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Showing posts from June, 2011

Why The Budget Failed

Plan A failed because neither the Malloy administration nor SEBAC negotiators were able to sell their product to the union rank and file.

Lord knows they tried. But in the end, it was the health package that sunk the final vote. Almost half of the union rank and file voted against Plan A, considered by union negotiators, Malloy administration budget salesmen and a large chunk of Connecticut’s commentariat to be a plan irresistible to rational heads in much of the state.

Moises Padilla, vice president of AFSCME Local 387 at the Cheshire correctional complex, thought early on that Plan A was doomed and made attempts to contact shakers and movers within the Malloy administration to warn them of the impending crack-up, but his calls were not returned by Roy Occhiogrosso, Mr. Malloy’s major-domo.

Following the rank and file vote, which soundly rejected Plan A, union negotiators regrouped and decided the vote would not be formalized for thirty days, later pushing the thirty days out to infi…

Donovan’s Plan C?

General Assembly Democrats – i.e. Speaker of the House Chris Donovan and Senate President Don Williams – have not decided firmly to give Governor Dannel Malloy extraordinary rescission authority to remake the state budget after the collapse of Plan A.

Repeating his offer to dominant Democrats in the legislature, Mr. Malloy has said that he would be perfectly willing to implement the dreaded Plan B should the General Assembly confer upon him what amounts to plenipotentiary powers.

But a rift has occurred within the legislature. Mr. Williams is toying with the idea; but his confederate in the House, Mr. Donovan, pleased to have stepped out of the way of the cannons when Mr. Malloy was begging state workers to accept Plan A, now seems to be puffing out his chest, welcoming the bullets.

Mr. Donovan has reminded Mr. Malloy that the General Assembly never agreed to confer upon him an expanded rescissionary authority that would allow the governor to shape the new budget without bothersome le…

What Ails Connecticut?

Chris Powell, managing editor of the Journal Inquirer and a columnist for the paper, here offers a summary view of the way we are.

Mr. Powell has been playing on these keys for some time, without much effect.

Through a slow process of attrition, Mr. Powell says, Connecticut has ceded much of its powers to various factions, placing the entire state at the mercy of aggressive self interested groups:

“With its extravagant laws for collective bargaining for public employees, Connecticut has put itself under minority rule in the extreme. First the sovereign people have to get the permission of their employees just to operate a government. And then that government's operations are largely determined by a minority of those employees. It's one thing for unions to ensure that they can be taken out on strike only by a supermajority vote; strikes can be long and brutal and any begun with less than the overwhelming support of union members are likely to fail. But a supermajority just to ra…

The Roger Sherman Suit, Oral Arguments And Decision

Superior Court judge James Graham today dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Roger Sherman Liberty Center that challenged the state budget on Constitutional grounds. The state Constitution requires a balanced budget. The center argued since expenditures exceeded revenue outlays when the budget was adopted by the general assembly, Governor Malloy’s Plan A budget was not in balance and therefore unconstitutional.
It was the kind of judicial decision that attempts to square a circle. Only in a court of law is such an exercise not doomed to fail.

There is no one in the state of Connecticut who can with any degree of certitude assert that the state budget is in balance – no one. When Associate Attorney General Perry Zinn-Rowthorn insisted during oral argument that the budget was in balance at its passage, he was simply doing his job.

The budget is not in balance now; it was not in balance when the liberty center brought a suit calling upon the court to declare that the budget was not in bal…

The Aftermath

Following the rejection by state unions of a deal thought to be too good to be true, left of center columnists in the state were grievously disappointed

A columnist watching “Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's union concession plan fall into a death spiral” wondered “what decade some state employees think they live in,” and a Hartford paper mused that state union selfishness would cost unions “support in Connecticut.” Translation: The union’s resistance to a fait accompli firmly established by union leaders and Mr. Malloy will be noted in a few stinging editorials.

But there is something more amazing still than the rejection of Plan A, a budget scheme thought to be less painful for everyone than Mr. Malloy’s alternative Plan B: The state for some time has been permitting a few unelected union negotiators veto power over budgets passed by the legislature, and we have become so used to the ritual we hardly notice that extraordinary powers, constitutionally reserved for governors or legislators…

Unions Call Malloy’s Bluff

State worker unions in Connecticut are able to vote on budgets; taxpayers are not, perhaps the best argument in favor of a state budget referendum.

