Rell Says No

–By Don Pesci

After bipartisan budget talks broke down, Rell summoned three reporters to her office before whom she displayed her “frustration.”

A story in one paper notes: “The bipartisan budget talks began in late June, even before the last fiscal year ended on June 30. Recently, five days of negotiations led to only $9 million in cuts each year in a state budget of more than $18 billion a year, Rell said.

“The biggest sticking point is that the Democrats want to raise taxes and fees by $1.8 billion, which Rell has strongly rejected. She has countered with a package that would raise taxes and fees by more than $500 million, including pushing the state’s cigarette tax to $3 per pack, up from the current $2 per pack.”

Five days of negotiations have produced $9 million in cuts. The expression “an elephant giving birth to a mouse” comes to mind.

The Democratic grand design, apparently, was to run out the clock on the fiscal year, move negotiations from the public square to private negotiations, beat up the governor through leaks to the media suggesting she was unwilling to negotiate in good faith, and have their way with her.

It didn’t work, not yet anyway.

Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, the 9 million dollar man, held a news conference preceding Rell’s at which, according to the report, he appeared to be unusually animated:

“Before Rell spoke, House Speaker Christopher Donovan of Meriden held an impassioned news conference on Friday, strongly criticizing Rell’s proposed cuts in health care. Donovan is known for his low-key style, and budget watchers said he was clearly more energized than usual on Friday.

“’The Democrats refuse to make these cuts,’ Donovan declared as he stood in front of fellow legislators and citizens who would be affected by Rell’s plans.”

Let’s do the math.

Democratic leaders — Donovan in the House and President Pro Tem of the State Senate Don Williams — want to raise taxes and fees by $1.8 billion dollars. After 52 days and multiple bi-partisan meetings, the Democrats have agreed to cut spending by $9 million dollars. Now, $1.8 billion is $1,800,000,000; and $9 million is .005% of $1.8 billion.

So then, after 52 days of sweaty negotiations between the governor and a thimble full of Republicans, Democratic leaders Donovan and Williams have agreed to reduce spending by .005%; the rest of the deficit is to be collected in tax payments from mini-millionaires, itching to flee, but for now huddled against the storm in Connecticut’s wealthy communities.

President Barack Obama, Donovan and Williams’ nominal leader, also has his eye on the wallets of millionaires and mini-millionaires. The federal deficit over the next 10 years is about $10 trillion, $2 trillion more than the accountants in the administration had figured.

What this means is that any new program proposed by Democrats begins with an additional add on cost of $1 trillion a year. But not to worry: Obama and the Democrats have promised that no one making under $250,000 will absorb the insupportable costs of, say, the president’s new Health Care plan, which begins $1 trillion in debt for each of the next ten years and will, according to independent number crunchers in the congressional budget office, cost much more than the propaganda for the plan initially suggested.

In the meantime, millionaires and mini-millionaires, across the nation and in Connecticut, have suffered a reversal of fortune. Their reduced conditions have put a serious crimp in state revenues. A large part of the deficit Williams and Donovan have tearfully struggled to discharge during their absurdly prolonged secret negotiations with the governor has been owing to the reduced circumstances of the mini-millionaires from whom they wish to collect 99.995% of the deficit, the remaining .005% to be recovered from budget cuts.

Wonderful! Just wonderful! Connecticut’s thoughtless, irresponsible, spendthrift legislature hard at work in the vineyards of demagoguery!

Across the state, some people – none of whom work in Connecticut’s dwindling media — are beginning to ask: Can we have an election right now, please?

Advertisements

19 responses to “Rell Says No

  1. AndersonScooper

    Don, great write-up of the current budget stalemate.

    My favorite line? I think it was: “Now, $1.8 billion is $1,800,000,000; and $9 million is .005% of $1.8 billion.”

    Not that facts or precision generally matter to Republicans, but you might want to clean up you diary. Yes, you have the correct number of zeroes in $1,800,000,000, but you might want to review how percentages work in math.

    What I mean is 0.005% is equivalent to 1/20,000 not 1/200, with the latter being the true relation of $9 Million to $1,800,000,000. So I think you should change you diary to say that Democrats are proposing just a half a percent change, where as now you are claiming that they are just willing to cut a half of a hundreth of a percent.

    Finally, can you define the term “mini-millionaire”? That’s a new one to me. And why are mini-millionaires “itching to flee”? Do you have any real evidence of that?

    Otherwise a terrific rant!

  2. Mini-millionaires fall between the parameters; anyone who makes upwards of $250,000. This is the target group for progressives who do not want to tax what they call “the middle class” to finance the national debt. I’m not sure how to “fix” the math you reference. I do not have access as an editor. I suppose someone else might want to do that.

    “Itching to flee” – it’s a subjective reading of the mood of people who are asked to pay an increased portion of the new spending when their resources have been considerably reduced.

    An expert in ranting, I must say you pay me a great compliment.

