Reactions to Budget Perfidy

And the Gubernatorial (exploring, of course) candidates begin to weigh in on the magical shifting budget deficit. Here is a statement from Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy (via email):

UPDATE: updated quote at 4:10pm:

This is part of a disturbing pattern of behavior. The Governor was clearly aware of the actual size of the deficit – about 8 billion dollars — and then, for political reasons chose to ignore so that she could claim to be producing a balanced budget with no tax increase. This is very similar to what happened with the maintenance facility at the New Haven rail station, when the Governor first claimed she did not know about the hundreds of millions of dollars in cost overruns – until it was later reported that, in fact, she had been present when the much higher number had been mentioned.

Leadership is about acknowledging the magnitude of the problem so that it can addressed in an honest and upfront way. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it worse.

This is part of a disturbing pattern of behavior. The governor was clearly aware of the size of the deficit and then for political reasons chose to ignore so that she could claim to be producing a balanced budget with no tax increase. This is very similar to what happened with the maintenance facility at the New Haven rail station when the governor first claimed she did not to know about the hundreds of millions of dollars in cost overruns until it was later reported that in fact, she had been present when the much higher number had been mentioned.

Leadership is about acknowledging the magnitude of the problem so that it can addressed in an honest and upfront way. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it worse.

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42 responses to “Reactions to Budget Perfidy

  1. Leadership is about acknowledging the magnitude of the problem so that it can addressed in an honest and upfront way. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it worse.

    Agree, and equally applicable to the Legislature, Unions, and all the other groups vying to avoid the reality of the budget problems.

  2. Isn’t it amazing that people who have not offered 1 penny of ideas to plug the deficit are complaining that $6 billion isn’t enough? Legislative Democrats and their mouthpieces on the blogs need to put something on the table instead of just taking potshots at the Governor’s effort.

  3. Isn’t it amazing that people who have not offered 1 penny of ideas to plug the deficit are complaining that $6 billion isn’t enough? Legislative Democrats and their mouthpieces on the blogs need to put something on the table instead of just taking potshots at the Governor’s effort.

    The party will but something forward in due time. Unlike the governor, we’re actually trying to come up with a sensible plan not thrown together at the whim of the wealthy using real and not imaginary numbers…..

  4. Isn’t it amazing that people who have not offered 1 penny of ideas to plug the deficit are complaining that $6 billion isn’t enough? Legislative Democrats and their mouthpieces on the blogs need to put something on the table instead of just taking potshots at the Governor’s effort.

    This makes no sense. It isn’t that $6b isn’t enough or too much…or that there are potshots being taken…it’s that it IS. Yes, Legislative Democrats need to come up with their own plan and offer solutions and that is exactly what the Committee process is doing now. Legislatures offer differently from Executive branches for a reason – they are a deliberative body and have different rules…like public hearings, committee votes, etc. Would you rather just dismiss the public’s right to be heard?

    And there are a lot of potshots that could be taken here against the governor, but I don’t see them – I see people desperately trying to grasp with the ridiculous fact that Rell refuses to acknowledge this gap. Frankly, I can’t believe they are holding back so much – we’re talking about $2b that everyone seems to agree about (including Rell and her staff in the not-so-distant past of a few weeks ago)! Either she knows she is wrong now and is being stubborn or she has to admit that her office is so inept that they made a $2b mistake a few weeks ago. Either way Dan Malloy is right – this is a disturbing pattern.

  5. Yes, Legislative Democrats need to come up with their own plan and offer solutions and that is exactly what the Committee process is doing now. Legislatures offer differently from Executive branches for a reason – they are a deliberative body and have different rules…like public hearings, committee votes, etc.

    And as the saying goes “A camel is a horse designed by committee.” I hope they can but my gut tells me they’re going to give birth to a three humped camel.

