Connecticut's budget + economy, explained

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Posted inCT Viewpoints

Connecticut needs a new, more inclusive, form of capitalism

Recently there has been much discussion about the need for municipal and state workers to face the new reality of current budgetary constraints. As a Hartford taxpayer, I recognize that current labor agreements are not sustainable, and a failure to restructure health and pension benefits could lead to bankruptcy and an even harsher reality. But in fairness, I also feel there is a need for a more honest and holistic discussion of this new economic reality.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

We can re-fire the Connecticut and American manufacturing powerhouse

It is no secret that what has become known as the sell-out has delivered an ample supply of low skilled, low wage and low-benefited jobs to replace the mass exodus of good paying and skilled American manufacturing jobs. Connecticut and New England have been states hit hardest by the loss of these jobs. Not long ago, folks could opt out of college to pursue trade school and expect the opportunity of well paying manufacturing jobs in industries like hardware, tools, plating, arms, naval or aeronautical. These opportunities have virtually disappeared, the victim of plant closings and shifts to overseas production.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Connecticut’s budget needs structural change

Last week, the governor’s office announced and the legislature approved cuts totaling $78 million. Even though I believe this is only a Band-Aid to a structural problem our state government faces, it is a better way to resolve our deficit woes without going after our hard-working taxpayers once again. This deficit mitigation plan only addresses this fiscal year’s current gap. What has to be addressed before the conclusion of this session is the $900 million deficit we are facing in the year ahead.

Posted inEducation, Health, Money, Politics, Transportation

Budget plan offers painful cuts but remains out of balance

Updated at 5:18 p.m.
The legislature’s Appropriations Committee adopted a new $19.9 billion budget plan Wednesday, that Democratic leaders insisted restores fairness to a fiscal system that has cut too heavily from social services, health care and education – even though the overall plan is out of balance. Republicans pronounced it a failure.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Minimum wage jobs cannot adequately support families in Connecticut

It is clear that minimum wage jobs cannot adequately support families in a state like Connecticut. The Federal Poverty Level, ­which is used widely in determining eligibility for various kinds of assistance, for a family of three is $20,160 and for a family of two is $16,020. The time is now for Connecticut to join the national chorus for fair wages across the board. Empirical evidence shows that when we increase our wages, the median income goes up.

Posted inEducation, Health, Justice, Money, Politics, Transportation

A minefield of concerns complicates laying off state workers

Though all indications are that many state employees will receive pink slips soon, several factors make it difficult for Connecticut to downsize its workforce. And those same factors and others make it all-but-impossible to close the major budget deficits projected for the next few years with layoffs alone.