Budget Conversation with Lt. Governor Michael Fedele

Please join me in welcoming Connecticut’s Lt. Governor back to Connecticut Local Politics! He’ll be joining us in the comments section to talk about the budget recently proposed by the governor. Please post questions there, and he will answer as many as he is able.

Welcome!

Lt. Governor Fedele Converses with CTLP Readers on February 5th, 2009

Lt. Governor Fedele Converses with CTLP Readers on February 5th, 2009

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76 responses to “Budget Conversation with Lt. Governor Michael Fedele

  1. Hey, thanks Lt. Governor!

    My question is a simple one. Is your State Trooper detail/driver necessary?

    With the State in such bad budget shape, is that something you could forego?

    If you did, I’d do my level best to get both Donovan and Williams to give up their respective drivers….

  2. Colchester Republican

    Lt. Gov. Fedele,

    Thanks for doing this! First, I’d be remiss if I didn’t invite you out to Colchester for our Lincoln Day dinner on Friday, March 6. We would be honored if you could attend!

    My question is about our revenue streams and available funds. Is there a concern that by securitizing some of our revenue streams and using the “Rainy Day Fund” that we will be leaving CT vulnerable to future situations like the one we are in now? If that is a concern, what are Gov. Rell’s plans to reestablish this safety net?

    Thanks,

    Gregg Schuster
    Chairman, Colchester Republican Town Committee

  3. My question is a simple one. Is your State Trooper detail/driver necessary?

    This is an interesting question and I thank you for asking it. The topic of executive protection is not a well known subject to most people other than those closely involved in the executive branch or in law enforcement. Here in Connecticut, the Governor’s Security Unit Division of the State Police provides executive protection for the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, the Governor’s Office and Governor’s Residence.

    The Department of Public Safety (DPS) determined that it was necessary to provide a security detail for the Lieutenant Governor’s Office based on threat evaluations long before I took office. Prior to my term, Lt. Gov’s Sullivan, Rell and Groark all had security details assigned to them as threats do exist. Consequently, DPS provides me with a state trooper for all events in which I am attending as part of my official duties and responsibilities. In fact, since taking office in 2007 my office has received legitimate threats. Fortunately, nothing has resulted from them, however all concerned parties agreed that absent a detail it may not have turned out so well.

    Forty-five states have a lieutenant governor, of which many provide a security detail that usually consists of a member of the Governor’s security unit. Those states find it necessary take measures to protect and secure the official that would assume the role of Governor should the necessity arise. In fact, over the past decade, seventeen Lieutenant Governors or other “first in line of succession” positions have assumed the role of Governor by virtue of their office. Currently, there are six sitting Governors who have ascended to the Governor’s Office during their term as Lieutenant Governor–fresh in our mind is Gov. Quinn in Illinois, Gov. Heineman in Nebraska, Gov. Brewer of Arizona, Gov. Paterson of New York, Gov. Perry of Texas and of course our Governor, M. Jodi Rell here in Connecticut.

  4. Lt. Governor Fedele,

    Thanks for coming on. I’m wondering if you could talk a bit about the closing of the courthouses in Bristol and Meriden. There are some, Rep. Lawlor among them, who believe this is going to increase the amount of plea bargains each year because the courts will be overcrowded. Gov. Rell didn’t mention this is her speech so I’m wondering if you could give us your thoughts on it.

    Thanks!

  5. My question is about our revenue streams and available funds. Is there a concern that by securitizing some of our revenue streams and using the “Rainy Day Fund” that we will be leaving CT vulnerable to future situations like the one we are in now? If that is a concern, what are Gov. Rell’s plans to reestablish this safety net?

    The Gov. has tried not to use the Rainy Day fund and not to securitize any of our savings. However our funding stream or lack there of has caused us to use these funds to fill in the budget deficit. I can assure if and when the Economy turns around one of our first priority will be to replenish the Rainy Day Fund.

  6. If you did, I’d do my level best to get both Donovan and Williams to give up their respective drivers….

    Better yet, Get Nappier, Blumenthal, Bysiewicz, and Wyman to give up their drivers.

  7. Lt. Governor–

    Gosh, I would think Chris Donovan and/or Don Williams would be the ones getting the death threats and needing protection. Particularly in the coming session, when it seems pretty clear the Dems are going to be increasing everyone’s taxes.