  6. scanman1722,

    “The party will but something forward in due time. Unlike the governor, we’re actually trying to come up with a sensible plan not thrown together at the whim of the wealthy using real and not imaginary numbers”

    Let’s hope the real and not imaginary numbers you say the Democrats are using to come up with a “sensible plan” are more real numbers than the ones they used when putting together years of sensible “balanced budgets” that have now left our state worker pensions and retire health care funds tens of billions under funded.

  7. In debates such as this one, I always like to look at the actual numbers. First, I think it’s confusing when people talk about budget deficits but don’t mention that these are two year cumulative deficits.

    OK, so there are two documents I am comparing. There’s the document from OPM, which is the governor’s office, which was apparently last updated on the 4th of February, but the financial statements say as of January 20th. Next, the Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) of the CT General Assembly has a budget document. this was dated on February 2.

    I only want to look at the revenue side. The OPM document has historical actuals broken down, I am going to assume that the historical data is not subject to dispute. Connecticut’s fiscal year ends on June 30th. So FY08 is for the 12 months ended June 30, 2008.

    Personal Income Tax. In the 2007/08 fiscal year (FY08), we took in $7.512 billion. In FY09, the budget called for 7.676 billion. OPM is expecting $6.9 billion, while the OFA is expecting $6.674 billion. I don’t know who has the better assumptions here, but if I had to bet, I’d take the lower number. According to a poster in the previous thread, 51% of the personal income taxes are paid by the 5% or so making over $200K. That segment has had its earnings slashed (particularly in capital gains).

    Sales and Use Taxes. $3.582 billion collected in FY08. $3.747 billion budgeted in FY09. $3.38 billion projected by the OFA; $3.5 billion by OPM.

    Corporate Taxes. $733.9 billion collected in FY08. $791.5 billion budgeted in FY09. OPM says we’ll collect $607.6 billion; OFA says $584.1 billion.

    So in the three largest areas, OPM was more optimistic, although I don’t know if that’s simply because it’s the older document. Which of these organizations has been better (i.e., more accurate) in the past? I don’t have the time, or really the expertise, to evaluate their assumptions to see if one or the other is making weird assumptions. It’s a bit surprising that the differences are so great considering the ytear is more than half over at this point…

  8. I shudder to think of when “in due time is,” scanman. Next fiscal year maybe? And as for the sacred committee process, I wasn’t born yesterday. We all know the budget, like almost all major legislation, will be negotiated behind closed doors, will look nothing like any proposal which received a public hearing, and will be “emergency certified” straight to the House floor. The pattern is well-established, and will continue, I predict, as early as next week’s session.

  9. And while erstwhile Dan Malloy press officer Gabe is teeing up softballs for his Favorite Democrat, the governor is actually trying to cut through the Democrats’ latest bullsh*t reasons for not doing anything:

    See: http://www.courant.com/news/local/statewire/hc-ap-ct-connecticutbudgetfeb17,0,1222677.story

    Wherein the governor says to OPM, OFA and the Comptroller: Let us gather at the river, the beautiful river, and come up with a number all of us can abide by, so Marty Looney can stop calling individual reporters in his voluminous spare time and spinning this crap.

    And, as a side effect, Gabe can at last return to the issue that — amid economic strife, war on two fronts, questions of a global import and the start, at last, of baseball season — matters most to Connecticut voters of all political stripe: Election Day Registration.

  10. And while erstwhile Dan Malloy press officer Gabe is teeing up softballs for his Favorite Democrat, the governor is actually trying to cut through the Democrats’ latest bullsh*t reasons for not doing anything:

    See: http://www.courant.com/news/local/statewire/hc-ap-ct-connecticutbudgetfeb17,0,1222677.story

    Wherein the governor says to OPM, OFA and the Comptroller: Let us gather at the river, the beautiful river, and come up with a number all of us can abide by, so Marty Looney can stop calling individual reporters in his voluminous spare time and spinning this crap.

    RedFive, your post leads me to ask this question: Do you honestly believe Jodi Rell would have announced that today had Marty Looney (and Gabe) not called the governor out on this fuzzy math?

