Rell in a Cutting Mood

Gov. Rell has sent budget requests from state departments back with requests to cut spending even further, while vowing to protect so-called “core missions” of government.

“I will be proposing deep cuts in spending. Some will not like all of them. Some will not like any of them. But no program, no constituency and no project can be sacred — because no sector of our economy is unaffected,” she said.

Rell spoke broadly in her speech and in her comments afterward of preserving the core functions of state government.

“We look at public safety as a core mission. We look at education as a core mission. We look at certain things that we have expanded — taking care of those who are in need I think is a core mission of state government,” she told reporters. “But we have expanded in some of those areas above what is the basic core function and so I think the bottom is we simply have to get back to the basics, and we have to get back to what we can afford to pay for.” (Hughes)

Rell has also hired a labor lawyer to start negotiations with state employee unions.

So what are the basics? Put another way, what services and “missions,” if you will, are extra? Social workers at DCF? The state business advocate? The entire DECD? Highways and trains?

And should a tax increase of some sort to fund these core missions, whatever Rell sees them as, be the only thing entirely off the table? I suppose we’ll find out when the governor proposes her budget in February.

Source
Hughes, Paul. “Rell to state: Cut more.” Waterbury Republican-American 9 December, 2008.

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19 responses to “Rell in a Cutting Mood

  1. Well, this budget crunch is hitting a lot of states very hard. Although the NY Times had an article in Sunday’s Paper about the problems that North Dakota is having. Lawmakers are arguing about what to do with the record budget surplus (they’ve already raised state workers’ pay, provided income and property tax relief, and increased spending on education). There are 13,000 jobs that need to be filled, but they can’t find any workers. Microsoft is even having problems finding people to work in its Great Plains division in Fargo. Sales of automobiles are up strongly, leading to lower inventories at showrooms. At the state unemployment office, there are more state workers than clients looking for jobs.

  2. [quote]I suppose we’ll find out when the governor proposes her budget in February. [/quote]

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that Rell is required by law to submit another deficit mitigation plan to the legislature by the end of this month, no? Isn’t she required to do that as a result of the letter she received from Wyman earlier this month? I thought I read that somewhere.

  3. Having just returned from the Governor’s address to a MetroHartford Alliance breakfast, I am somewhat perplexed.

    On the one hand, Rell praised Obama for weighing the pros and cons of federal investments and coming out on the side of investing (and thus borrowing) to lessen the impact of the recession and speed its retreat.

    On the other hand, she firmly dispensed with any notion of state government borrowing to make the same sorts of investments.

    And that was after Webster bank CEO Jim Smith discussed the fact that “as businesses are ‘de-levering’, governments are realizing that their roles are to ‘up-lever’ to provide a sort of balance” to the economy.

    And while upgrading our infrastructure is a good idea, particularly with respect to bridges, Rell seems ready to throw money at any “shovel-ready” infrastructure project. While we upgrade our infrastructure, we need to be sure we do it in a way that does not perpetuate our reliance on fossil fuels. Infrastructure, of course, can (and should) include transit on the level of the most sophisticated metropolitan regions.

    As the slash and burn season approaches with the 2009 legislative session, I for one would like to see a clearly articulated set of principles from which Rell defines her priorities. Without them, you can bet it will just be politics as usual.

  4. Why NOT “perpetuate our reliance on fossil fuels”?

    That seems to be politics as usual to me, when people are losing the means to put food on the table and fuel in their furnace. Priority #1 should be to attempt to keep as many people employed as possible, with any means possible. That means freezing children have priority over your endangered osprey. Even better, let’s PROPOGATE Global warming further so there’s a greater need for a border-to-border sea wall that will provide jobs in the sand, bag, and construction industries.

    Otherwise, you’re putting plenty of people already dependent on oil… like the auto industry… out of business. Surely you can’t build windmills (that don’t require anyone to staff them) fast enough to replace the car salespeople and laborers being laid off.

    ———-
    I hope Rell moves faster. The Republicans need to start floating ideas soon so that Democrats can latch on to a hook or two to see what’s agreeable. Why does our legislature like to work so much as single units of Dems or Reps and not as individuals where one legislator can throw out an idea at a time to see what floats among the rest? Congress seems to do this (for better or worse). At least then you know who has some brains, balls and nerve to do something.

  5. BruceRubenstein

    deep cuts in the buget while we are in the strongest recession in 50 years…..just will increase the recession….we need to do in the state what the feds will be doing….stimulating our economy with WPA type projects, so that we keep people working….

  6. stimulating our economy with WPA type projects, so that we keep people working….