    But I appreciate the researched answer!

  8. Thanks for coming on. I’m wondering if you could talk a bit about the closing of the courthouses in Bristol and Meriden. There are some, Rep. Lawlor among them, who believe this is going to increase the amount of plea bargains each year because the courts will be overcrowded. Gov. Rell didn’t mention this is her speech so I’m wondering if you could give us your thoughts on it.

    The Gov looked at trying to save money through consolidations of agencys and in some cases facilties. We do not believe that closing these courthouses we force Judges to issue more pleas. The Governor and I feel that Judges will uphold the law irrespective of how many court houses we have.

  9. When do you expect funds from President Obama’s rescue plan to come into the state, and what percentage of the expected funds will be immediately available on what conditions?

  10. Thanks again to the Lt. Governor for being here. If anyone who is out there watching wants to ask a question but is not registered, please go ahead and do so! You’ll get an email confirmation relatively quickly, and be able to come back here and ask your question within a matter of minutes.

    I’m going to post a question that a reader who could not be here sent in, as it relates to the previous question:

    from GM:
    Lt. Gov. Fedele – What is the basis for the proposed closing of two courthouses (Bristol and Meriden) and how will the process work, given it is a directive to another branch? Do you think the Judiciary will actually close the courthouse or make cuts elsewhere and attempt to keep the courthouses open?

  11. Personally I want to thank you and the Governor for taking the position that taxes shouldn’t be increased. Unfortunately, judging from Speaker Donovan’s remarks, he doesn’t understand that increasing taxes on a population that is already having trouble paying them (that’s how we get a deficit!) would only compound the problem. Your thoughts on that?

  12. When do you expect funds from President Obama’s rescue plan to come into the state, and what percentage of the expected funds will be immediately available on what conditions?

    I’m hoping once the Congress and the President signs the bill that we will see the funds soon. We can use the funds to stimulate jobs and get our residents back to work!

  13. Lt. Governor Fedele,

    Thanks for being here today to answer our questions. I attended a chamber breakfast a few months ago and you were one of the speakers; you discussed placing economic development as something you wanted to focus on during your term as Lt Gov.

    Gov. Rell announced that she planned to merge some of our state’s economic development agencies, both state and quasi-public…my question is, do you think that move is wise? How do you think these mergers will affect our state over the long run? What are your goals for these agencies to accomplish to accomplish?

  14. Lt. Governor Fedele,

    Thanks for being here today to answer our questions. I attended a chamber breakfast a few months ago and you were one of the speakers; you discussed placing economic development as something you wanted to focus on during your term as Lt Gov.

    Gov. Rell announced that she planned to merge some of our state’s economic development agencies, both state and quasi-public…my question is, do you think that move is wise? How do you think these mergers will affect our state over the long run? What are your goals for these agencies to accomplish?

  15. from GM:Lt. Gov. Fedele – What is the basis for the proposed closing of two courthouses (Bristol and Meriden) and how will the process work, given it is a directive to another branch? Do you think the Judiciary will actually close the courthouse or make cuts elsewhere and attempt to keep the courthouses open?

    The closings were based on case load and cost to operate.

  16. Personally I want to thank you and the Governor for taking the position that taxes shouldn’t be increased. Unfortunately, judging from Speaker Donovan’s remarks, he doesn’t understand that increasing taxes on a population that is already having trouble paying them (that’s how we get a deficit!) would only compound the problem. Your thoughts on that?

    The Gov and I totally agree and that is why you do not see any tax increases in the budget presented yesterday.

  17. Gov. Rell announced that she planned to merge some of our state’s economic development agencies, both state and quasi-public…my question is, do you think that move is wise? How do you think these mergers will affect our state over the long run? What are your goals for these agencies to accomplish to accomplish?

    I believe these changes will be good for Economic Devlp. By consolidating some agency’s business will have one stop shopping available to them with some gret synergy’s.

  18. Thanks for the prompt answer. You must be aware that not all of the funds promised will be immediately available. The figure most often cited is 7% of the bailout will be released within the year. The bulk is to be released later, possibly as late as 2010 when, some economists believe, the recession will be on the way out. I’m just wondering if these funds are central to the budget strategy of the governor and the Democrats in the legislature.