Multiple sources are reporting that the adoption by state unions of Governor Dannel Malloy’s Plan A is failing. Many critics in the state – including the Yankee Institute, union negotiator Larry Dorman’s least favorite conservative outlet -- considered Plan A favorable deal for the unions. AFSME, one of the largest unions in the state has turned a thumbs down to Plan A, and it is said that prison union workers are prepared to vote “No” on the package.

Business to Malloy: Not Again?

Soon after Governor Dannel Malloy announced that he was to begin yet another “listening Tour,” this time among Connecticut businesses, accompanied by his new director of community and economic development, Catherine Smith, The Hartford Business Journal queried the governor:

"Really“Smith gets a pass here. She’s just arriving on the scene. But Malloy should know he can’t play that card again so soon. He is just a matter of weeks removed from a 17-stop listening tour. He’s also been active in making plant tours. He’s heard all he needs to hear. He just chose not to process what he heard.

“Did he not hear that business thought the paid sick leave bill was a horrible signal of a climate that was unfriendly to business? “Did he not hear that small business is concerned about the double whammy of increasing business taxes and increasing personal taxes for their business profits that run through individual tax filings?“Did he not hear the frustration with the levels of state employee ben…

Mr. Livingston Presumes

One of the chief negotiators for SEBAC, the state union coalition negotiating with the administration of Governor Dannel Malloy on union contracts, Daniel Livingston, has written a letter to Attorney General George Jepsen – at one point, early in his career, a lawyer who represented unions – demanding that the attorney general “…investigate and take all appropriate actions authorized by state law” against Yankee Institute investigative reporter Zach Janowski.

Mr. Janowski, Mr. Livingston wrote in his letter, “purports to be an ‘investigative reporter’ and… also publishes a blog under the name of ‘Raising Hale.’”

Mr. Jepsen, however, is not asked in Mr. Livingston’s letter to investigate Mr. Janowski credentials as an “investigative reporter.” This snarky little tidbit is thrown in perhaps to degrade Mr. Janowski who, Mr. Livingston insists in his letter to Mr., Jepsen, has “degraded state workers.” Mr. Jepsen is not asked in Mr. Livingston’s fanciful and intemperate letter to investi…

Suicidal Republicans?

Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy here puts his finger exactly on the right point. It should come as no surprise to anyone that union leaders – who may or may not be acting in the best interest of the rank and file – want to control the propaganda they send to union members. But the Yankee Institute is not a part of the negotiations, and it stands, in respect to those negotiations, exactly as any other news organization might. Attorney General George Jepsen, one may hope, will tell the union “leaders” to take a hike. On the other hand, Mr. Jepsen did represent unions for a stretch as a private attorney before he became attorney general.

There is no doubt where editorial page editors should come down on this question. It’s still a free country – though, God knows, some people are trying to make it less so.

This is the Republican Party Chairman that disgruntled elements in the Republican Party want to replace:

Unions Get a Dose of Yankee Medicine

By Chris Healy

The truth hurts and the…

On The Road Again

The Hartford Courant editorial board gave full warning on Saturday that Governor Dannel Malloy, the Elmer Gantry of progressives, will be on the road again, this time pitching his vision of a progressive utopia to Connecticut’s vanishing business community.

The Courant editorial board seems enthusiastic:

“There isn't a more important or timely subject, considering Connecticut's glacial job-growth performance and the state's tattered, business-unfriendly reputation. At this point, following a legislative session whose results were cheered on by liberals and hissed at by many business interests, the governor and his economic development czar could stand to hang around with a few business people.”The key to the trip is provided by unnamed “members of Mr. Malloy’s staff”:

“This will not be as structured an enterprise as the post-election ‘town hall’ listening tour taken by Mr. Malloy. The purpose, says his staff, is to "road test" his own ideas and to gather business le…

Pauline Kezer, A Late Entrée For Republican Party Chairman

Former Secretary of State Pauline Kezer slipped through a crack in the open door just as Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy was stepping out quietly into that good night.

