Tag Archives: general assembly

Beleaguered Connecticut Taxpayers Saddled with More Debt To Subsidize The Rich and Business

Governor Dan Malloy

Governor Dan Malloy

Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced new state spending that will add an additional $2.7 million in debt on to the backs of Connecticut’s middleclass taxpayers.  After crushing families with the two highest tax increases in Connecticut history ol’ Danny boy has found another way to spend the taxpayer’s hard earned dollars to subsidize big business and luxury automobile buyers.

While the average Connecticut family struggles to stretch their family budget and pay an ever-increasing burden of taxes.  Dan Malloy finds it necessary to give away up to $5,000 to buyers of fuel cell power vehicles, which is not something found on the average family shopping list.  No this is tax money used to subsidize the wants of rich.

In a statement issued by the Governor he said this will “support local retailers by helping lower the price of electric vehicles, making them more competitive”.  Really Governor, is that the best use for taxpayer dollars?  Does the average family need to support local car dealers to insure they make a profit selling cars?

While the legislature is facing a 1.3-BILLION-dollar deficit in the next budget season apparently, Governor Malloy feels it is necessary to give away taxpayer’s hard earned money to those that can afford NEW CARS!!!  Remember this is your money, paid to the state in good faith that it will be spent wisely.

So, what does the Democratic Majority leadership in the State Legislature have to say about this squandering of tax dollars?  Nothing! Their silence is deafening.  They are only talking about new tolls on highways, new sources of revenue and cuts to cities and towns that will require the local government to raise taxes to fund local requirements for State mandates.

This is not the first-time Dan Malloy has fleeced the taxpayers in this fashion.  The Governor was somewhat bragging over his success when he said, “Since the start of the program in May 2015, more than $2 million has been issued in rebates or reserved for the purchase or lease of 960 electric vehicles in Connecticut”.

This subsidy has been one of the shovels digging Connecticut taxpayers into an ever-deeper hole of debt and this round of subsidies is more of the same.  When will we learn to stop digging?  When will we learn that when you cannot afford what you already have it is time to stop new spending?  This is not an investment for our future this is insanity in the present, this is irresponsible and objectionable.  This is detrimental to every taxpayer and family in Connecticut.  Simple put this is unacceptable.

 

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It’s Time To Say Good-By

"He who transplanted sustains" takes on new meaning as GE leaves

“He who transplanted sustains” takes on new meaning as GE leaves

Hartford was a hub, New Haven a nucleus, and Waterbury the heart around which small towns grew and flourished. All were vibrant, dynamic and creative urban centers. All three were centers of wealth and commerce in their respective areas.

 

They all had something else in common, a political machine. Not a political machine dedicated to represent a unity of strength in diversity but rather digging a ditch of dichotomy. They saw the skylines change with raising glass. They could have joined with those within the rising spires with skyline visions to new horizons of opportunity, but their visions were not skyward.

 

The political machines took another road. They threw stones, not those of metamorphic beginnings but those founded by political heat and pressure. The growth could have been seen as opportunities for the common man, as incubators of opportunities encouraged to flourish and grow. The machine saw opposition and the potential of economic growth that would threaten their stranglehold on political power.

 

The political machines, saw the financial growth of economic opportunity as a storehouse of potential plunder waiting to be attacked like swag off a loading dock. The story was the same from places far away like Jersey City, and Newark to our cities of Connecticut. The rhetoric was repeated, the policies were duplicated, and the ditch of dichotomy had to be dredged to protect the machine.

 

The machine taxed and punished the job creators, they destroyed the dreams, and shattered the hopes. They shoveled their dirt, with the rhetoric of division, destruction and ruin, piling the mud along their ditch.

 

The opportunities left the cities, the people that remained were more dependent than ever on the hollow hopes of false promise from the political machine. The ditch of dichotomy has grown deeper as metamorphic stones of politics have piled higher buffered with political mudslinging from the city moat.

 

To preserve and expand their fiefdoms the political machine has moved to the halls of the State Capital. They have taken their ruinous reins of power and rhetoric of destructive dichotomy to new levels. They are leading our State down the path they have taken our cities.

 

To anyone that watched the slow destruction of our cities, and the loss of economic opportunities, the loss of GE was no surprise. History repeats itself. Connecticut is marching down the path following the same bandwagon that has led our cities from splendor to mere memories of what once was.