  19. Lt. Governor–

    From your bio it sounds as if you’ve had a very, very successful business career.

    Have you ever thought about foregoing the Lt. Governor’s salary of $110,000/year? (Governor Corzine did this in NJ.)

    A gesture like that would really mean something in this belt-tightening period.

  20. Connecticut Yankee

    Hi, and thank you for making yourself available for this.

    Question: Since watchdog agencies are quasi-independent accountability officers, is the Governor’s proposal to eliminate some watchdog entities, move other watchdogs/advocates to the AGs office, and establish an OPM Office of Accountability just a reshuffling of the deck, albeit with more control over the watchdogs? And wouldn’t the AG’s role be in conflict with the watchdog/advocates, since the AGs office represents the agencies and their administrators?

    I don’t mean to be antagonistic if it comes across that way, but can you answer in terms of good government principals as well as cost savings? Thank you.

  21. Thanks for the prompt answer. You must be aware that not all of the funds promised will be immediately available. The figure most often cited is 7% of the bailout will be released within the year. The bulk is to be released later, possibly as late as 2010 when, some economists believe, the recession will be on the way out. I’m just wondering if these funds are central to the budget strategy of the governor and the Democrats in the legislature.

    We are being told by our CT congressional delegation that the funds for Medicad and Education will be available immediately and that the “shovel ready dollars” will follow shortly. The dollars for Medcaid and Education are the only ones that the Gov used in her budget.

  22. Lt Governor,
    Currently the state has a liabilty to the State Employees Retirement Programs that totals in excess of $41Billion (Pensions and Retirement Health Care). As best I can tell there are about $7.3Billion (according to the Treasurer’s Wbb page as of 10/31/08) of assets in the Pension trust, and nothing else held to fund these liabilities. Seems to me we’re in a huge hole that is to explode on State government (and the taxpayers). what are your thoughts on this?

  23. Lt. Gov Fedele,

    Thanks for your answer on the court closings. Will the tuition at state universities be raised in the next FY?

  24. Have you ever thought about foregoing the Lt. Governor’s salary of $110,000/year? (Governor Corzine did this in NJ.)

    And by all means, please don’t try to hire any former Speakers of the House for $120,000 a year. Or a hack PR guy for $165,000 per year.

  25. Have you ever thought about foregoing the Lt. Governor’s salary of $110,000/year? (Governor Corzine did this in NJ.)

    If you can get all of the other Constitution office holders to agree I would not have a problem. I wouldn’t want it to look like I was showing them up! By the way yesterday was my furlough day and if you were watching the tube you would see I was working.

  26. Lt Governor,Currently the state has a liabilty to the State Employees Retirement Programs that totals in excess of $41Billion (Pensions and Retirement Health Care). As best I can tell there are about $7.3Billion (according to the Treasurer’s Wbb page as of 10/31/08) of assets in the Pension trust, and nothing else held to fund these liabilities. Seems to me we’re in a huge hole that is to explode on State government (and the taxpayers). what are your thoughts on this?

    Gov. Rell has been the only Governor in recent time to totally fund the Pension accounts over the past couple of years and she plans on doing the same this budget year. Unfortunately a number of Gov’s prior to her never did and now have created this whole that we need to dig ourselves out of.

  27. Hi Lt. Governor,

    Thanks for joining us!

    In mid-January, the Governor’s office set the projected 2010-2011 budget deficit at $8 Billion.

    The budget released yesterday seems to assume only a $6 Billion shortfall in 2010-2011.

    Did anything happen in the last two weeks to explain the difference? If not, why the discrepancy?

    Thanks again!

  28. Thanks for your answer on the court closings. Will the tuition at state universities be raised in the next FY?

    We believe that all State Universtaies can absorb the 5% cut without hitting students with a tution increase

  29. Connecticut Yankee

    Gov. Rell announced that she planned to merge some of our state’s economic development agencies, both state and quasi-public…my question is, do you think that move is wise? How do you think these mergers will affect our state over the long run? What are your goals for these agencies to accomplish to accomplish?