In losing Mr. Healy, who had decided to retire as party chairman, the great difficulty for Republicans always was: Who do you replace him with?

The herd of applicants has thinned somewhat since the end of the midterm elections.

By May 24, when Mr. Healy announced he was not running for the position, ten Republicans had announced their availability. By June 14, when Republican Party Central met to interview candidates, several had dropped out in deference to William Aniskovich.

Two days later, columnist Kevin Rennie of the Hartford Courant dropped his stink bomb. Mr. Aniskovich, Mr. Rennie said, had cultivated an unsavory connection with disgraced former Republican Governor John Rowland, now a rehabilitated talk show host, and he had, years earlier while serving in the General Assembly, cheated on his wife.

Mr. Ren…

Dodd’s Last Cuban Fling

Laura Colarusso of the Daily Beast reported on former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd’s last trips before becoming a Hollywood mogul:

“And being a short-timer doesn’t have to crimp anyone’s style. Take former Sen. Chris Dodd, the Democrat from Connecticut. After announcing in January 2010 that he wouldn't seek reelection, Dodd traveled to Brazil, Argentina, India, Spain, and the United Kingdom on the taxpayers’ dime. As chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, he signed off on close to $27,000 worth of foreign travel for himself, including a $2,000 trip to Cuba just before leaving office. A spokesman for the Motion Picture Association of America, Dodd’s new employer, said that the former senator’s trips were ‘especially important to bilateral and multilateral relations and the global harmonization of financial regulations.’"The $2,000 tax payer trip to Cuba possibly was undertaken to bid a fair fond farewell to Cuba’s dictator, Fidel Castro. Mr. Dodd and Mr. Cast…

Polls Spank Malloy

The most recent poll from the Yankee Institute shows Governor Dannel “The Vozhd” Malloy blowing bubbles below the water line.

“Voters oppose by wide margins every Malloy administration initiative tested in the survey:
• On the budget deal, 57% of voters say the new state budget agreement ‘spends too much and raises taxes too much,’ while 39% describe it as ‘about as good as could be expected given a weak economy.’
• On the labor union concessions, 49% of voters say state employee unions ‘did not give up enough and should have been asked for more,’ while 36% say ‘the unions did give up a lot.’
• By a margin of 60-30%, voters describe the $572 million New Britain busway project as ‘a bad use of taxpayer money.’
• By a margin of 56-25%, voters describe the $864 million UConn Health Center expansion as ‘a bad use of taxpayer money.’”During the next legislative season, Mr. Malloy plans to travel about the state attempting to convince easily duped businessmen that Plan A, which includes a do…

Powell On The Malloy Budget

In a brilliant column -- "Is there any future in Connecticut outside of government?" -- managing editor of the Journal Inquirer Chris Powell explores the parallels between 1991, the year in which Governor Lowell Weicker inaugurated his income tax, and 2011, the year of the Vozhd:

“Democratic leaders say voters soon will forgive the tax increases and be glad of state government’s restored solvency. Maybe or maybe not. While the first election after the legislative session of 1991, the session that enacted the state income tax, a session closely analogous to the session just concluded, returned a General Assembly with exactly the same Democratic majority as the one that enacted the income tax, the governor who insisted on the tax, Lowell P. Weicker Jr., was so unpopular that he decided against re-election in 1994 and even left the state for a while.”

Mr. Powell’s column (hit link above) is well worth reading in full.

The Enduring Palin

Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, as everyone knows by now, is a lightning rod for progressive dissatisfaction. At some point during her campaign for the Vice Presidency on the Republican ticket, one of her more enterprising critics produced a tea shirt emblazoned on the front with a misogynistic, not to say rude, message: “Sarah Palin Is a c**t.” Some were dissapointed when the tea shirt was not roundly denounced by Mrs. Palin’s usual critics, many of whom were graduates with advanced degrees from the feminist school of politics.

There is no sign of a let-up of Palinphobia among her more respectable critics. A Freedom of Information request having been submitted more than a year ago for the release of e-mails written by Governor Palin, the Washington the Post on Sunday morning offered to its on line readers “a full searchable text… [of] Sarah Palin's e-mails from her time as governor of Alaska from 2006-2008.”

