Sunday, January 03, 2010

A Glass Half Full Is Still A Glass Half Empty

After all the palavering in the state legislature, last year’s budget is still in the red.

It appears that the wall-eyed legislature and outgoing Gov. Jodi Rell, after much political posturing and acrimony, underestimated the preceding year’s budget deficit by about a half billion dollars, according to figures supplied by State Comptroller Nancy Wyman shortly after last year's budget was put to bed.

At the same time, the legislature, led by President Pro Tem of the Senate Don Williams and House Speaker Chris Donovan, persistently showing their pique at the governor’s unwillingness to further beggar the state by increasing more taxes, took off for the hills every time the governor threatened to reduce spending.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that in three years, the state could be facing a budget deficit upward of $5.9 billion, a figure that sould convince the remaining optimimists among us that a glass half full is still a glass half empty.

Aware of the economic anvil about to fall on Connecticut’s head, a Hartford paper in a Sunday editorial pointed a crooked finger at legislative leaders Williams and Donovan.

Chief economist for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association Peter Gioia, the paper said, had offered the governor – and through her, the legislature – three money saving ideas: 1) switch from a nursing home centered health care model to a far less expensive home care model; 2) privatize state operated group homes for the disabled; 3) close prisons.

Let us adopt these measures, the paper advised, and begin the painful but necessary process of reducing the state’s insupportable spending plan. Almost as an aside, the paper noted, “There will be, to be sure, some complications with state labor contracts and federal funding rules. Nonetheless, millions of dollars can be saved. This can be done.”

"Some complications" -- really?

What is the evidence that state unions will not use their influence with Williams and Donovan, once a union leader himself, to un-facilitate the money saving measures suggested by the paper?

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