Monday, February 02, 2009

Typhoid Cibes Surfaces

“There is no panacea to solve our current problems,” writes Bill Cibes who, along with Lowell Weicker, the father of Connecticut’s income tax, ushered in the father of all panaceas.

“Hard decisions must be made that employ every available option to balance the state budget while doing no harm to the most vulnerable among us and preserving the foundations of future prosperity,” Cibes wrote in a Courant column, “How To Solve Deficit, Restore Sound Footing,” in tandem with Ned Lamont, the come-from-nowhere Greenwich wunderkind who won a primary against current Senator Joe Lieberman several years back.

Cibes is not new to Connecticut politics. He ran for governor on an income tax platform several years ago and was soundly defeated. Refusing to take “No” for an answer, Cibes consented to become then Governor Lowell Weicker’s Office of Budget and Management chief. And – surprise! – a few weeks into his term, Weicker graced the state with its current non-performing income tax.

The tax was sold to the state as a measure that would provide Connecticut with a more reliable stream of revenue than its pre-income tax workhorse revenue producer, the sales tax, which bobbed up and down like a cork on the tide of the state’s prosperity.

Connecticut’s current projected deficit of $6 billion in the next two year fiscal term is unimpeachable proof that the income tax, heavily reliant on Gold Coast financiers, is no more stable than the sales tax.

The income tax was sold to us by Cibes and Weicker on false premises. If the Cibes Weicker duo were interested in stabilization, the income tax, more secure in their view, would have replaced the state's less stable sales tax. But Weicker and Cibes were interested solely in providing a new stream of revenue to grateful legislators who then proceeded to double and triple the bottom line of the last pre-income tax budget. The income tax has been a boon to irresponsible legislators – not to the state.

Readers of the most recent Cibes-Lamont sunburst in the Courant will find none of these perceptions in their column. Indeed,Cibes and Lamont have simply dusted off perceptions retailed by Cibes and Weicker when the income tax was but a glint in their eyes.

The state is in debt – again.

Some combination of taxes and spending cuts must be put together by the Brights who have given us over the past decade and more swollen budgets and red ink – again.

The Brights will save us – again.

And they're not kidding.

Weicker refused to run for a second term as governor because he knew voters would have paddled his arse out of the state. He moved to Virginia and showed up again like a bad penny when Lamont -- like Weicker at the beginning of his career, a rich dilettante from Greenwich -- decided at Weicker’s urging to challenge then Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman in a primary. Lamont won the primary, largely owing to Lieberman’s support for George Bush’s bungling but ultimately successful attempt to bring the fruits of democracy toIraq, but lost the general election. Lamont has been on ice ever since, waiting for his moment in the sun.

Weicker, before leaving the state, provided a featherbed for Cibes, who became the first chancellor of the state’s four colleges.

The central premise of the Cibes-Lamont column is that the state has yet another revenue problem, a premise trotted out by Weicker and Cibes as a sales gimmic when both were hot on an income tax. But the state of Connecticut does not have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. And that problem cannot not be settled by prescriptions offered by Cibes or anyone connected with him.

The state should be certified insane if it thinks it necessary to consult Typhoid Mary on the proper means of ridding the state of typhoid.
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