    Well, if you want to keep a few urban planners and environmental consultants employed, then by all means, let’s go for WPA type projects. However, if you want to employ construction workers, then WPA type projects won’t help, although their newborn children may someday be able to work on these projects.

    Like it or not, new infrastructure projects take a really long time to get going. Check out the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor, a rail line from DC to Charlotte. The timeline starts in 1992. In 1999, they began a tier 1 environmental impact study. The Tier 2 EIS is expected to be completed in 2011. After that, permit acquisition can begin, and then rail service can begin between 2015 and 2020. So it takes 16 to 21 years to build a rail line a few hundred miles, much of it on existing right of way. And this is not a weird example, it’s typical. They just have it all laid out on their website.

    So what type of WPA project could we do where we could waive the environmental studies first?

  7. CrankyYankee71

    Back to “core missions?” Why were we ever doing anything other than core government missions? This is a big part of the problem – we have come to expect that the government is going to be involved in everything. Our first reaction, too often, is that we need the government to be involved in every issue and problem. Self-sufficiency and taking care of our neighbor (without govenrmnet) is the way to go.

    Yes, let’s get back to a core government mission and not go beyond it in the future. Our expectations and spending are not sustainable.

  8. Bruce,

    The Feds can print money, the state cannot…….. The Feds can run a deficit the state cannot. Where does the state get the money to fund a $6 billion dollar deficit, and fund WPA type projects so we can keep people working?

    Where do you think this $6 billion dollar deficit came from in the first place? It certainly didn’t come from state workers losing their jobs so they cannot pay income taxes.

    We have already bonded ourselves way over our head. We have underfunded tens of billions to our state worker and teacher pensions, and billions more to the state worker healthcare benefits.

    Meanwhile the very people who pay the vast majority of taxes in this state are not generating anyway near the income they were to support our already out of control state spending appetite. Again I ask where does all this money come from?

    I might agree with your post if the General Assembly and Governor hadn’t already spent our way into a corner that leave us with very few ways out. They missed their chances to make cuts to the budget and control their wasteful ways when it made sense. Now they must do both it simply because they never counted on a real rainy day, just a lot of fog to keep everyone in the dark.

  9. The Governor of Illinois just got arrested…

  10. [quote comment=”39125″]

    Self-sufficiency and taking care of our neighbor (without government) is the way to go.

    Yes, let’s get back to a core government mission and not go beyond it in the future. Our expectations and spending are not sustainable.[/quote]

    I’ve no idea where you came from….but I’ll buy you a coffee anytime; you “get it”.

  11. [quote comment=”39126″]Bruce,

    The Feds can print money, the state cannot…….. The Feds can run a deficit the state cannot. Where does the state get the money to fund a $6 billion dollar deficit, and fund WPA type projects so we can keep people working?

    Where do you think this $6 billion dollar deficit came from in the first place? It certainly didn’t come from state workers losing their jobs so they cannot pay income taxes.

    We have already bonded ourselves way over our head. We have underfunded tens of billions to our state worker and teacher pensions, and billions more to the state worker healthcare benefits.

    Meanwhile the very people who pay the vast majority of taxes in this state are not generating anyway near the income they were to support our already out of control state spending appetite. Again I ask where does all this money come from?

    I might agree with your post if the General Assembly and Governor hadn’t already spent our way into a corner that leave us with very few ways out. They missed their chances to make cuts to the budget and control their wasteful ways when it made sense. Now they must do both it simply because they never counted on a real rainy day, just a lot of fog to keep everyone in the dark.[/quote]
    Excellent points.

  12. I think that Transportation and Public Safety (in that order, because without roads, you can’t get anywhere) are government’s priorities. Basic education (no frills for public servants- a health and retirement plan comparable to private sector workers is just) is there as well, but i we cut a number of government mandates, then you return local control and drop the price tag significantly.

    I can tell you what we can cut: The Governor’s $10 million a year stem cell research grants, the Office on the Permanent Status of Women (I think women are here to stay, guys… ), and we can probably lease half of the DOT HQ in Rocky Hill to Pep Boys. I state DOT doesn’t actually do most of the construction projects- most are contracted -do they really need such a huge building? I know DPS is much smaller.

    Oh, and let’s cut ALL of our commercials on TV. Lotto commercials are everywhere, and the Govenor herself must have a dozen commercials. Why?!