 

Remember when Hartford, was known as the insurance capital of the world, and we waved good-by to so many, history repeats itself. Today we wave good-by to GE, and history repeats itself. Voting for another Democratic machine candidate and hoping for a different result is folly, history repeats itself.

 

The leaders of industry and commerce are on the move and the lights of opportunity are leaving our state. We can change our direction now or we can kick the can down the road like the State unfunded pension problem. We can leave a legacy of darkness for our next generation or we can act.

 

It is time for a new light in leadership for Connecticut. It is time to make history, it is time to vote to turn Connecticut in a new direction, it is time to wave good-by to Malloy, Murphy, Blumenthal, Courtney, DeLauro, Wyman, Merrill and the rest of the machine.

 

Will you be part of the solution, will you help to defeat the machine? What path do you want for Connecticut, one of darkness or light? You can help to build the new path in your Republican Town Committee where plans are now underway for a better tomorrow.

 

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Fooling The People, It’s A Government Job

 

When it comes to the Connecticut State Budget it does not matter which party the Governor is a member of if, the majority in the General Assembly can override any budget veto.  What really matters is the financial views and the political courage of the elected members of the General Assembly.

Unfortunately for two long under both Republican and Democratic Governors we have had too many members of the legislature that were either ignorant of economic reality or woefully short of character and courage to act responsibly.  Instead of dealing with a budget under generally accepted accounting practices they have turned to gimmickry with smoke and mirrors.  They have kicked the can of responsibility down the path to our future and they have gotten away with it. 

The people have been placated, with words of assurance as the financial foundation of our State has eroded and with it our employment opportunities.  The spinning of numbers and facts has confused and confounded the average voter into a false sense of security.

Today State officials tell us the job market is improving.  Should we believe it?  History is a great teacher.  In the past they told us the budgets were balanced while all the while the budgets were wrought with gimmicks and reflected more a fictional best seller than a truly accountable budget.

It is a fact that the unemployment rate in Connecticut has come down BUT and that is a big but, but it is not the end of the factual story.  There needs to be a more complete disclosure of facts so that we understand the real situation.

According to Connecticut labor statistics from March of 2011 through April 2013 the number of people working has continually decreased with Connecticut losing over 36,000 jobs.   There are now 67,700 less people working or looking for work than there were in May of 2010.  Some people have just given up looking for work, some have left the state, and some have retired without their positions being filled.

Lower unemployment should mean more employment opportunities but that is not always the case.  When you employ the smoke and mirror lessons of budgeting to unemployment numbers you hiding lost opportunities and denying reality. 

Doing business the same way we have done in the past and expecting different results is lunacy.  Kicking the can of responsibility forward will only continue to lessen opportunities and bring us closer to financial hardship.  It is time to make a change in the political balance of the General Assembly.

Being elected to the General Assembly is a government job but fooling the people should never be part of the job description.  It is time for a major change in Connecticut.  It is time to remove the agents of trickery, deception and gimmicks from office. 

It is time that Connecticut voters elected a legislature that more closely reflects the diverse opinions of our State.  A legislature constituted with a diversity of opinion that would provide for more open discussion, compromise and checks and balances.

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An Eye On Ackert, Part 4 Politics And Special Education

ackertState Representative Tim Ackert as a Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Joint Education Committee has educational issues on his mind.  One of those issues is the problem of funding for mandated State services added after a local budget has been approved.

Every year in Coventry and many other towns across Connecticut, funding for local education consumes more than 75% of the annual town budget.  A significant expenditure in the education budget is the allocation of limited resources for our investment into special education services.  The addition of one or more students can make a significant impact in many budgets.

Special education services are mandated by the State with only a portion of the cost being funded by the State.  This can create a financial hurdle when one or more students are added after the budget approval.  The financial impact can be multiple times higher for a single special education student than a student not requiring such services.

Representative Ackert has not only identified this as a problem, he is proposing something be done to address the problem.  Ackert is proposing in HB-5399 that the state be required to reimburse school districts one hundred per cent of the cost of special education for a student who enrolls in the school district in the middle of the school year.

The problem however occurs once a student enrolls after a budget is passed and not just by enrolling after the school year is half over.  The proposal will not totally fix the problem but it is a step in the right direction and may be a compromise to gain support for serious consideration.

In the present form the proposal represents a compromise of fairness between the State and local or regional school districts.  In proposing legislation, it is sometimes wise politics to take small steps to the greater goal than attempting to leap frog over the goal line.