For the politically prurient, here is a partial list of topics:


The Vozhd

The budget submitted by Governor Dannel Malloy to the Democratic dominated General Assembly and approved by the legislature – although a pending deal between Mr. Malloy and state union workers requiring union givebacks of $1.6 billion had not been affirmed by the unions at its passage – is best seen as the inevitable political end piece of the first Weicker budget.

The presumptions underlying Governor Lowell Weicker’s 1991 budget parallel Mr. Malloy’s. Indeed, the two budgets, as well as the political maneuvering involved in passing them, are nearly mirror images.

Pelosi Changes Mind On Weiner

The decision on whether U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner will remain in the congress should be made, former Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, by Mr. Weiner and his New York constituents. But over the weekend the lady changed her mind.

Declining to call for Mr. Weiner’s resignation, Mrs. Pelosi had instead asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether Weiner misused any government resources. Connecticut U.S. Reps John Larson and Rosa DeLauro concurred.

A recent poll of registered voters in Weiner's district showed 56 percent of those surveyed saying Mr. Weiner should remain in office, while 33 percent said he should be dumped. Mr. Weiner, a seven term Democrat who admitted to sending over the internet sexually explicit photos to half a dozen women over the past three years, declined to resign.

Mr. Weiner received additional support from Rep. Charles Rangel, recently censured by the House last year for ethics violations. Mr. Rangel pointed out that other members o…

Hill Announces Candidacy For The U.S. Senate As A Republican

Brian Hill, a former active duty military officer and JAG attorney who has an active law practice in Hartford, has announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate as a Republican.

“Our country is in trouble,” Mr. Hill said. “We have too much debt; a Congress that doesn't respect the Constitution; bureaucrats who do not recognize the people, and an unprecedented attack on the freedoms of business. The consequences of these policies and the culture of dependency they create can be seen by the failure in our inner cities and through the tragic destruction of many working class families oppressed by the welfare state. I am running because I know that to get America back on her feet we need to get the government out of the way.”

The owner of BKH & Associates, a law firm in downtown Hartford, Mr. Hill is a Connecticut native licensed to practice law in Connecticut, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and the Court of Federal Claims. He is a member of the Ha…

UBS To Connecticut: Top This

Further evidence, as if any were necessary, that “leveling the playing field” between Connecticut and New York tilts the playing field in favor of New York, Massachusetts and  New Jersey -- whose job hungry governor, Chris Christie, is waiting over the line to catch Connecticut businesses that tumble into his hands –  is offered by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of the Big Apple.

There has been some chatter that USB, the large Swiss bank that has its North American headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy’s old political stomping grounds, may move back to New York, a prospect that has Mr. Bloomberg swooning with delight, though he manages to conceal his expectant joy in the usual political Blah, according to CBS in New York:

“Asked what it would mean, Mayor Michael Bloomberg had a bullet list.

“’More jobs, more tax base, great thing. I’ve been saying for the last ten years there’s a reason to come to New York – not knocking Stamford or any other place,’ said Bloomberg. ‘P… To Connecticut -- Get Lost!

Notices from (see below) are in the e-mail. The most poignant line in the "flake off" letter is this one: “If you are not currently a resident of Connecticut, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here.” Ah yes, a future connection with beckons – from more tax friendly states elsewhere.

Thanks Governor Danell Maloy. Thanks House Speaker Chris Donovan. Thanks President of the Senate Don Williams. The recipient of the letter below was an independent seller of hard to find books, a small business man now looking for a job in hardscrabble Connecticut.

From: Associates Program []
Sent: Friday, June 10, 2011 5:05 AM
Subject: Notice of Contract Termination Due to New Connecticut Law

Hello,For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with thousands of Connecticut residents. Unfortunately, the budget signed by Gove…

Idiot “Comedian” Apologizes To Palin, Sort Of

Former Governor of Alaska and Republican nominee for Vice President Sarah Palin snaked her way into Massachusetts through Connecticut with minimal notice. But when she arrived in the Patriot State, she was besieged by ill-wishers after she had “mangled” a historical reference to Paul Revere’s ride.

In a 2’fer, an assassination “joke” by “comedian” Christopher Titus targeted both Sarah Palin and the Kennedy family.