    I’m inclined to think economic development-related entities should be combined too, as should energy entities. Given David Osborn’s express recommendation that consolidations not be undertaken as cost savings measures (because turf battles lead to more bureaucracy rather than less), the proposed ED consolidation will take a lot of oversight and intense, proactive, artful management. But are we in a position to pull that off? If yes, how is that so?

  30. Good news and thanks again for coming on!

  31. In mid-January, the Governor’s office set the projected 2010-2011 budget deficit at $8 Billion.

    I don’t believe that it was the Gov’s office that issued that number. I believe that it was OFA (Office of Fiscal Analysis) that is a legislative reporting agency. Also the Gov’s budget agency is OPM (oofice of Policy & MGMT).

  32. Lt. Governor, my last try.

    What personal sacrifices are you making to help close the budget gap, (and of course to try to keep as many of my fellow Nutmeggers employed as possible.)

    Governor Rell has called for shared sacrifices and shared pain. Under her budget proposals, what will you be sacrificing? How much more will you be paying in taxes, fees, etc. (Sorry to use you as the e.g., but that’s what you get for agreeing to a live-blog!)

    And yes, I’ve got to admit that I think Governor Rell’s budget proposal to be highly regressive, hitting the lower quartile hard….

  33. I’m inclined to think economic development-related entities should be combined too, as should energy entities. Given David Osborn’s express recommendation that consolidations not be undertaken as cost savings measures (because turf battles lead to more bureaucracy rather than less), the proposed ED consolidation will take a lot of oversight and intense, proactive, artful management. But are we in a position to pull that off? If yes, how is that so?

    Yes it can be done. There are many positive reasons besides the dollars savings on why this should be done.

  34. And by all means, please don’t try to hire any former Speakers of the House for $120,000 a year. Or a hack PR guy for $165,000 per year.

    I’m sure a lot of people have seen Ken Dixon’s blog over the past month or so, specifically his posting of legislative salaries.

    The legislature seemed to give a lot of raises, above and beyond the 3% COLA, during the period when Ken posted the legislative salaries in March 2008 and January 2009. By doing simple math, one can easily see that a majority of legislative staffers got salary increases upwards of 8%.

    The private sector doesn’t even give raises like most legislative staffers got…whats going on there?

  35. Lt. Governor,

    Maybe you could talk about how the budget proposed to the legislature yesterday kept funding to towns and cities intact… what was the thinking behind that? Thanks.

  36. I don’t believe that it was the Gov’s office that issued that number. I believe that it was OFA (Office of Fiscal Analysis) that is a legislative reporting agency. Also the Gov’s budget agency is OPM (oofice of Policy & MGMT).

    With due respect, I do not believe that is correct. According to the JI:

    By mid-January, the Rell budget office had increased this year’s deficit to $922 million. More important, it estimated, without giving precise numbers, that the built-in shortfalls for 2010 and 2011 now approached a combined $8 billion, rather than $6 billion.

    So I re-assert my question:

    In mid-January, the Governor’s office set the projected 2010-2011 budget deficit at $8 Billion.

    The budget released yesterday seems to assume only a $6 Billion shortfall in 2010-2011.

    Did anything happen in the last two weeks to explain the difference? If not, why the discrepancy?

    Thanks!

  37. What personal sacrifices are you making to help close the budget gap, (and of course to try to keep as many of my fellow Nutmeggers employed as possible.)

    I’ve already returned over 15% of my budget and have cut 20% of my staff. I will continue to cut were appropriate to save our taxpayers dollars without impacting our service levels.

    With respect to my contribution to the State coffers, I can assure that I pay my fair share and continue to work hard to pay taxes so that we can provide services to those who need them.

  38. I’ve already returned over 15% of my budget and have cut 20% of my staff. I will continue to cut were appropriate to save our taxpayers dollars without impacting our service levels.

    Mua ha ha ha! This while the current Speaker tries to hire Amann for $120,000 a year, has a new $165,000 press guy, refused to accept a nominal paycut of 5% for legislators, and won’t give up the massive cash cow of taxpayer dollars for their campaigns.

    Can we get Donovan on here to ask what he’s doing?

  39. The private sector doesn’t even give raises like most legislative staffers got…whats going on there?

    I concur. I wish the legislative leadership on both sides of the aisle were on right now so maybe they could give you the reasons behind these increases.