    Kudos to her for trying to reconcile it. They do need to get to work on the issue without bickering. But I’m sure her announcement today wouldn’t have happened if nobody said anything.

  11. (whoops, i screwed up the quotes)

  12. If you’re asking me, did the governor see Gabe’s CTLP posting and have a case of the guilts, I gotta tell you: My guess is, gosh, probably not.

    And the same goes for Marty “Drinking Bird” Looney.

    My guess is, this is an attempt to cut off yet another Democrat spin job at the knees. She knows, as does any thinking person, that the Dems are frantically seeking any diversion from actual, honest-to-God budget cutting, up to and including parading Jim Amann naked outside the Hall of the House wearing nothing but socks and a sandwich board proclaiming “WILL WORK FOR $120,000 OR BEST OFFER.”

    (Sorry, going to wash my eyes with lye soap now.)

  13. The CTLP post was all over the television news and in print as well. I’ve gotta think she (or someone close to her) saw it.

    And I also dont see how it can be called a “spin” job. All they did was post two videos of the governor and her staff talking. You can’t spin unedited video.

  14. AndersonScooper

    Rell closes a $6 Billion dollar budget gap, (yeah right), and ignores the fact that her own people, and of course Governor Rell herself — have predicted a $8 Billion dollar gap.

    And you call it a spin job?

    The fact is that taxes are going to have to be raised. Either that, or massive State lay-offs into a scary unemployment situation.

    People are right to call Rell on her leadership, or lack thereof.

    And a cycle ago she boldly proscribed a 10% income tax hike?

    Why won’t Rell admit that taxes will have to go up? Why not a realistic proposal like this one?

  15. Gear,

    LooneyBird has been working the phones like a man possessed since the middle of last week. This is not an all-of-the-sudden affair, however much it might appear so to outsiders.

    And PoopyScoopy,

    Since all you can do is parrot what the grownups say … why don’t you just find a nice sandbox to play in … and a sledgehammer … and you fill in the rest.

  16. LooneyBird has been working the phones like a man possessed since the middle of last week. This is not an all-of-the-sudden affair, however much it might appear so to outsiders.

    i’m still failing to see what’s wrong with him calling the governor out on knowingly not fixing the budget deficit in her proposal.

  17. AndersonScooper

    Red5–

    Governor Rell should be embarassed.

    If she possessed real leadership skills, she’d state the obvious. Which is that taxes are going to have to go up.

    And please have the CT GOP go on the record as to their belief that the answer to the current predicament is job cuts, job cuts, and more job cuts — despite the frightening unemployment level.

    Maybe if you cut enough jobs you can finally repeal the CT Estate Tax. Particularly with Dan Malloy supporting your position.

  18. Poopster:

    Why is that so obvious?

    What’s obvious to me is that spending — not jobs, spending — has to be cut.

    Does that mean essential state services like the Numerous Permanent Commissions on the Status of Assorted Special Interests That Give Us Money And Votes will have to take it in the shorts?

    Well, gosh, Poopy, yeah it does. Does that mean job cuts? Well, for the ex-Speaker’s third-best contributor’s brother who couldn’t hack it in solo practice, yeah, gosh, it might. Does this make me weep in the still, small hours of the night? No. Call me cruel and insensitive — hell, call me a Republican, if you must — but no, it does not.

    Does it mean Chris “O Spare My Courthouse, Ye Cruel Mistress” Donovan might not have quite as many sycophants? Ooops. Guess so. Call it an unintended consequence. Our legislature knows all about them suckers.

    The only reason taxes would have to go up is if the Democrats — that would be you guys, Poopy, in case you’re keeping score at home — lack the sack to stand up to the state employee unions, the poverty pimps, the $17-billion-a-year universal health care whackjobs and the rest of the ripe sucks who have driven this state’s budget into sh*thouse.

    So, what’s obvious?

