Budget Battle Joined

A NOTE: Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele will be joining us on Thursday, February 5th, at 3:30 to discuss the budget. Please be sure to stop by and ask a question! He’ll be talking with commenters on the site for about an hour.

A quick rundown of budget-related news:

State Employee Unions Offer Concessions

SEBAC delivered a letter to Gov. Rell today offering concessions, but they do not want the governor to cut necessary services. You can read their letter here.

Better Choices Kicks off Campaign

A coalition of nonprofit providers, public service workers, and community and advocacy organizations released their own alternative budget plan on Monday, called Better Choices for Connecticut. It’s an interesting alternative that would balance the budget by increasing income taxes on the wealthiest, raising cigarette and alcohol taxes, scaling back tax breaks for the wealthiest, increasing the sales tax to 7.0% and reform corporate taxes. You can read the plan here (PDF). Take a look at a few charts:

betterctchart_tn

betterctincometaxchart_tn

You can also read about the unveiling of the plan here at CTNJ. I doubt that the governor or the legislature will enact this plan in full, but don’t be surprised if some of these ideas don’t make it to what the legislature’s passed budget.

Other News

State agencies are preparing for cuts, however. Many agencies will probably feel cuts before the year is done, it’s hard to imagine a budget that doesn’t have some cuts in it.

Interestingly, it looks like the governor will be proposing some sort of Connecticut version of the Civilian Conservation Corps to help the unemployed. Rell’s father, it turns out, worked with the CCC during the Great Depression.

The Old State House will be opening its doors to the public tomorrow for a television viewing of the governor’s budget address. If you want to watch the governor speak in style, surrounded by history, this is a great opportunity. Doors open at 11am. I wish I could go!

Lastly, expect some fierce responses to the governor’s speech from all three Democrats exploring runs for governor.

What do you think’s going to happen tomorrow?

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9 responses to “Budget Battle Joined

  1. AndersonScooper

    Will it be okay to ask him to give up his State Trooper/Driver?

    Anyway, I remember the last time Lt. Gov. Fedele was here, and that he was refreshingly frank and honest.

  2. When I worked during college at Connecticut State Parks, some of my co-workers were among the last who had started working seasonally for DEP during their 1980s version (Youth Conservation Corps? Not positive of the name).

    I have no problem with the idea — it’s good countercyclical expenditure and are state parks & forests are in a horrible state of disrepair. And much of the work that is needed isn’t sophisticated; most should not even require a civil engineer from perspective of being “shovel ready.”

    We probably will never see a true resurrection of the CCC.

    While it was not a paramilitary, the organization was by the Army and one impact it had was to start to build up healthy, disciplined citizens who would later serve in WWII. For members who had not grown up on successful farms, it was often the first good exercise and consistently health nutrition the received when they reported to their physical conditioning camps. The scale and speed of creating that organization was truly amazing.

    When they reported to the work camps, they worked under the guidance and instruction of locally hired craftsmen.

    Jobs Corps today carries on some of that legacy as a government run, residential vocational training program.

    More then just refreshing our parks, I wonder how many projects in our cities should be done. What side walks need rebuilding, what vacant lots need the trash removed, the weeds cut, the fences fixed up? What vacant buildings need to be renovated and resold as low cost housing? What good skills of discipline can be taught?

    Pardon me for a moment while I go retrieve a book from my nightstand…

    William James said, “The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

    It is this desire that lures many boys and girls into joining gangs and engaging in criminal activities. The average young criminal, according to E. P. Mulrooney, onetime Police Commissioner of New York, is filled with ego, and his first request after arrest is for those lurid nespapers that make him aout a hero. The disagreeable prospect of serving time seems remote so long as he can gloat over his likeness sharing space with pictures of sports figures, movie and TV stars and politicians.”

    Mulrooney served 1930-33 and I reckon that passage didn’t include the reference to TVs in 1936 when it was first published in Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People*.

    But I do think it still holds a fundamental truth.

    It wouldn’t take much arm twisting for me to agree to spending the funds that take urban youth, sends them through “basic training light” that focuses on physical conditioning, basic discipline (although not military discipline), and basic job skills; and then deploys them into urban work camps for a couple years. Give kids who would otherwise be in gangs or hanging out on the street a sense of having accomplished something good each day…while learning good habits, completing GEDs if necessary, etc.

    I’d much rather spend the money on a comprehensive program that will transform personalities for life for many of the participants then less money on minimum wage jobs that have kids returning to dysfunctional families each night.

    * And a tip of the hat to ACR — although it’s just recently I purchased the book, it’s been on my mind ever since his frequent references to it, normally griping about how Troopers *used* to behave as if they had been Dale Carnegie grads. I simply can not recommend the book more highly to those who haven’t read it, and wish I had back in college or earlier.

  3. Will it be okay to ask him to give up his State Trooper/Driver?

    He will, as soon as Biden does the same thing.

  4. * And a tip of the hat to ACR — although it’s just recently I purchased the book, it’s been on my mind ever since his frequent references to it, normally griping about how Troopers *used* to behave as if they had been Dale Carnegie grads. I simply can not recommend the book more highly to those who haven’t read it, and wish I had back in college or earlier.

    My late brother-in-law, a police officer, had me reading it at 14.

    He swore he could arrest someone with such finesse that they would thank him later.

    I suspected that was a little bravado until years later I saw someone actually do so with my own two eyes.
    (Too long a story for here, but it was someone I knew not-well from college; and he repeated it a year later at the school commissary as “a lucky break” too.)

  5. Increase Cigarette Taxes?

    Bad idea, we’re already suffering a bootleg percentage of 30% minimum.

    However, since we’re surrounded by markets with even higher excise tax levels on that product, *and* evidence indicates substantial interstate movement doesn’t occur until the retail price differential is in excess of 25 – 30%, what we could do is reduce our tax from $2.00 per-pack to $1.50 (a reduction of 5.30 total retail per-carton)

    Such a move would result in a net-gain of 110 MILLION annually.
    (Plus our retailers would wind up paying more income tax because they made more. Probably result in a few extra jobs too.)

    I can show the math if I have to; but the post would be pretty long.

  6. easthartfordtaxpayer

    One thing is interesting. The average Joe can barely pay their mortgage, much less lobby for their best interest, while the interests at risk by spending cuts mysteriously have a huge cash reserve to run ad blitzes to sway public opinion.

    Hmm… I wonder whose interests the legislators should pay attention to.

  7. SEBAC delivered a letter to Gov. Rell today offering concessions, but they do not want the governor to cut necessary services. You can read their letter here.

    Perhaps somebody can point out to exactly what “concessions” are being offered in this letter.

  8. Perhaps somebody can point out to exactly what “concessions” are being offered in this letter.

    They’re aren’t any, merely the hint that concessions might be made if the governor abides by the two non-negotiable demands listed in the letter, one of which is no cuts in services.

    This is not an invitation to compromise; it is a gauntlet thrown down to make clear to the governot that unions will not give up on the question of cuts in services,

  9. He swore he could arrest someone with such finesse that they would thank him later.

    Ayup.

    While I’ve seen some highly effective people before, and knew some of what they were doing, and I’ve done some of the things some of the time in the past…reading the book now makes me very conciously recognize how they’re acting and saying things to make people feel good even if trying to change behaviors.

    Anyway…the real point to this post is: wanna bet that book is dog eared and highlighted in Obama’s bookshelf? Even his mea culpa media blitz yesterday is straight out of Carnegie…”If you’re wrong admit it quickly and emphatically.”

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