  40. I concur. I wish the legislative leadership on both sides of the aisle were on right now so maybe they could give you the reasons behind these increases.

    And they are always welcome to do so!

  41. Maybe you could talk about how the budget proposed to the legislature yesterday kept funding to towns and cities intact… what was the thinking behind that? Thanks.

    By keeping the funding at the same levels in the budget to the Cities and Towns we are hoping that the homeowners in these communities will not be hit with personal property tax increases

  42. Lt. Governor–

    Thank you for being frugal with out tax $$$.

    And I’m sure you’re paying a lot into the system.

    But my bigger question was wanting to know in what way Governor Rell’s plan is going to affect you? When she says shared pain and sacrifices, is that just for State employees and the bottom half of the economic ladder?

    Again, I hate to make you my e.g. But I think it’s an extremely important point to make.

  43. With due respect, I do not believe that is correct. According to the JI:

    I’m not aware of the JI article. You can’t believe everything you read in the papers. I stand by my prior reply.

  44. I have a question, since there’s a little lull: How do you and the governor plan to sell your budget to the Democrats in the legislature? Are you in negotiations with legislative leadership?

  45. Lt Governor Fedele,

    It’s refreshing to see an upper-level politician sharing his views with his constituents in such an open format. Thank you for that.

    I’m intrigued by the proposal of a “middle college system.” I heard about this during the Governor’s speech and would like to know more. Can you elaborate on this?

    From what I’ve heard, I think this will be a great opportunity for students in CT.

  46. But my bigger question was wanting to know in what way Governor Rell’s plan is going to affect you? When she says shared pain and sacrifices, is that just for State employees and the bottom half of the economic ladder?

    I believe that the Gov. stated that she did not believe that State Employee’s created the problem but clearly are part of the solution.

    As a business owner I’m very concerned about my employees and the cost borne by all of us health care, emergy, and overall costs of doing business.

  47. I have a question, since there’s a little lull: How do you and the governor plan to sell your budget to the Democrats in the legislature? Are you in negotiations with legislative leadership?

    The Governor has offered her team to meet with the legislative leadership and their respective committes to work on the budget. The only way to get this budget done is for all of us to work together and put partisanship aside.

  48. Hey everyone–we have maybe ten more minutes. Last call for questions!

  49. I concur. I wish the legislative leadership on both sides of the aisle were on right now so maybe they could give you the reasons behind these increases.

    It’s too bad they aren’t…If they were, heck I’d love to ask them for a job. I wonder if the Speaker needs another press person? I wonder if his $165k PR guy will be getting a raise like that next year…

  50. I’m intrigued by the proposal of a “middle college system.” I heard about this during the Governor’s speech and would like to know more. Can you elaborate on this?

    Connecting the State’s Vo_tech H.S with Community Colleges will provide a “pathway” for these H.S. students to take College level courses at the H.S at no cost. This will position them after H.S. graduation to attend the CC and have a head start in a degree program. The tie in will also allow both schools to help in the re-training of unemployued works who will now be able to try a new profession.

  51. Fifty percent of success, says Woody Allen, is showing up. Thanks for showing up. It probably would not surprise you to learn that the honorable opposition sometimes likes to put sticks in the bicycle wheels of Republican budget proposals. Getting a budget passed in the face of organized opposition would require the governor to campaign for her proposals from the bully pulpit – as President Barack Obama now is doing. His latest is that if the stimulus package is not passed right now, the Republic will dissolve like a sugar cube in hot coffee. Talk about the politics of Fear! In the face of opposition how far are you and the governor prepared to go to sell your plan to the public?

  52. Connecting the State’s Vo_tech H.S with Community Colleges will provide a “pathway” for these H.S. students to take College level courses at the H.S at no cost. This will position them after H.S. graduation to attend the CC and have a head start in a degree program. The tie in will also allow both schools to help in the re-training of unemployued works who will now be able to try a new profession.

    I have to say, as someone who works in higher education (as librarian and adjunct faculty) I really like this idea. Makes a lot of sense.