  19. And please have the CT GOP go on the record as to their belief that the answer to the current predicament is job cuts, job cuts, and more job cuts — despite the frightening unemployment level.

    Is the job of the state government to provide services, or is to provide jobs? If certain tasks in the state government could be made cheaper through automation or subcontracting, would you oppose those measures because some people would lose their state jobs?

  20. AndersonScooper

    C’mon GMR. Say it. Your damn ideology comes first. Even if it means adding to the unemployment lines, the foreclosure listings, and the welfare rolls.

    I mean the Great Depression would have sorted itself out quicker, if not for FDR and the New Deal. Isn’t that what you ‘wingers believe?

  21. C’mon GMR. Say it. Your damn ideology comes first. Even if it means adding to the unemployment lines, the foreclosure listings, and the welfare rolls.

    C’mon, Poopy. Say it. Your damn insatiable appetite for other people’s money comes first. Even if it means raising taxes people already can’t afford to pay, abjectly failing to cut a bloated state government and throwing another lipstick blowj*b to the state employee unions.

    I mean it’s not really people’s money to begin with, until the government tells them how much of it they can keep. Isn’t that what you “progressives” believe?

  22. primusinterpares

    I mean the Great Depression would have sorted itself out quicker, if not for FDR and the New Deal. Isn’t that what you ‘wingers believe?

    Actually, it’s been pretty definitively proven that most of the New Deal policies prolonged the depression and it was the War that got things moving again. There are few provisions of the new deal that are generally credited with having a positive impact on the economy, and some had a negative impact. Of course, hindsight is 20/20.

    Liberals must (and some do) accept that this may well hurt many industries and there will be negative effects. The belief however is that perhaps the NET effect will eventually positive. It is usually better to create as few new problems as possible, as we learned from our experience with the new deal and great society, but that is not the view of the administration and we shall see which viewpoint is ultimately vindicated.

    How it came to be that we in New England have surrendered so much of our treasure, identity, and democratic right to perpetually irresponsible and ever unaccountable centralized government (state and federal) I simply cannot comprehend. We elect people to appoint people to spend our money and make our decisions for us… and 200 years later the revolution is dead.

  23. The fact is that taxes are going to have to be raised. Either that, or massive State lay-offs into a scary unemployment situation.

    Connecticut’s non-farm jobs: approx. 1.706 million
    Connecticut’s State employee jobs: approx. 50,000 (i.e., less than 2.9%)

    Laying off 10% of State workers would barely raise a blip in unemployment, yet would enable us to slash our budget by billions — which is exactly what we need. We have lost tens of thousands of jobs because we spend too much money. This is not hard to figure out.

    Why won’t Rell admit that taxes will have to go up? Why not a realistic proposal like this one?

    That “realistic” proposal would have 100 times the negative impact on employment. Why does every “realistic” proposal involve spending more money, while every proposal that cut taxes is just conservatives’ “damn ideology”?

    If government jobs were the answer, Anderson, then everyone would have one, right? Frankly, I think that’s exactly what Obama wants…

    I mean the Great Depression would have sorted itself out quicker, if not for FDR and the New Deal. Isn’t that what you ‘wingers believe?

    Don’t believe us, believe the experts. Unfortunately, yesterday we failed to heed the professors’ warning: “a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”

  24. Marty “Drinking Bird” Looney.

    Not cool.

  25. AndersonScooper

    Primus & Dobbsy,

    Do you think Rob Simmons secretly adheres to your whack-job ideological notions? Will he come out and agree with you when you state FDR and the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression?

    And where is your fearless leader Chris Healy on this doozy? He’s on the record against this stimulus package, actually any stimulus package. Will he join you in publicly decrying the New Deal? Or is that a position he must keep to himself?

  26. Do you think Rob Simmons secretly adheres to your whack-job ideological notions? Will he come out and agree with you when you state FDR and the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression?

    I don’t have any whack-job ideological notions. What are you talking about?

