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Posts published in “Connecticut Newspapers”

Connecticut Employment Has Plummeted. Can the State Recover?

The pandemic is largely over. Now, the challenge is to revive the economy.

In practical terms, that means transitioning from policies supporting people who are out of work to policies encouraging people to get back to work. There is a fierce national debate about how fast to transition. Connecticut is on the wrong side of the debate – and cannot afford to be.

The number of workers in the state’s workforce has plummeted during the pandemic by 188,000 since February 2020, according to federal statistics. This is a drastic 9.7 percent decline, by far the biggest drop in the nation.  Only three other states have had declines over 5 percent.

These are workers who are not looking for work or who have left the state.  

As drastic as it is, the workforce decline is not the entire story.

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Whereto Schooling Post-Pandemic?

Skilled in pandemic, parents may homeschool; more so if schools indoctrinate

A year ago when the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year was in doubt, I realized that I had to step into the breach. So did many parents.

I started my own version of homeschooling for my soon-to-be-kindergartner. It was nothing sophisticated; it took only about an hour in total, before and after my workday; but it worked.

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CT Progressives Shouldn’t Join Biden’s Tax & Spend Bandwagon

Biden's Taxes Will Trigger Surge of Revenue from CT's Current Taxes

The Biden administration is on a massive spending spree. Connecticut progressives want to follow suit. Last week, Biden released a “trial balloon” proposing how to pay for his spree. Unsurprisingly, the idea is massive tax increases for corporations and upper income individuals, including a near doubling of the top capital gains tax rate from 23.8% to 43.8%.

Connecticut’s progressives have proposed more than a billion dollars of new spending, primarily on vague social justice goals, to be funded by new taxes imposed almost exclusively upon upper income taxpayers, including a capital gains tax surcharge. A new largely unaccountable off-budget vehicle is to carry out the new spending and collect the new taxes, and, thus, be exempt from budget restraints meant to prevent unaffordable spending.

The new federal taxes will render the new state taxes unnecessary and counterproductive -- unnecessary, because federal capital gains tax increases always result in huge one-time surges in federal revenue and in state revenue in any state which taxes capital gains, including as part of regular taxable income, as Connecticut does now.

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The Biggest Threat to the Climate: China

Upon his inauguration, President Biden issued a flurry of executive orders related to climate change, including one designating climate change a national security threat.

The primary security threat by this new climate-change name looks the same as the leading national security threat in traditional terms: China. The totalitarian Communist dictatorship is responsible for almost 30% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the European Commission's Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR).

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Readers Set the Record Straight

Joe Markley, Ed Dadakis and Dan Quigley have sent letters to the editor to set the record straight about state employee compensation in response to attacks by state employee union apologists upon columns on The Red Line. The Red Line is grateful to Messrs. Markley, Dadakis and Quigley for their defense of fact-based journalism.

Here are their letters:

Lamont Should KISS Off Taxes

Last week, Governor Lamont invoked the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) to explain his reordering of the sequence of eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations. He should not stop there. The entirety of state government could use a rigorous application of the principle.

Last year, Yankee Institute released a study of state revenue sources. The study was simple. What it found was not. The study was just a one-page list of all the state’s revenue sources – all 344 of them.

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Lamont’s Budget: Everything is “Capped,” Except State Employee Compensation

Governor Lamont unveiled his proposed Connecticut Comeback budget last week. A comeback is unlikely given the long-festering problem of overgenerous and woefully underfunded compensation for privileged state employees.

For over a decade, state employee compensation has exceeded compensation in Connecticut’s private sector by about 40 percent, the biggest gap in the nation.

The consequence is that the State Employee Retirement Fund (SERF) is drastically underfunded. It is difficult to fund such wildly overgenerous benefits.

What now is an ongoing gravy train for state employees is ultimately a train wreck for them and the state.

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Schools Are Safe, If Not Havens from COVID

New CDC Studies, Experience in CT Show Little In-School Spread

The evidence is piling up that schoolchildren, teachers and staff are safe in schools. Indeed, the evidence suggests schools are the “safest place” for them to be, as CDC Director Robert Redfield said last November. Yet, teacher unions and other school employee organizations are ignoring mounting evidence that support Redfield’s words.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control released its first two studies of in-school spread of COVID-19, first, a study of the experience of 17 Wisconsin schools that operated in-person from August through November.

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