Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Sharkey Bites Back


“The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth” – George Orwell, 1984

The “constant sniping and cherry-picking bad news from the good” has given Connecticut Speaker of the House of Representatives Brendan Sharkey heart palpitations.

In a Hartford Courant column, Mr. Sharkey writes:

“Rather than attempt to establish themselves as credible participants in our state's democratic process, the Republicans will say or do anything in an attempt to gain a political advantage, no matter how harsh or misleading, and without regard to the negative effects their behavior has on Connecticut's economy or its future.


“This constant drumbeat of negativity from Republican politicians — even in the face of positive news to the contrary — threatens to poison the well. When companies that would otherwise be interested in our educated workforce, outstanding quality of life, and investments in higher education and transportation, hear elected officials regularly proclaim how terrible Connecticut is, they may start to believe it, despite evidence to the contrary. Such negativity makes it that much harder to attract business and industry home to Connecticut.”

Most Republicans in Connecticut -- invariably locked out of budget negotiations by Governor Dannel Malloy, Mr. Sharkey and Democratic Pro Tem of the Senate Martin Looney -- would be inclined to file Mr. Sharkey’s unlikely bid for victimhood under the heading “Naked King Objects to Critics Who Call Attention to Nakedness.”

It was Mr. Malloy and the two Democratic Leaders in the General Assembly who had made it impossible for Republicans in the General Assembly to participate AT ALL in budget negotiations. Having adamantly refused to accept Republican Party views on any of the budgets affirmed by the Democratic dominated General Assembly and signed by Mr. Malloy, Mr. Sharkey now finds it politically convenient to accuse Republicans of having failed to “establish themselves as credible participants in our state's democratic process.” Really, Napoleon should have adopted this tactic after Waterloo and charged that his defeat was owed entirely to his butler’s military miscalculations.

Then too, Mr. Sharkey has failed to notice that Republicans are hardly alone in citing high taxes and excessive regulations as spurs that have induced Connecticut companies to consider moving outside the state.

Consider: In September, 2009, two years before Mr. Malloy was installed as Governor, Pratt & Whitney decided to move some Connecticut jobs to Georgia, where the cost of labor represented a considerable saving for the company. The state of Connecticut and unions offered cost reductions; not enough, said parent company United Technologies (UTC).

At the time UTC moved jobs from Connecticut, then Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, who later retired from the House after some members of  his campaign staff working on Mr. Donovan’s bid for the U.S. Senate in the 5th District were indicted for corruption, and President Pro Tem of the Senate Donald Williams, who later accepted a position as Deputy Director of Professional Policy, Practice, Research and Reform for the Connecticut Education Association (CEA), were urging the Democratic controlled General Assembly to raise corporation taxes by a whopping 30 percent. Some Connecticut commentators noted at the time that UTC may have felt uncomfortable with increasing taxes and regulations. When Mr. Malloy assumed office as governor, he piled on taxes – the largest tax increase in state history --  and frequently was seen marching in union picket lines.

In a meeting with Wall Street financiers in March 2011, United Technologies chief financial officer, Gregory Hayes told the group, “Anyplace outside of Connecticut is low-cost.” Mr. Hayes’ remark echoed a previous statement made by President of Sikorsky Aircraft Jeff Pino: “Even if work has to stay in the U.S., there are opportunities to reduce cost by moving out of those high-cost locations.” Earlier in February 2011, Aetna’s CEO, Mark Bertolini, told a business group at a Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce breakfast, “We've done the analysis, and, quite frankly, Connecticut falls very, very low on the list as an environment to locate employees . . . in large part because of the tax structure, the cost of living, which is now approaching, all in, the cost of locating an employee in New York City.”

UTC recently put Sikorsky on the auction block, after which the company was bought by Lockheed Martin. Partly in response to profit reducing Obamacare regulations, large Connecticut Insurance companies have now merged – Aetna with Humana and, late in July, Anthem acquired Cigna. Monopolistic acquisition is a survivalist business response to progressive regulation that diminishes profits, as Mr. Sharkey, himself a businessman, well knows.


There are not enough Pinocchio noses on hand to cover the stretchers told by Mr. Sharkey even in the few lines quoted above. Ruling Democrats, not Republicans, are responsible for the state of the state. The governor’s office, all the members of the U.S. Congressional delegation and all the Constitutional offices in Connecticut are held by Democrats; in addition, Democrats outnumber Republicans in the State’s General Assembly by a ratio of 21 to 15 seats in the Senate; in the House, the ratio is Democrats 87 to Republicans 64. Fixing blame on the minority party at this late date because business representatives make rational decisions to put down roots elsewhere in more profitable ground should strike any thoughtful politician or political commentator worth his salt as a rank abdication of responsibility, a “lie” of Orwellian dimensions.

Post a Comment