  27. Unless you think that facts presented by, say, the Wall Street Journal, are “whack-job ideological notions,” that is…

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123353276749137485.html

    They must not have any idea what they’re talking about, huh?

  28. AndersonScooper

    Ohmigosh Dobbs! A right-wing opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal is certainly not indisputable truth.

    How many of you ‘wingers are secretly New Deal deniers? (not that there is anything whacky about that). Is Rob Simmons a fellow traveller? Can you get Chris Healy to denounce FDR in addition to the current stimulus package?

  29. I dunno Scooper; the #2 WPA guy in New York State (C.W. Post) said the same thing; and the #1 guy *(Lester Hertzog) agreed with him.

    The projects themselves did indeed create jobs, and NY is still enjoying the infrastructure including the Baseball Hall of Fame; but some of the tweaking like slaughtering and burying 6000 hogs in order to raise the price of bacon weren’t especially well thought out.

  30. Actually, it’s been pretty definitively proven that most of the New Deal policies prolonged the depression and it was the War that got things moving again. There are few provisions of the new deal that are generally credited with having a positive impact on the economy, and some had a negative impact. Of course, hindsight is 20/20.

    Where was it “definitively proven” – Ronpaul.com? Mitch McConnell University?

  31. AndersonScooper

    No, Scanman. It was proven on the opinion page of the Wall Street Journal!

    Now if we can only get our ‘winger buddies to chime in on the Supply-Side. You’d think the ideologues would be telling Rell that the way to balance the budget is to increase revenues by lowering taxes on the rich! LMAO…

  32. No, Scanman. It was proven on the opinion page of the Wall Street Journal!

    How many of the facts cited in the WSJ piece are wrong? Was this paragraph wrong?

    The goal of the New Deal was to get Americans back to work. But the New Deal didn’t restore employment. In fact, there was even less work on average during the New Deal than before FDR took office. Total hours worked per adult, including government employees, were 18% below their 1929 level between 1930-32, but were 23% lower on average during the New Deal (1933-39). Private hours worked were even lower after FDR took office, averaging 27% below their 1929 level, compared to 18% lower between in 1930-32.

    If so, prove it.

    Another question for you… if supply-side economics is wrong, why haven’t we ever turned back from it? By the way, for the record, every single segment of the American taxpaying public has seen its share of the income tax burden drop since 1981… except the top 1%. Are you willing to be the genius who proposes turning back from that?

  33. Good job of changing the subject RedFive. But the fact is and the furor is about the Governor’s inability to do her job because she lacks integrity in her approach. She understated the situation, and lied about her acquaintance with the facts. It is right there on the video. And this isn’t a single incident, is the recognized modus operandi of this Governor.

    Malloy is right on the mark with his critique. The Governor and her staff continue to choose political gamesmanship over leadership, and that has not and is not serving the taxpayers well.

  34. If so, prove it.

    I’m sick of this right-wing, the-New-Deal-didn’t-save-America BS.

    The Works Progress Administration (WPA) put nearly 3 million people to work after it was created in April 1935. Betweem ’35 and ’41, the WPA created a total of 8 million jobs.

    The Civillian Conservation Corps (CCC) put 2.7 million people to work working to rebuild our environmental infrastructure needs.

    The National Youth Administration (NYA) gave 1.5 million high school students a half a million college students part-time jobs that they could do while still in school.

    The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) provided cheap electricity to rural areas so that farmers and small businesses could use light to increase production and therefore generate money.

    These are only the most famous of the programs. How can you continue to deny the New Deal did not provide the average American with new employment oppurtunities they otherwise would not have had? How can you continue to live in a state of denial that, without the New Deal, the U.S. could never have survived let alone gone onto fight and win WWII and then enter a period of post-war prosperity?

    Seriously, folks, get a grip on reality.

  35. You’re missing the point, and engaging in the same bad math that Gabe has been alleging against Gov. Rell for the last two weeks.

