Connecticut, and the dedicated, hard-working and persistent [polite for stubborn] people who have comprised its public offices over the centuries, have helped shape and lead our state to a level of economic stability and prosperity few others can match. It is therefore unfortunate that partisan ideology, the polarizing and stagnating disease of sound political activity, has infiltrated our state to such a degree that our current economic health and capability to adapt and grow has been put in jeopardy. The “balanced-budget” proposal sent out from the Governor’s office today, demonstrates the Governor’s serious lack of leadership and vision to reign in our state’s out-of-control spending and put our fiscal house back in order.
For too long has our state’s government been under the spell of a one-party ideology that has stagnated growth, put off difficult fiscal decisions and muted those who have sought to go against the political status quo. What is deeply distressing was the Governor’s boast that he passed a state budget in record time and it was thanks to his disciplined leadership on the “road less travelled.” This victory, as we have all come to know so well for both Republicans and Democrats, tells us one thing: the road less travelled is so for a very good reason.
We watched Dannel Malloy (a) steal an election [not legitimately or with honor; and yes sometimes there is a “legitimate” way to steal an election] by union votes in Bridgeport who were allowed two extra hours to head to the polls due to “insufficient number of ballots”; (b) ram through an unsound budget awarding hefty gifts to union workers [2.5% of total CT workforce]; and (c) before our very eyes watch SEBAC completely spit in the face of not only Malloy but those of the hardworking citizens of CT who would only dream of such a comfortable work package, by rejecting the Governor’s proposal.
What resulted from such political chaos and uncertainty? The General Assembly’s solution to this dire set back was to award [for lack of a better word] Governor Malloy an increase in power so that his office could make more significant cuts to the state budget than previously tenable. Once triumphant figures, House Speaker Donovan and Senator Prague, who championed the lightning passed budget and $1.6B concessions deal with the unions, were fumbling to give answers to the state on SEBAC’s vote “NO”. The only honorable and proper thing left for them to do was to release themselves from any form of legislative responsibility and increase the power of the Chief Executive; [thus washing their hands of anymore tough choices. Afterall Donovan has to campaign for the CT-05 Congressional Seat and cannot afford any potential for failed legislation to be associated with his character; yet it might be too late for that].
The state of Connecticut and its budget lay prostrate asunder the unsteady hands of Doctor Malloy; he told the mangled state of Connecticut that he truly wanted to get the budget in order, so that the state would be “open for business”. Upon looking at the “balanced-budget proposal” sent out by the Governor’s office yesterday, it becomes all too clear that the Governor lacks the necessary leadership, knowledge and vision to get Connecticut back on the right track. Many of the reduction in agencies’ budgets have come from eliminating the “funded vacancies” spread throughout our state government. The Governor has stated that it was his priority to get our fiscal house back in order, yet in his first “lighting-passed” budget he not only increased taxes and gave raises to unionized workers but kept thousands of government jobs that were funded, but vacant [that is a hell of a lot of ‘nothing’]. Further, to be an economically competitive state, naturally one would expect incentives for companies to move their headquarters to the quiet, green pastures of Connecticut. On July 1, 2011, the day after the General Assembly awarded the largest increase in Executive authority in state history, they brought to life another state record: the largest tax increase Connecticut has yet seen of almost $2 billion.
With the recent CIGNA deal, an insurance company that has moved their headquarters to Connecticut in return for creating 200 jobs and a tax break of nearly $50 million, the Governor insisted that his First-Five Jobs Plan was working, here is what Courant columnist Kevin Rennie had to say about the CIGNA deal:
Those jobs come with a hefty price tag in a season of discontent. The state will provide at least $47 million in incentives to CIGNA for adding a minimum of 200 jobs to the 3,900 it must maintain here. That could be a subsidy of as much as $235,000 per job for the company that does business in dozens of countries. Part of the deal includes a $15 million interest-free loan that will be forgiven if CIGNA meets the requirements of the agreement.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the effects of Malloy’s policies on not only the financial health of hits individual citizens but also the growth of the state’s economy as well.
Connecticut has a rich and vibrant history within the United States of America, starting well into the founding of our Colonial beginnings. Our state has had leaders who created an economically competitive environment, challenged the status quo helping to establish the comfortable climate enjoyed today. Connecticut did not earn the reputation as the Constitution state or the Land of Steady Habits for doing nothing, promoting stagnation or a single, unbending political ideology. If Connecticut is to save itself, if Connecticut is to truly recover from the illusion it has been suffering from as of late, it will need to seek a balanced political approach, break its one-party shackles and manifest the courage to become a state all others seek to model after. We have the great, and unique, opportunity to become a genuine economic and political leader of this country, all we have to do is act, but act with courage. And also find that wretched exist from this road less travelled…..