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Paid-leave scheme unaffordable, ill-timed

The tax-and-spend impulse is so deeply embedded in Connecticut Democrats, it should be considered a genetic trait.

Take Gov. Ned Lamont. At the beginning of his budget address Feb. 20, he warned of a $3.7 billion two-year deficit, saying, “The fiscal crisis before us is not just a short-term hole in the budget. We are digging that hole deeper by $400 to $500 million annually due to fixed costs, such as pensions.”

After that opening, he gave lip service to solving the fixed-costs problem, and, then proposed a paid family-and-medical-leave program, “funded via a payroll tax on employees of approximately 0.5 percent, which will raise an estimated $400 million annually” – in other words, a new program costing the equivalent of those fixed costs.

The tax-and-spend impulse is so deeply embedded in Connecticut Democrats, it should be considered a genetic trait.

Take Gov. Ned Lamont. At the beginning of his budget address Feb. 20, he warned of a $3.7 billion two-year deficit, saying, “The fiscal crisis before us is not just a short-term hole in the budget. We are digging that hole deeper by $400 to $500 million annually due to fixed costs, such as pensions.”

After that opening, he gave lip service to solving the fixed-costs problem, and, then proposed a paid family-and-medical-leave program, “funded via a payroll tax on employees of approximately 0.5 percent, which will raise an estimated $400 million annually” – in other words, a new program costing the equivalent of those fixed costs.

After that opening, he gave lip service to solving the fixed-costs problem, and, then proposed a paid family-and-medical-leave program, “funded via a payroll tax on employees of approximately 0.5 percent, which will raise an estimated $400 million annually” – in other words, a new program costing the equivalent of those fixed costs.

Fiscal danger lurks in state pension funds

In a Feb. 12 address to the Waterbury Regional Chamber, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont conceded the state’s huge pension and other, related debt is a larger problem than he anticipated. Really?

Countless people have used “unsustainable” and “unaffordable” to describe the state’s pension and health-care obligations under agreements with the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC). What did Lamont think those adjectives meant?

Legislators should be making more information available to public, not less

Beware politicians trying to limit transparency in government, especially when they want to maintain their own access to information but deny it to the public.

One such effort is underway in Hartford, where Proposed Bill 5507 would make voter registration data available only to “candidates, candidate committees, and political committees.”

Connecticut’s coming busing controversy

School busing, one of the most hated tools of social engineering, may be making a comeback in Connecticut, pursuant to legislation introduced by Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven. Beginning in 2021 under Senate Bill 454 (“Looney’s Bill”), many children may be riding buses for long distances, killing a cherished American institution – the neighborhood school.

February 6, 2019

Looney’s Bill would create a commission to merge school districts of towns with populations of less than 40,000 into new or existing regional districts. Only 24 of the state’s 169 towns have populations above this benchmark. The bill provides an exception for regional districts that operate “in a manner similar to the (54) probate (court) districts.” Either way, Looney’s Bill would trigger massive consolidation, all under the guise of “creating a more efficient educational system,” the stated purpose of the bill.

February 10, 2019

Looney’s Bill is but one page long. It is barely a bill. It hasn’t been through any committees, public hearings or debate in the legislature, so why even pay attention to it?

Because of its authorship. Looney is a veteran Senate leader. Veteran legislative leaders do not introduce bills unlikely to pass. Moreover, Democrats hold supermajorities of 60 percent plus in both chambers of the legislature. So, some version of forced school consolidation is virtually certain to pass.

Malloy doth praise himself too much, methinks

Outgoing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has been busy in his waning days. As ever, he has been polishing his record and boasting of his accomplishments — on an epic scale. His “Malloy-Wyman Record” is a massive 283-page document, providing a distorted and inaccurate account, certainly concerning the enormous expenditures devoted to the care and feeding of the state workforce.

Hotel California comes to Connecticut

Union bosses claim that members are remaining steadfastly loyal in the face of “anti-union attacks” and recent adverse Supreme Court decisions. Actually, much of that solidarity derives from devious schemes and disinformation campaigns that the bosses are employing to lock workers into membership and dues paying.

In Connecticut, AFSCME, Council 4 is sending members letters denying their requests to resign because they “missed the window.” Council 4 points to membership cards explaining in fine print that membership is irrevocable from year to year unless a member submits a written resignation request within a 30-day “window” each year. The window is not uniform. It is different for each member, depending upon when he or she joined the union. Naturally, it is easy to miss the window.

‘Redprint’ for GOP victory in Connecticut in 2020

Here’s a “redprint” for GOP victory in Connecticut in 2020.

1. Don’t fight the last war. The 2018 election was contested in the rosy context of an unexpected burst of $2 billion of non-recurring tax revenue. By 2020, the state will be in full blown fiscal crisis. As hockey great Wayne Gretzky says, “Skate to where the puck will be, not where it is.”

Did revisionist history help keep Connecticut Dems in power?

Last week’s blue wave rolled over already-blue Connecticut, subjugating its citizens under the absolute one-party rule of Democrats who retained the governorship and grew their majorities to super-majorities in both houses of the legislature.

It wasn’t just reaction to Donald Trump. Connecticut’s mainstream media whitewashed the abysmal record of unpopular outgoing Gov. Dannel Malloy, who, along with his fellow Democrats and allied union bosses, wielded full control over two terms with only slimmer margins.

Just as Tom Sawyer cleverly delegated the whitewashing of Aunt Polly’s fence to his friends, Connecticut Democrats would seem to have lured their media friends into doing their bidding in order to reduce the drag of Malloy’s unpopularity on their candidates.

Sampson’s winning strategy was to run as a Republican

One Republican who survived the recent electoral wipeout of the state GOP was Rob Sampson, the chairman of the conservative caucus in the General Assembly, not exactly someone you’d have expected to weather a perfect blue storm.

Sampson won big. He won by about 5,650 votes, or 13 percent of votes cast, and he moved up from House District 80 (Southington, Wolcott), a seat he has held since 2012, to Senate District 16, adding Prospect and parts of Cheshire and Waterbury to his constituency.

In contrast, the GOP lost every statewide contest, all six federal contests and 115, or 61 percent, of 187 legislative contests, including a House seat held for more than a century and a Senate seat held since 1932.

Bergstein ignores inconvenient truths

“There is a solution.” So proclaims Democrat Alex Bergstein in a recent op-ed in this paper and in her glossy campaign literature.

State Senate candidate Bergstein’s Eureka-like announcement concerns the state’s severely underfunded public employee pension funds, a problem which many people view as almost intractable.

“The solution” is a “shared risk model,” which Bergstein says the Province of New Brunswick in Canada “moved to” in 2012 and “reduced its liabilities by 30 percent.”

“There are no easy undiscovered instant solutions to the pension problem,” responds five-term Senate incumbent, Republican Scott Frantz. “Besides, the problem is cost, not risk. The state already has unaffordable pension costs. There’s no risk about it.”

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