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New food, medicine taxes prove CEOs can have terrible ideas

It should not be a struggle – and certainly not an impossibility – for families to meet their basic needs. Yet it often is, and that’s why organizations like diaper banks exist. While we spend our days trying to get children the things they need to thrive, we all too often see policymakers float proposals that will do the opposite. Gov. Ned Lamont’s reported consideration of a sales tax on groceries and medicine definitely falls into that category.

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If Connecticut REALLY needs to raise a billion each year…

If Connecticut REALLY needs to raise a billion each year… don’t use traditional tolling. The easy way is low mileage-based use fees on all roads.  This is tracked using satellite and/or cell-phone technology.  On-board devices already in all cars built since 1998 can be programmed to record miles driven on Connecticut’s roads.  ($30 transponders under the hood are a less-intrusive alternative). Out-of-state drivers are asked to pull over to a welcome station the first time they enter the state to buy a transponder.  For drivers crossing our border on local roads, licensed roadside stores or gas stations can sell the transponders, the way lottery dealers do now.

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A public bank will be a public curse

Walking through Bushnell Park you can gaze upon many places that say who and what we are as citizens of Connecticut. Carved on one of these is “After the darkness, comes the Sun” (translated from Latin). People who are familiar will know this is carved on the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch (1886), the oldest triumphal arch in North America. Clearly the clouds are hovering over our beloved state once again. In those mountains of precipitation lie unknown and unseen dangers. From time to time, however a flash of lighting or a streak of sunlight will reveal the dangers that surround us. One of these dangers revealed to us is a public bank, most recently espoused by State Rep. Josh Elliott (D) Hamden.

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Opportunity is knocking, but are legislators listening?

Gov.- elect Ned Lamont and the incoming state legislature will face a bleak financial landscape as they work together to craft Connecticut’s budget for the next two fiscal years. Put bluntly, there are two ways to deal with our state’s severe fiscal shortfall: start making structural changes now to the way the state collects and spends money or use the “Rainy Day Fund” to kick the can down the road. We hope they will choose the more difficult path and tackle the systemic issues that have caused and exacerbate the problems we face.

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Democrats celebrate in Connecticut. What can they create?

Democrats now control the governor’s office, all state-wide elected offices, the house and the senate in Connecticut. As the new office-holders converge upon us, Connecticut is facing a projected $4 billion deficit, a continuing exodus of taxpayers, and lackluster job creation. What can we expect the Democrats to do with their now complete control of Connecticut’s government?
Here are top items on their agenda:

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Will CVS ownership taint Aetna’s medical coverage?

I have been very concerned with the takeover of Aetna by CVS and what is “position” on certain drugs for clients might be. CVS stopped carrying a particular eye drop after having it as one of their brands in prior years. Since I had been using this eye drop as prescribed by my eye surgeon at Westchester Medical Center, I did not wish to change. CVS refused to order it for me.

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On the importance of climate-change preparation: ‘It’s the deficit, stupid’

As important as you, the environmental community, and I feel climate change is, we all need to put up a sign in our offices which says “It’s the deficit, STUPID!”..and then connect the dots. I have requested that the environmental community look at certain connections of climate change mitigation and deficit reduction, but they are so overly focused they seem to ignore it even when it has actually worked going back to 1990.

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Let’s not reinvent the budget wheel, we already have a good one

Gov.-elect Ned Lamont will take office in January and on February 6, about a month into his tenure, will present his budget proposal to the legislature and to the people of Connecticut.  Except for a few carefully crafted messages during the campaign he didn’t tell us how he intends to address the state’s mounting financial issues, so we have few hints about what he will propose.  He is, though, assembling a transition team to help him in this endeavor, getting input from current Gov. Dannel Malloy, and has invited people from all across the political spectrum to advance ideas.  In short, he appears to be following in the noble tradition of reinventing the wheel.

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Prioritize children and families; defend the Office of Early Childhood

Faced with a projected two-year budget deficit of over $4.6 billion, you and your administration will soon be confronted with many difficult choices. Amidst these challenging decisions, and with an eye toward the future of Connecticut, we offer you one easy answer. To ensure that young children and their families can thrive while contributing to the shared prosperity of our state, preserve the independence, momentum, and power of the Office of Early Childhood.

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Our next governor faces ‘mission impossible’

Each of the major party gubernatorial candidates have discussed the usual litany of expected issues facing Connecticut: budget deficits, high taxes, unfunded pension liabilities, high salaries/benefits of state and municipal workers, depressed cities, exodus, lack of jobs, disadvantaged educational funding, lack of school funding in the inner cities, health care, needed reforms in provision of social services to our most needy residents and so on. But in casting a broad net of promised reforms/action steps, none of the candidates have zeroed in the “mission critical” actions to help restore our state’s economy.

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‘Tax talk:’ And why it might be misleading our votes

In many ways, Connecticut’s gubernatorial race has boiled down to a referendum on taxes. Many residents feel they can’t spare another cent on taxes, especially when it doesn’t seem like it ‘comes back’ to them in any substantial way. We want to ‘save money.’ But how? ‘Tax talk,’ as I like to call it, is often convoluted at best. One candidate will say he would ‘cut taxes’ and argue that his opponent would ‘raise’ them. But then his opponent will say the very opposite. Voters are left scrambling to make sense out of what often feels like an overwhelming, convoluted heap of conflicting claims. In this chaos, it’s all too easy for us to end up voting against our own interests.

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Pension debt proposals that exacerbate the problem

Two candidates compete against each other for office in one of Connecticut’s electoral districts.  Each candidate seeks to distinguish himself by offering a purportedly creative solution to the problem of Connecticut’s massive and growing debt for public employee pensions. Each deserves credit for an attempt to move beyond a naked demand that taxpayers pay more and receive less, but taxpayers should be informed about the potential pitfalls of each proposal, and should be aware that neither candidate is willing to address the fundamental problems creating and increasing the debt arising from Connecticut’s public employee pensions.