  53. Please just say “All the way.”

  54. Fifty percent of success, says Woody Allen, is showing up. Thanks for showing up. It probably would not surprise you to learn that the honorable opposition sometimes likes to put sticks in the bicycle wheels of Republican budget proposals. Getting a budget passed in the face of organized opposition would require the governor to campaign for her proposals from the bully pulpit – as President Barack Obama now is doing. His latest is that if the stimulus package is not passed right now, the Republic will dissolve like a sugar cube in hot coffee. Talk about the politics of Fear! In the face of opposition how far are you and the governor prepared to go to sell your plan to the public?

    We are very committed. We’ve been working on this budget since October of 2008!

    By the way are you related to Joe?

  55. Please just say “All the way.”

    Ditto, “All the Way!”

  56. Lt. Governor–

    Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusettes, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakoa, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Isalnd, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

    All these states have top income tax brackets higher than Connecticut’s current 5%.

    Are you and Governor Rell sure we can’t afford to raise the income tax?

    data

  57. I have to say, as someone who works in higher education (as librarian and adjunct faculty) I really like this idea. Makes a lot of sense.

    Thanks I’m really excited about it also.

  58. Colchester Republican

    Lt. Governor,

    I’m happy to see the focus on reducing the size of our state government. It seems though that it takes a crisis such as this to bring things back in check. Would it be wise to consider a permanent commission who’s sole purpose is to continually review the size and structure of our government along with the relevance of some of our laws in order to always look for ways to slow the growth of government?

  59. Are you and Governor Rell sure we can’t afford to raise the income tax?

    To quote President Obama, “Raising taxes in this environment is not the solution”.

  60. By the way are you related to Joe?

    Yup. I’m the one without the dead bodies in the trunk.

  61. I’m happy to see the focus on reducing the size of our state government. It seems though that it takes a crisis such as this to bring things back in check. Would it be wise to consider a permanent commission who’s sole purpose is to continually review the size and structure of our government along with the relevance of some of our laws in order to always look for ways to slow the growth of government?

    Might be a good compromise.

  62. Okay, it’s just about 4:30! A huge thanks to Lt. Governor Fedele for coming to CTLP today and answering everyone’s questions. Conversations like this really show the strength of the medium in fostering more open communication between the people and their government.

    And thanks to everyone for such great questions!

  63. I have to say, as someone who works in higher education (as librarian and adjunct faculty) I really like this idea. Makes a lot of sense.

    I agree. I look forward to seeing the results of this program. With 2 kids currently in middle school, and one of them leaning towards attending one of the state’s Vo-Tech schools, I’m glad to see there is still a focus on improving education in all areas of our state’s education system.

  64. Thanks Lt. Governor Fedele. Much appreciated.

  65. Thanks for being part of my chat. I look forward to chatting with you in the future.

    Stay well and safe.

    LG

  66. Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusettes, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakoa, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Isalnd, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

    All these states have top income tax brackets higher than Connecticut’s current 5%.

    And how interesting that 7 of those states listed above were recently cited by U.S. News and World Report as the worst states to start businesses in.

    So what are you saying, TrueBlue/AScooper….

  67. Whoa Rooster!

    You’re not suggesting that Trueblue uses another screename here are you?….to appear to be multiple people?

    As the song says, “keeps everything in the farmyard…upset in every way”

  68. Thought Fedele did a good job here, even answering the most inane questions with dignity.

    “Yes, you say the sky is blue but it’s been proven to be just azurite…”

    “Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the HOV lane?”

    “If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that Acme junk, why didn’t he just buy dinner?”

  69. Ichabod Crane

    Ahhh, AndersonScooper/TrueBlueCT never fails to disappoint. Asking the most ridiculous questions with a straight face.

    First he wants LtGov Fedele to give up his security detail, then work for free.

    I’m SURE that if Don Williams came on here, those would not be the first two questions out of his mouth.

  70. TrueBlue is rather pathetic with her questions.

    Is LT Gov driver necessary?

    LG responded that there have been threats to the office holder over the years. I don’t recall TB ever asking the other constitutional officers if their drivers were necessary. Have there been THREATS against the state treasurer or comptroller — or are their drivers out of convenience or trying to build prestige to their office?

    Will the LG forgoe his salary?

    How pathetic is this. The legislature won’t give back 5% of their salary, which I seem to recall TrueBlue ridiculing. Blumie lives in a Greenwich mansion worth $7 million. Why don’t you ask him if he will work for free? I wonder if he has even worked a furlough day as the Governor requested?