    The point of every single economist who has railed against the New Deal is that the 8 million jobs you’re claiming the WPA created, and the 2.7 million jobs you’re claiming the CCC created, and the 1.5 million jobs you’re claiming the NYA created, all came at a cost — and that there would have been more private jobs if we had done nothing. That’s the point of the argument, and you haven’t come close to disproving it.

    Further, if the “[t]otal hours worked per adult, including government employees, were 18% below their 1929 level between 1930-32, but were 23% lower on average during the New Deal (1933-39)” stat in the WSJ is accurate — and no one has even remotely suggested that it is — then this is further proof that our nation was less productive during the New Deal than it was in the last three years of the Hoover Administration, when there was no such New Deal in place.

  36. and no one has even remotely suggested that it is

    This should say, “is not.”

  37. The point of every single economist who has railed against the New Deal is that the 8 million jobs you’re claiming the WPA created, and the 2.7 million jobs you’re claiming the CCC created, and the 1.5 million jobs you’re claiming the NYA created, all came at a cost — and that there would have been more private jobs if we had done nothing. That’s the point of the argument, and you haven’t come close to disproving it.

    Which companies were willing to hire millions upon millions of unskilled laborers? This is the problem with revisionist history: it’s all well and fine to just throw up a hail mary and say “Oh yeah of course private companies would have stepped up and filled the void if government didn’t do it.” But what proof do you (or anyone, for that matter) have that actually says X, Y, and Z company was prepared to hire 8 million people in the course of five years. When you give me a name, I will tell you the WPA was a waste of time and didn’t accomplish anything.

  38. Prove that stat wrong — demonstrate for me that America was more productive with bloated government payroll from 1933-1939 than it was without a bloated government payroll from 1930-1932. Otherwise, I’m inclined to believe the experts at the Wall Street Journal.

    Apparently liberals don’t like facts very much.

  39. Apparently liberals don’t like facts very much.

    Or we just don’t get our facts from Rupert Murdoch’s WSJ…..

  40. Here are some facts:
    unemployment was 15.9 in 1931, in 1933 it was 24.9 percent. It then steadily decreased until 1941 when it stood at 9.9%.

    We cannot prove that things would be better if govt had stayed out of it because life is not a controlled experiment.

    But there are other countries dealing with the crisis which do you like better? Do you like the German model? The Japanese model? The British model? The USSR? All of these had serious political as well as economic problems. I think a good compromise was struck to get the US out of the depression and not fall into political chaos.

  41. Seriously, folks, get a grip on reality.

    Your turn.

    One might be more impressed with the remarks of someone who headed an entire states WPA; or cooked up mythical numbers.

    Actually; the WPA *might* have worked as advertised had it been even bigger.

    After all, WWII did pull us out of the depression; however that was due to virtually unlimited public spending as part of our war defense, making it effectively a gigantic extension of the WPA’s thrust.

  42. primusinterpares

    Where was it “definitively proven” – Ronpaul.com? Mitch McConnell University?

    Scanman, Scooper:

    Before you hurl insults please attempt to be at least slightly intellectually honest. First, I am not a Republican party man and no leadership of any party leads me or my beliefs. Second, Gene Smiley (Professor of Economics at Marquette University, FYI) wrote a book called, “Rethinking the Great Depression” is an accessible print version of what is being taught today by economics professors across this country.

    Third, perhaps you should check out the speech given by the former professor and now Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke, in which he states, “The economy improved after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inauguration in March 1933, but unemployment remained in the double digits for the rest of the decade, full recovery arriving only with the advent of World War II.”

    He goes into greater detail in the speech and outlines the points made earlier by Milton Friedman about the apparent effectiveness of CERTAIN New Deal provisions (despite the harmful effect of others). The speech is on the FED’s webpage. You’ll find the link below:

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/speeches/2004/200403022/default.htm

    As for ideology, I believe I am the one that is admitting the success of certain aspects of the New Deal and the utter failure of others. It’s not ideology it’s just common sense.

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