  13. The charges being laid at the feet of the Illinois Gov. make John Rowland’s crimes look petty. Imagane if Blagojech were the Gov. of CT and something like this happened. The Courant would run the story on page A-10. Colin McEnroe in his infinite wisdom would call it an “honest mistake” (like he did when Sandy Berger stuffed documents down his pants…and he wasn’t joking). Tom Swan would be too busy eating another cheeseburger to care. And of course the Prosecuter who was beloved for his role in the Valerie Plame affair would now be associated with Kenneth Starr…that one is probably going to happen anyways.

    *Colin McEnroe also said that Dan Rather’s made up story about George Bush’s National Guard records was no big deal because there was “probably” some truth to them. Now that’s great journalism !!!

  14. Wonder how this will affect Hillary’s seat in NY. The Kennedy clan seems to be working overtime in selling Caroline to Gov Patterson. Promises of unleashing their fundraising machine for the benefit of the Gov if he names Caroline.

    Seems eerily like buying a senate seat….

  15. AndersonScooper

    Yay Tom! Let’s go all-in with another round of guilt by association.

    I mean the two situations are obviously so analagous….

  16. [quote post=”2406″]Yay Tom! Let’s go all-in with another round of guilt by association.
    I mean the two situations are obviously so analagous…. [/quote]

    Be fair now. The word “Senator” is used in both instances. And “Governor.” Of course Mr. Doniphon would be led to assume they are analagous.

  17. >>Seems eerily like buying a senate seat….

    Yes – but that way as opposed to a direct check would be legal.

    Those Kennedy’s aren’t stupid ya know.

    Besides; Caroline’s not like her drunken idiot arrogant cousins thanks to being brought up by a mother who was smart enough to keep her pretty much off the Cape by the time Caroline was a teenager.

    I have never witnessed much-less even heard of Caroline ever acting like her cousins; who I witnessed personally misbehaving and just generally acting like complete assh*les more times than I can count.

    Joe was the worst, by a long shot.

  18. >>and we can probably lease half of the DOT HQ in Rocky Hill to Pep Boys.

    That would probably raise the average IQ in the building by at least 10 points as well.

  19. North Dakota collects income taxes from its residents utilizing four tax brackets.

    For single taxpayers:
    — 2.1 percent on the first $31,850 of taxable income.
    — 3.92 percent on taxable income between $31,851 and $77,100.
    — 4.34 percent on taxable income between $77,101 and $160,850.
    — 5.04 percent on taxable income between $160,851 and $349,700.
    — 5.54 percent on taxable income of $349,701 and above.

    For married persons filing joint returns:
    — 2.1 percent on the first $53,200 of taxable income.
    — 3.92 percent on taxable income between $53,201 and $128,500.
    — 4.34 percent on taxable income between $128,501 and $195,850.
    — 5.04 percent on taxable income between $195,851 and $349,700.
    — 5.54 percent on taxable income of $349,551 and above.
    North Dakotans who are Native American are not subject to state income tax and do not have to file a state return if certain conditions are met.
    North Dakota income tax returns are due on April 15 or the next business day if that date falls on a weekend or holiday.

    Sales tax
    North Dakota’s sales tax rate is 5 percent.
    Local subdivisions are also allowed to levy a sales and use tax. This tax rate generally ranges from 1 percent to 3 percent.
    Taxpayers may be eligible for a refund of some local sales taxes they paid by filing this form. More information on the refund can be found here.

    Personal and real property taxes
    For the most part, personal property is exempt from property tax. Personal property of utilities companies that are assessed by the State Board of Equalization is subject to property tax.
    Household personal property, inventories, and machinery and equipment used in trade or manufacturing are exempt from property taxes.
    A mobile home used as a residence or place of business is also subject to a property tax.
    Strong economic results in North Dakota over the last few years allowed the state legislature in 2007 to offer $115 million in property tax relief. The relief is provided to homeowners, land owners and commercial property owners. Click here for details on the various types of property tax relief.
    One of the relief programs is the homestead property tax relief program for qualifying homeowners and renters who are age 65 or older (unless the applicant is permanently and totally disabled). For a husband and wife who are living together, only one may apply for the homeowner’s credit or renter’s refund. Only the spouse applying for the credit or refund need be 65 years of age or older. Qualifying applicants must have an income that does not exceed $17,500.
    Click here for more publications on North Dakota property taxes.

    Inheritance and estate taxes
    There is no inheritance tax in North Dakota.
    North Dakota has an estate tax based on a decedent’s total gross estate and limited to the credit for state death taxes allowed on the federal estate tax return. However, since the federal credit for state estate tax payments has been phased out, the North Dakota estate tax is effectively not imposed.

    Other North Dakota tax facts
    North Dakota taxpayers can check the status of their state returns online.
    North Dakota does not tax intangible personal property.

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