    So the answer is Republican elected officials ride their bikes to work and work for free and raise taxes on everyone but you??

    TrueBlue — let me pose a question to you that you asked the LG.

    How will you be sacrificing?

    Cutting back on the can of Pringles in mommy’s basement? Hold off on the next XBox game? Cancel subscription to Mad Magazine?

  71. AndersonScooper

    Dude–

    You wingers are a bunch of whiners.

    The whole driver thing came up because of attacks on Donovan for having a $38,000/year driver. I suggested Donovan’s driver should go, as well as Fedele’s. I still believe that. Who are these guys? Royalty? (And this idea that the Lt. Governor is in danger is a joke. If you believe it, we need to get Donovan state trooper protection, as he is the one who people are going to be mad at, after he raises our taxes.)

    Foregoing the salary question I thought was a good one. And I’d ceertainly be glad to ask Blumenthal to forego his, although I think he works pretty hard for his $$$ (again, in an exhibition of bipartisanship, why don’t we join together in this?)

    Let me also say that $110,000/year is a lot of money to be paying someone with so few job duties, and who doesn’t seem to need it. The Lt. Governor could have showed some leadership. Instead he didn’t. And it’s not so unusual for wealthy top execs to forego salary during down cycles.

    In terms of the Legislature, they’re grossly underpaid. So I didn’t think it made sense for th0se guys, many of whom try to live off the $30,000/year, to make a big deal out of a 5% give-back when they should be focusing on the budget. However when it comes to the salaries of the Legislative Staff, I’m all for a roll-back of their recent raises. Let the GOP Legislators hear directly about how that type of concession can affect family budgets.

    In terms of my taxes/personal sacrifice, I am willing to cough up an extra percentage point or two if it is put towards reducing our growing unemployment problem. There is a good chance that 10% unemployment will do worse damage to my bottom line than a six or seven percent State income tax.

    But honestly, please tell me it’s not up to me to take the lead on this.

    Anyway, the question for our Republican leaders, Rell and Fedele, is whether when they speak of shared pain and sacrifices, do they really mean it? Or are they speaking like George Bush?

  72. LG responded that there have been threats to the office holder over the years. I don’t recall TB ever asking the other constitutional officers if their drivers were necessary. Have there been THREATS against the state treasurer or comptroller — or are their drivers out of convenience or trying to build prestige to their office?

    Maybe TB/AS should ask why the UCONN Football Coach gets a Police detail both home and away. They must all think they’re Bear Bryant

  73. AndersonScooper

    Hey, I’m not privy, but I can’t think of any thing the Lt. Governor actually does that might result in his being threatened.

    Particularly Lt. Gov. Fedele, as he seems like the world’s most likeable guy.

    However, the silly logic says that we should get every last one of our elected officials a driver. Starting with Chris Caruso? (I know he’s been threatened, right here on this blog.)

  74. “In terms of the Legislature, they’re grossly underpaid. So I didn’t think it made sense for th0se guys, many of whom try to live off the $30,000/year, ”

    Yes I suppose a few failures who can’t do better than $30,000 year unless they “work” for us taxpayers like Donovan do A.S…….. For the others who don’t and live off of the crumbs we throw on the floor for them to eat will you please tell me why they would spends thousands of taxpayers dollars to keep such an unpaid job?

  75. Well, I guess my question is why is the state not raising taxes on the corporations that are making record profits. Over the last 20 years, corporate taxes have declined 50%. Now in a time of hard economic times, the one area where taxes could easily come from without much pain, the LG, and the Governor have decided to cut the funding on those who were not rich enough to hire a bunch of lobbyists to keep their programs going.

    Corporations do not pay their fair share, over the last 20 years it has been we the people who have paid for the reduction in corporate taxes. We have to make up the slack for those unpatriotic CEOs. Yes, unpatriotic. They are loyal to only one thing, the almighty buck. Proof you ask? well look at the recent bail out of the banks and how many CEO salaries were cut??? Some companies make record profits, and are laying off people and reaping the rewards. Why should we not tax them? Go were the money is

  76. If Fedele is not provided a security detail 24/7, then how could any threats be considered a serious use of the state police. Given the lenght of time the practice has been allowed to continue, the lack of any arrests for such threats undermines this need.

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