This proposal should receive wide support from every Board of Education and they would be prudent to alert their own Representatives to strongly support HB-5399.  It would be equally sensible for taxpayers to pass this information along to friends across the State of Connecticut.  Activating support from every Board Of Education would be the right thing to do for every student of special needs and every Connecticut taxpayer.

Representative Ackert has voiced concern in the past for the financial burdens State mandates place on local budgets.  This proposal clearly shows he is not only thinking about it, but he is trying to do something about it.

Tim’s concern for taxpayers and the burden of state mandates is also reflecting in his proposal HJ-18 calling for a resolution to amend the State Constitution.  This amendment would require a vote of two-thirds of the General Assembly for municipal mandates.  The proposal would have major political impact and therefore will have little chance of passage at this time.  That does not however, diminish the value of the idea or character of the man making the proposal.

Standing up for your constituents is always the right thing to do; getting things done is not always so easy.  A good politician is the one that can get what he wants for the people he represents.

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An Eye On Ackert, Part 3, Education A Risky Proposal

ackertThere is no question as to State House Republican Tim Ackert’s interest and dedication to education.  He is the Ranking Member for his party on the Education Committee and his resume shows a history of involvement with education.  Tim has a strong desire to improve educational opportunities but his latest proposal (HB-6178) needs some scrutiny.

We have all heard the expression, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.  So let’s take a look at the path Mr. Ackert wants to walk, as he offers what is no doubt a proposal of good intention.

HB-6178 is An Act Establishing A Tax Credit For Donations To School Districts it is Tim’s proposal and his alone, with no co-sponsors.  Tim is asking to amend State Statutes to provide a tax credit to individuals and businesses that donate money, supplies or equipment to local or regional boards of education.  On the surface this sounds wonderful but below the surface the idea has trouble written all over it.

This is not a tax deduction proposal, it is a tax credit, and there is a major difference.  A deduction allows for the donation to be deducted from calculations to determine the amount of money from which taxes will be paid.  A tax credit on the other hand is a direct deduction from the amount of taxes due.  The impact could be enormous and devastating to some communities and equally devastating to state government.

This proposal opens a “can of worms” a “Pandora’s Box” when it directly diverts tax dollars to a specific line item without a vote of the community but rather by the actions of individuals.  It would allow for special interests to divert tax dollars to special causes.  If we applied the same thinking to other issues we could see diversion of funding for hunting, political races or environmental protection.

To illustrate the danger let me provide a scenario.  The Town of Coventry votes in May on a budget that is developed largely from Dec. to March.  If the budget were to pass in May it would be based on anticipated tax revenue to be collected starting in July.  If however, a tax credit were to be allowed where you could donate money directly to Boards of Education in lieu of taxes the amount collect could be substantially altered.

In many towns the largest employer is the Board of Education, like it or not those employees are a special interest group that could easily wait until the budget is passed then divert a huge percentage of tax dollars to their employer.  This action could severely harm the general government budget and in fact require layoffs and major cuts in services.

The problem gets exacerbated if other top taxpayers decided to also follow suit.  Major companies could as a public relations matter suddenly decide not to support government at all and divert all tax money to educations.

There is more to government than education, we still need, roads, bridges, fire and police departments not to mention other vital services.  While the example above points out the problem if a tax credit is allowed on local taxes the same holds true for state taxes.

This proposal is a case of good intentions with risky actions, potentially opening the door to financial disaster.  Opening a door to diversion of tax dollars by individuals and businesses, while well intentioned, is not good policy.  The allocation of tax dollars should continue to be a matter voted on by the taxpayers and or their representatives.

This series will continue with the next Opining Quill

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An Eye On Ackert, Part 2 – Inmates, Taxes and More

ackertYesterday our eyes were on State House Representative (R) Tim Ackert as your voice in Hartford.  Today we’ll take a look at some of his ideas concerning the treatment of the psychiatric disabled, revisions for the gasoline taxes and the treatment of prison inmates.

The price of gasoline has again been sky rocketing upward.   Yesterday I passed at station in CT selling gasoline at $3.97 and I later purchased in Rhode Island at $3.69.  That makes me wonder, what is Tim doing about the price of gasoline?

