The redacted Mueller report hit Washington like a political sonic boom last week, making a huge noise but apparently changing few minds in Connecticut or elsewhere about Donald Trump’s fitness to be president — or the propriety of his conduct.
As U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-5th District) put it: “Regardless of the results of the Mueller report, President Trump and his administration give the American people evidence on a daily basis that we need a change of leadership.” (She has been focusing on education and gun safety issues which intersected last week at a congressional hearing.)
The most likely scenario is that rather than pursue impeachment, Democrats will continue to peck at the president with a series of investigations – the most recent to question his plan to bus asylum-seeking migrants to so-called “sanctuary cities” like Hartford and New Haven.
Meanwhile a large number of Democrats jockey for a chance to run as the party’s presidential nominee, proposing a range of issues including Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All.” (The most obvious effect of that has been a drop in stock prices of Connecticut’s health insurers.) And though the Democrats now control the U.S. House, their new dominance has not translated into an increase in their campaign finances.
Irrespective of Trump’s apparent comfort with Russia’s participation in the 2016 elections and his efforts to have his subordinates lie on his behalf, he is still the president and, as far as Gov. Ned Lamont is concerned, should not be unnecessarily antagonized – especially at a time when Connecticut needs the cooperation of agencies like the Federal Highway Administration if it is going to implement highway tolls.
Certainly Connecticut – and the governor (who has completed his first hundred days in office) – have plenty of problems that need attention.
Connecticut unemployment rose slightly, for example, which does not bode well for a continued economic recovery during a time of strained finances. Neither does it encourage legislation that incurs additional expense — such as a plan to extend state-sponsored health insurance to undocumented children.
To raise additional funds, some Democrats are proposing a tax increase on the investment income of Connecticut’s wealthiest households, a move that directly confronts the governor’s wish to increase sales and sin taxes — and ones that have greater impact on the poor and middle class. Legislators have until May 2 to come up with some combination of efforts to raise revenue or reduce spending while stimulating economic growth.
On thing seems certain: unless the lawmakers increase their allocation to the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, the institution will be facing a $22 million shortfall despite the imposition of a 2.1 percent tuition increase at the system’s 12 community colleges.
Workers in the state’s nursing homes also want raises – an estimated $40 million expense – and have threatened to strike May 1 if they don’t get them. State officials are preparing contingency plans in the event of a work stoppage that could affect 3,000 nursing home residents.
These days, legislative votes are required for approval of collective bargaining agreements, and lately Republicans, to no effect, voted against raises for six tax attorneys in the Department of Revenue Services.
The newest of those voting will be Democrat Tammy Exum, winner of a special election to fill 19th House District seat vacated by Derek Slap.