  3. Bruce Rubenstein

    Don…I believe the Dems would win with about the same margins…or alittle less….

  4. Bruce,

    Hopefully, a little less. I’m trying to convince my Rep. to fashion a bill that taxes twice anyone who believes that taxes, in this environment, should go up, but it’s a tough slog. Incidentally, Bruce, that would include you.

  5. AndersonScooper

    Well, Don, if you Cafero, McKinney, Rell, Simmons ad Caligiuri prefer massive lay-offs and even higher unemployment, maybe it’d be fair if you just came right out and said so.

    How many jobs do you want to cut? 10,000? 20,000? Or even more?

    Where do you live, because we could start trimming “services” in your town first.

  6. Don,

    I agree with AS, you either need to brush up a bit on your math skills when it comes to percentages, or your typing skills.

    However, I have a far bigger concern…… How much of the $9 million in cuts offered by the Dem’s are even real in the first place? Do we really know? Is even one dime real? Given the tendency for questionable, accounting, and GASP, even math skills all over the place in Hartford, as well as from some of our elected officials we send to Washington I have no doubt your .005% could be a far more accurate percentage in real cuts then not.

    The good news here is if we graded your percentage math skills on a curve, along with the same skills from some other of our elected officials, your grade stands a decent chance of being closer to a B+ Than a D-.

    Oh yes something else, I don’t know if the term mini millionaire tax has been coined by you, or someplace else. But I might suggest this if it did come from you:

    For years we heard the Dem’s speak of a “millionaires tax”……. You know the sort of tax that no middle class taxpayer typically concerns themselves about, because they simply don’t make that much. And, the “rich don’t pay their fair share”, and all the rest of their propaganda. … Why not let them define where their “millionaire’s” tax kicks in………….Why not let them clearly define for everyone who is, and is not ,”rich”……….

    Other than that, you hit the nail on the head.

  7. How many jobs do you want to cut? 10,000? 20,000? Or even more?

    Where do you live, because we could start trimming “services” in your town first.

    I wonder sometimes why this isn’t done. I mean, it wouldn’t be very sporting, but if a particular State Rep can’t bring themselves to vote for the budget, then I can’t imagine that they’d have a seat at the negotiating table. If the Governor is going to veto the budget, then why would the legislature continue funding all the administrative and appointed positions that surround her? We already lack for peace and consensus in the process, so it’s a mystery to me why the majority is still affording the minority a level of respect that is in no way reciprocated.

  8. Well, Don, if you Cafero, McKinney, Rell, Simmons ad Caligiuri prefer massive lay-offs and even higher unemployment, maybe it’d be fair if you just came right out and said so.

    How many jobs do you want to cut? 10,000? 20,000? Or even more?

    How come no one is talking about cutting municipal aid and Medicaid? There is a reason why the state would still face a deficit, even if many, many, many state workers were laid off. Municipal aid and Medicaid consume substantial portions of the state budget.

    If the state is having trouble paying its employees and funding basic programs, it should not be giving money away to municipalities. Cuts to municipal aid do not necessarily need to entail layoffs or property tax increases. Municipal officials should ask municipal unions for concessions from employees making more than $50,000 a year.

    Likewise, Medicaid recipients need to be ready for belt-tightening within the program. Why should the state be forking out billions to a healthcare welfare program when it cannot maintain core programs? There’s no harm in trying to cut costs, make Medicaid efficient, and force it live within the state’s means.

    The time has come for the public sector to practice the same kind of austerity necessary to survive in the private sector.

  9. How many jobs do you want to cut? 10,000? 20,000? Or even more?

    How many state employees do we have?

    Cut the number by 50%

    Virtually every small business is off, some by a lot.
    Virtually every other self-employed or commissioned (those that actually *earn* their incomes) person is off as well, with the exception of the (only) 2 foreclosure law firms approved by Fanny & Freddie (how *did* that happen?) and the “chosen” state marshals (did anyone say `kickbacks?’ – didn’t think so) they use to serve.

    Why then should our taxes continue to support what we can no longer afford?

    BTW – Just where is our famous AG on these matters, or are the law firms in question major donors to him or his party?

  10. How many jobs do you want to cut? 10,000? 20,000? Or even more?

    Where do you live, because we could start trimming “services” in your town first.

    I live in this town: http://donpesci.blogspot.com/2007/07/referendum-blowback-marmer-to-vernon.html

    Marmer proposed an increase in the town budget of about 14%. We had three referendums and knocked it down to a reasonable 3-4%. The next election, she was gone: Democracy in action.

    The problem is not what to cut. That decision can be made only after the legislature has irrevocably made a decision to cut programs. My energies have been focused here, and I have not exactly been hiding my light under a bushel basket on such issues. Elsewhere I’ve suggested it may be time for a state budget referendum.

    I’m not in the least interested in telling legislators what they should and should not cut, any more than I am interested in telling them what they should spend their dwindling tax dollars on. If you really are interested in cutting spending within municipalities, I suggest – as has the Journal Inquirer countless times – that the thing cannot be done unless binding arbitration is abolished. The bulk of municipal funds are spent on salaries.