Years ago Connecticut had a single “motor vehicle fuels tax” collected on every gallon of gasoline pumped at the local station.  Then in 1981 a second tax called the “gross earnings tax” was add. The original legislation imposed a 2% gross earnings tax on any wholesale and retail dealers in this state. The act included a provision prohibiting companies from passing the tax on to consumers, but that provision was just a political smoke and mirrors trick later struck down in the courts as illegal.  The tax remains today at 7% and is scheduled to increase to 8.1% this coming July.

Rep. Ackert has proposed an amendment to combine the taxes (HB 5871).  This would make the tax more transparent for consumers and reduce cost of collections.  While this proposal falls a bit short of reduction in taxes most people would want, even this idea has almost no chance of passing into law this year.

While Connecticut taxpayers pay higher taxes on gasoline than other states it is not the only area we excel, we also pay higher costs for operation of our prison system.  Tim is offering a practical solution to lower the cost.  He proposes, (HB 5945) to place any inmate sentenced to a term of incarceration of eight years or more to serve that time in an out-of-state correctional institution whenever such placement is possible.

Now that is not a bad idea, but he may want to include a proviso of economic advisability.  Government often does things that are possible but not always economically so let’s make sure the taxpayers are protected against an increased burden in the future.

Tim has also shown his concern for those suffering from psychiatric disabilities and wants to expand treatment and care for them.  His proposal (HB 5992) would permit health care providers access to the records of patients in a psychiatric facility for their treatment and also allow persons involved in formulating the patient’s discharge plan to communicate with the patient’s family members concerning the plan.

This is a worthwhile attempt to expand treatment and Tim also recognizes and considers the restrictions of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in the wording of his proposal.  Protecting and caring for the disabled is a compassionate role of government.

In the next installment of “An Eye On Ackert” we’ll take a look at a good idea that may be bad, but that judgment will be left to the readers.  Come back to see what Tim has in mind for education.

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An Eye On Ackert, Your Voice At The Capital Part 1

ackert

Representive
Tim Ackert

Tim Ackert is a second term Republican State Representative serving the towns of Coventry, Columbia and a portion of Tolland and Vernon.  Representative Ackert is a member of the legislature’s Education Committee, Higher Education & Employment Advancement Committee, and Human Services Committee.

Tim acts in a role of leadership as the Republican Ranking House Member of the Education Committee.  Education is the largest component in every local budget and this makes Ackert’s leadership all the more important to constituents.

While committee participation is important it is not the only work or contribution a Representative makes to our government.  Committee work is often an exercise in cooperation, concessions and compromise.  It is the individual proposals written by any Representative that give us an idea of their priorities, direction and desires.  So it is there we shall look for some insight into our voice in government, Representative Tim Ackert.

Each proposal is called a Bill and each is assigned a number.  The number preceding the information below is the Bill Number, useful if you would like to track the Bill or communicate to your Representative interest in the Bill. The following are some of the proposals put forth by Rep. Ackert for this session of the General Assembly.

Some of the Bills are self-explanatory such as Bill HB-5414 which would eliminate hunting fees for bow and arrow hunters who are sixty-five or older.  Bills of this type are often a direct result of a constituent request.

In some instances Tim has identified a problem and taken action to correct the situation for the betterment of all citizens.  Bill HB-5447 is just such a case it is an act to require to require the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to mail each registered motor vehicle owner’s motor vehicle registration renewal application and such owner’s notice of emissions testing requirements in a single envelope.

It is a bill designed to save postage fees and to reduce the amount of late fees being paid by drivers across Connecticut.  According to Rep. Ackert “In 2005 the state didn’t collect any emission late fees, a few years later it was a couple hundred thousand dollars and in fiscal year 2012 the state collected more than $3.4 million in late fees,” Ackert said. “It’s obvious that the state is not clear enough in the emissions testing notification. The fee has gone from a penalty for a few to a source of income for the state. That can’t continue.”  A public hearing on HB-5447 will be held today.

Sometimes Representatives work together on an issue and such is the case on HB-5772 where Rep. Ackert joined with Rep. Miller from the 122nd District to co-sponsor a Bill to prohibit the imposition of new unfunded state mandates on municipalities for a period of two years.  This would be particularly helpful as local communities struggle to control tax increase in current weak and harsh economy.

This is only the first look at Tim’s proposals in the next posting we shall look at proposals for the treatment of persons with psychiatric disabilities, revisions of gasoline taxes and the treatment of prison inmates.

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