Mr. Titus joked that if Sarah Palin became president, he would “hang out on the grassy knoll all the time, just loaded and ready," after which he offered an apology:
“While sitting in a comedy club with another comedian doing a podcast after listening to Sarah Palin’s stupid comments about Paul Revere -- something we all learned about in the first grade -- I popped off. More than anything, I made a joke about a horrible tragedy that befell a great President. To the Kennedy family, my heartfelt apologies. To Ms. Palin’s family, this would infuriate me if it were said abou…

Office Of Fiscal Analysis To Malloy: Your Budget Doesn’t Compute

The guys and gals who work at the Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) are the “go to” people for legislators who do not carry an Encyclopedia Britannica around in their heads. Throw some number on the floor before them and they can tell you if the numbers are accurate or fictional. Even on a bad day, they can tell you how many angels fit on the head of a pin. And in our statistical age, when every “non-partisan” agency is connected at the hip to fiercely partisan politicians, the OFA is genuinely non-partisan -- in the way that math or water is non-partisan.

Having examined the estimated savings in the Governor Dannel Malloy-SEBAC budget, the OFA has found that 60% of the savings claims made therein are UNVERIFIABLE.

The bad news was brought to the attention of the general public by Keith Phaneuf of CTMirror:

“Nonpartisan legislative analysts say they can vouch for less than 40 percent of the $1.6 billion in labor savings figured into the next biennial budget, and are unable to assess the…

Rand Paul on Liberty

Rand Paul, lover of liberty, explains the connection between abortion and toilets.

Weiner And The Etiquette Of Admission

The first rule is this: If you are going to put yourself through the trouble of admission, no qualifiers will be allowed. You cannot say, “Yes, it is true that I allowed my bachelor’s pad in Washington D.C. to be used by an acquaintance as a bordello servicing both gay and straight clients, but…

A “but” is a backdoor exit to your national humiliation and will not escape the notice of the usually soporific mainstream media, which tends to be more forgiving of so called “sins of the flesh” committed by Democrats such as U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, an out of the closet gay guy who, several years ago, provided one of his friends the opportunity to frolic with his clients in his Washington D.C. bordello. Mr. Frank was exposed by the frothing right wing media. The exposure, however, put no serious dent in the congressman’s bumper; and, after a few months, Mr. Frank was permitted to get along with his congressional business, joining former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, now a Hollywood mogul, in impos…

Pot And Transgenderism: Democrats And Their Social Gospel

Pot smokers in the state might want to send an e-mail thanks and big busses to Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, who broke a 18-18 tie in the Senate on a bill that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana, if they can navigate the keyboard.

Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, explained the raison d’etre of the bill: "We are not enforcing the use of illegal drugs. We strongly disapprove of their use, but we're trying to realign their punishment that is more appropriate.” Mr. Looney said the state, which apparently can’t chew gum and walk at the same time, “should be focusing its scarce criminal justice resources on dangerous offenders,” according to a story in the Stamford Advocate. It’s not clear how anyone might “enforce the use of illegal drugs.” It is clear that sloppy thought leads ineluctably to sloppy language.

Sen. Toni Boucher, who opposes the legalization of marijuana, was able to prevail upon her Democratic colleagues to amend the bill so that p…

Malloy s GAAP Falls Through The Gap: Trouble In Paradise

Much fuss was made during the gubernatorial campaign by former Mayor of Stamford Dannel (then Dan) Malloy concerning the adoption of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), the subject of Governor Malloy’s very first Executive Order.

The old way of accounting, which had given rise to budget finagling that allowed governors and legislators less scrupulous than Mr. Malloy to fudge budget figures, was supposed to give way to GAAP, an accounting process that would scrub politics of distasteful gimmickry.

“An implementer bill passed Tuesday by the House,” according to a story in CTNewsJunkie, “postpones the full implementation of GAAP until 2014 and eliminates the $1.5 billion deficit a transition to GAAP would create. But it also promises to spend about $100 million a year over the next 15 years starting in 2014 to pay down the $1.5 billion GAAP deficit and in order to ensure that deficit doesn’t grow it allocates about $75 million in fiscal year 2013 and $50 million in 2014.”