  11. Oh yes something else, I don’t know if the term mini millionaire tax has been coined by you, or someplace else. But I might suggest this if it did come from you:

    I coined the expression.

    For years we heard the Dem’s speak of a “millionaires tax”……. You know the sort of tax that no middle class taxpayer typically concerns themselves about, because they simply don’t make that much. And, the “rich don’t pay their fair share”, and all the rest of their propaganda. … Why not let them define where their “millionaire’s” tax kicks in………….Why not let them clearly define for everyone who is, and is not ,”rich”……….

    Point well taken. The income tax itself was a two percent tax levied on “millionaires” by the Lincoln administration during the Civil War. Who pays it now? Joe Lunchpail will tell you that he pays more than 2%.

  12. Point well taken. The income tax itself was a two percent tax levied on “millionaires” by the Lincoln administration during the Civil War. Who pays it now? Joe Lunchpail will tell you that he pays more than 2%.

    Lincoln’s income tax kicked in at $800 — around $19,000 in today’s income.

  13. How many state employees do we have?

    Cut the number by 50%

    🙂

  14. Lincoln’s tax was 3% on those who made over $19,380. The rate went up on those who made more than $242,260. When people voted for the 16th amendment that began the current income tax in 1913, the idea was that people who made more than $414,650 would pay 1%. Almost no one earned that amount, so what did they care? So they ratified it.

    By the fifth year, people who earned $32,080 were paying 2%. By 1963 people earning $13,410 were paying 20%. It’s gotten somewhat better since then, but somehow I don’t think the amendment would pass if people had a chance to vote on it today.

    *all amounts inflation adjusted to 2009.

  15. I have to do it…

    Rate of work X amount of time working = amount of work produced.

    In order to be considered free, among other things, one must be free to work. Another word for free is liberty, so you might say that denying someone the right to work is equivalent to denying them liberty.

    Time is a measure of your life. So stating the amount of time you worked is equivalent to saying how much of your life you worked.

    When you work for a period of time, you produce something. It is something you created and it is therefore your property.

    So, you might say, Liberty X Life = Property.

    When the government takes your property through taxation, it is taking a portion of your life and liberty. The government is effectively making you a slave for that portion of your life. Life, liberty, and property are inseperable. Once one is violated, all are violated.

    “Historically, the definition of a free person is a person who owns his own labor. Serfs were not free, because they owed their feudal lords, the government of that time, a maximum of one-third of their labor. Nineteenth century slaves were not free, because their owners could expropriate 50% of their labor.

    “Today, no American is a free person. The lowest tax rate, not counting state income, property tax and sales tax, is 15% Social Security tax and 15% federal income tax. The “free American” starts off with a 30% tax rate, the position of a medieval serf.

    “In medieval Europe, when tax rates reached beyond 30%, serfs rebelled and killed their masters.”

    Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury

  16. That’s pretty neat JP.

    Here’s a list of per capita income in 1860

    Per Capita income 1860

    State—-pop.——Total real value——Per Capita

    Ala. 964,201 $556,725,646 $577.40

    MISS. 91,305 $507,720,484 $641.62

    MASS. 1,231,066 $321,465,759 $261.13

    CONN. 460,147 $151,058,835 $328.28

  17. Bruce Rubenstein

    Don….im a tough slog ?

  18. Are you wondering if $328.28 per capita would have meant most people paid Lincoln’s tax? I’m going to make some assumptions, feel free to look up the data and correct me if I’m wrong.

    $328.28 = $7,953 in 2009 dollars. I’m guessing that there was 1 person working out of 5. Adult males working, women and children not. That means the average worker earned $39,765 in today’s dollars and would have had to pay the tax. I could be way off. It also could be that record keeping and enforcement was so spotty that most people never ended up paying it.

  19. JP,

    Thanks for all your trouble. And, of course, you will have noticed that the rate has gone up.

    There were indeed troubles in tax collections, and record keeping was very poor. I seem to recall somewhere that in the south a property tax was levied on the number of windows in the house. I know this was true in New Orleans. Not a bad way of collecting property taxes so that those with a greater income pay more. We have revaluation now. In the getting and spending department, we’ve come a long way.

    Bruce,

    It’s a great impediment in our system that those who want higher taxes – more “investments” in state and federal government – are prevented from mere happenstance from being able to put their money where their mouth is. My efforts are bent in ameliorating the condition of these poor souls.

    And… I know how tough a slog you are. Me too.

    When Bill Buckley met Bill Curry at some speaking engagement — Bill had Curry on Firing Line – Curry was in the process of trying to become governor. Buckley tapped him on the shoulder, smiled that world conquering smile of his, and said, “I will vote against you with the greatest reluctance.”

    If you should ever decide to run for office – heaven forbid – I will vote against you with the greatest reluctance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s