Ah, the lazy days of summer, when the only things to worry about are the state’s crushing debt and a president on the warpath.
True, there was one day when troubling news was eclipsed by, well, an eclipse.
But mainly of concern was the state legislature’s ongoing inability to pass a budget and President Donald Trump’s back-to-back public appearances continuing the nation’s war in Afghanistan — and his war against the press.
Monday, of course, it was all shielded eyes upward as the moon passed between Connecticut and the sun. It did not, unfortunately, completely block out some salient facts about the State of Connecticut’s finances, which rank toward the bottom on two important scales. By Wednesday, with government running at a $94 million deficit pace, state Democrats unveiled a new budget proposal featuring a state sales tax increase and a modest redistribution of education funds.
There are those who favor raising more state revenue through higher income taxes on the wealthy in order to prevent severe cuts in social services and to avoid transferring many financial burdens onto cities and towns. And there is apparent disagreement on the nature of the budgetary problem.
Gov. Dannel Malloy, for his part, defends his record of shielding Connecticut municipalities from the state budget’s pains. He would probably not be pleased by Milford’s move loosen its affordable housing standards by taking advantage of a law he tried, unsuccessfully, to veto. The Travelers Insurance Co. also found itself being sued for allegedly refusing to insure properties where tenants’ rents are federally subsidized.
On the national stage, President Donald Trump on Monday delivered a carefully scripted speech on his plans for the war in Afghanistan. He followed it the next day in Phoenix, Ariz., with an angry, off-the-cuff, tirade against the media for its portrayal of his reaction to the extremist violence in Charlottesville, Va. And while some in Connecticut were appalled by the president’s performance, there were plenty who were not.
Wednesday the Connecticut Department of Insurance asked the state’s remaining two healthcare exchange participants to recalculate their rate increase requests taking into account Trump’s threat to cut off federal subsidy payments. The state of American healthcare remains uncertain, of course, and still another replacement to Obamacare — one potentially harmful to Connecticut — is being proposed by two Republican senators from the south.
The week was not without its encouraging events – the grand opening of the new $140 million University of Connecticut campus in downtown Hartford, for example. That may be the last big improvement in the downtown for a while, however.
There was also sad news about the loss of Petty Officer Dustin Doyon of Suffield following the USS John McCain’s collision with an oil tanker near Singapore on Monday.