doesn’t have to add the 10 percent admission tax to all of its tickets.

And the taxpayers of Connecticut?

They are out $625,000 a year in lost revenue!

Let that be a lesson to all of you who thought you were getting that $55 rebate or any of the other election year tax breaks that Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy had promised.

Malloy’s “NO TAX” pledge will send Connecticut into the abyss

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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.

As Malloy knows, Connecticut’s middle income families pay about 10 percent of their income in state and local taxes, the poor pay about 12 percent and the rich pay about 6 percent of their income in state and local taxes.

Instead of pledging to be fiscally responsible or even pledging not to increase taxes on middle-income families, Malloy has made it clear that he will continue to protect the rich, even if it comes at everyone else’s expense.

Perhaps the Governor wants Connecticut taxpayers to forget that his 2011 $1.5 billion tax increase raised the income tax rate for middle-income families while those making more than $1 million saw no increase in their income tax rate at all.

Malloy’s pledge will to protect Connecticut’s wealthy will have devastating consequences should he win in November.

The harsh reality is that as result of Governor Malloy’s failure to properly fund public education, the one thing we know about a NO TAX pledge at the state level is that it will lead to higher local property taxes and that will create a tax structure that is even more regressive.

Malloy’s irresponsible promise on taxes not only means Connecticut’s wealthy will get richer while failing to pay their fair share, but it will force our state government to further abdicate its responsibilities.

Even the  most rosy revenue estimates or dreams of a renewed economy will not provide the revenue necessary to maintain vital state services during a 2nd Malloy term.

As noted, four more years of inadequate state funding for education will mean higher property taxes and reduced resources to provide Connecticut’s children with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed.

Four more years of inadequate funding for Connecticut public colleges and universities will shift even more of the costs on to students and parents and will prevent many from even getting the college education they need to lead fuller lives, be self-sufficient and help build our economy.

Four more years of inadequate funding will undermine Connecticut health and human service programs, pushing some of the state’s hospital out of business and leaving many Connecticut citizens without the vital services they need.

Four more years of inadequate funding will devastate state agencies that are already understaffed and will, yet again, unfairly target state employees.

And perhaps most importantly, four more years of inadequate funding will prevent the state of Connecticut from confronting and reducing the overwhelming debt that Malloy and previous governors have built up – that being a maxed out state credit card, insufficient funding of the state and teacher pension funds and insufficient reserves to pay for the state health care retiree accounts.

While many in Connecticut were already questioning Dannel Malloy’s priorities and legacy, his “no tax” pledge ensures that his place in history will be that of just another politician who put his own political aspirations ahead off what was best for the state of Connecticut and its citizens.

Shhhh: Whatever you do, don’t mention class, classism or class warfare

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Newspaper headlines in today’s Stamford Advocate:

Street bonuses heat up January real estate market in Greenwich, Darien

Stamford homeless shelters over capacity

In 2013, the stock market hit “52 all-time record highs” and had its best year in 18 years.  As a result, Greenwich realtors report the sales of high priced homes is booming.  As one realtor put it, “Traditionally, the markets in Greenwich — and neighboring towns such as Darien — have seen significant booms in the early months of the year, after those working on Wall Street receive their bonus checks.”

Meanwhile, just a few miles down the road,  the spokesperson for Inspirica, a Stamford based non-profit that runs a homeless shelter for women and supportive housing program for families reported, “We are over capacity…We’re working at 116 to 120 percent capacity. Because it’s so cold, we’re not going to turn people away.”

This is Connecticut, where Democratic Governor Malloy’s 2011 record tax increase disproportionately hit the middle class while those making over $1 million saw no increase in their income tax rate – at all!  Malloy’s claim was that if we didn’t coddle the wealthy, they might leave and move to New York state, New York City or New Jersey (where tax rates are even higher).

This is Connecticut, where Democratic Governor Malloy’s “economic development” strategy consists of giving successful, multi-million dollar businesses scarce public funds while failing to provide state agencies and towns with the money they need to even maintain existing services, let alone address the ongoing and growing impact of the Great Recession.

A case in point: with much fanfare Democratic Governor Malloy gave Bridgewater Associates a publicly funded corporate welfare deal worth over $110 million dollars so that they could move their headquarters from Westport to Stamford.  In 2012, Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates’ CEO was paid $2.3 billion (that is billion with a B) making him the highest paid CEO in the world.

At the same time Democratic Governor Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly failed to provide sufficient funds or personnel to maintain the current level of services for most human service programs provided by the state of Connecticut, non-profit agencies or at the town level.

Put aside Malloy’s devastating initiatives that are undermining Connecticut public education system.

Forget that Malloy has left state government so understaffed that services aren’t being provided in a timely manner in many agencies.

Put aside the fact that Malloy instituted the deepest cuts in state history to Connecticut’s public colleges and universities, cuts that have forced tuition up and sifted even more of the burden of an undergraduate education onto the backs of Connecticut students and their families.

Forget that Malloy is proposing a mini election-year tax cut to try to persuade middle-income families to vote for him this November, despite the fact that Connecticut is facing a combined $3.2 billion budget deficit in the three years following the election.

When the truth is revealed, the fact is that Democratic Governor Malloy has helped push Connecticut so far off the right track that we can’t even see the path back to fairness, equity and economic stability.

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