Is Malloy’s proposed sales tax cut the softener, before he hits state with tolls?

Gov. Dannel P. MalloyConnecticut Republicans are caught between the proverbial rock-and-a-hard-place with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposed cut in the state sales tax. Democrats are almost in the same position. The governor sent ripples through the political community on Sunday, when he announced a proposed cut in the sales tax from 6.35 percent to 6.2 percent by November and down to 5.95 percent the following year. Now that’s a proposal any Republican could support, except it is tough medicine for any Republican to swallow, when it comes from a Democratic governor as strident as this one.

On Monday, as Malloy touted his proposal – part of his overall budget package to be revealed on Wednesday – the GOP looked for the downside, and they found it. It’s a “shell game,” they howled. In return for a sales tax reduction, the governor would eliminate the sales tax exemption on clothing purchases up to $50. Not to mention, how is the state going to close a projected $2.7 billion two-year budget deficit?

Democrats were even more perplexed. Both Senate President Martin Looney and Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey chose the silent route, preferring to wait until after the full budget is released. To Democrats, tax cuts are like being forced to take cod liver oil.

Even more distressing to Democrats, Malloy was sounding like a Republican. Making the rounds in Middletown on Monday, the governor said the sales tax “is a broader tax and will distribute more relief and, quite frankly, distribute it more equitably to the middle class.”

In that he is correct. If a Republican governor had been making that statement, GOP legislators would have been heralding the news, while Democrats would be less respectful, howling “shell game” rather than “let’s wait until the full budget is released.”

From a consumer perspective, who wouldn’t trade a sales tax exemption on $50 for a reduced sales tax? Taken at face value, a sales tax cut could produce more revenue for the state on large ticket items like automobile purchases and the like in addition to a overall purchases of all goods subjected to the sales tax.

Forget the Democrats for just a moment. The fact is, Republicans sound like nit-pickers if they oppose the sales tax cut. Malloy’s plan is not the panacea to what ills the state, but for a Democrat to propose a cut in a major tax is big news. For Republicans to oppose it smells like “politics as usual,” during a time when the public is fed up with that game. The GOP should signal the end to “politics as usual” and support the sales tax cut, now. It may be the only thing they can support in this budget, because the betting game from this corner is that the governor’s sales tax cut is a way of softening the blow for what’s also sure to be part of his proposal, tolls on Connecticut highways. That’s where the real “shell game” will be played.

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Have Connecticut Voters Tuned Out Gov. Malloy?

The latest Quinnipiac University poll numbers are in and they are not good for Connecticut’s first-term Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.   The governor’s latest approval rating, 43 percent, is down two points since October.  That’s right, down, after Newtown, when the combative governor displayed a sensitive side in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  He’s never gotten above 45 percent approval rating.  Worse, 48 percent of unaffiliated voters disapprove of the job he is doing.  Even Democrats have problems with him.   Normally, a Democrat in office scores in the 70 or even 80 percentile range, but the first Democratic Party governor in more than two decades earns only a 63 percent approval from members of his own party.

Gun Control Telling

The numbers on gun control are especially, instructive, perhaps an indication voters have tuned out this governor, who pushed on state residents, the largest tax hike in history two years ago.  Just 41 percent of those polled, say they approve of the way Malloy is handling gun policy, 38 percent disapprove and 21 percent don’t know.

This is fascinating, because the Quinnipiac Poll was centered around gun control policy, and most everybody surveyed had an opinion.  The vast majority demanded stricter gun control.  Curiously, people in huge numbers, demanded what Malloy is proposing, yet the governor could barely score above 40 percent approval on his gun control policy.  That is a sure sign of a tune out.

Overexposure

Throw in the fact Malloy makes it a point to be on the evening news daily, does numerous radio interviews, even on rock stations, and seems to be traveling everywhere, and it could be Connecticut is experiencing Malloy overload.

Then there is the credibility issue.  During Business Day at the Legislative Office in Hartford, when Malloy promised to balance the state Radio dialbudget without tax hikes or not exceed the mandated spending cap, the audience expressed skepticism.

Listening Tour?

Now the governor is launching a “listening tour,” visiting municipalities around the state to get public input and gauge public opinion.  Except, at his first stop in Middletown, it seemed the governor did most of the talking.  Not to mention, the one-hour “community forum” was tightly controlled, with attendees being asked to submit questions in advance, and the topics then chosen, before the forum began.  That doesn’t sound like a listening tour.

One Term Governor?

From poll numbers to policy to personality, the story line does not bode well for the third-year Connecticut chief executive.  Lacking the charisma of an Obama, Malloy, even in deep, blue Connecticut, could very well be a one-term governor.

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Beware Of The ‘Facts’, When Malloy Delivers Budget Address

It should be quite a hoot in Hartford, Wednesday, when third-year Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy delivers his budget address to a joint session of the Connecticut General Assembly.  This will be Malloy’s second, two-year budget and if it’s anything like the first, you can expect our esteemed chief executive won’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

As is customary, the governor will make the rounds on morning radio and TV, the day after the speech.  More than likely, it will be the usual softball game, with hosts gushing over the fact the governor has given them some of his precious time.  Such was not the case, two years ago, when I interviewed Malloy, the day after his first budget address.  To begin with, he was six minutes late to the interview.  And then we got into it.

You can listen to the interview, which is attached below, but beware of what he said, and what really has happened.  For example:

  • Malloy claimed this budget would put Connecticut’s “economic house back in order.”  It did not.  We still have net zero job growth.
  • He claimed everyone agreed the budget ‘was honest” and “in balance.”  In reality, not everyone agreed.  The Republicans certainly, didn’t, especially Sen. Len Suzio, who from the get go, said the budget was out of whack.
  • Malloy talked about concessions from the state unions.  In the end, he didn’t get what he anticipated.

In reality, Malloy’s budget overestimated revenue growth, while underestimating the cost of government.  Much like the predecessor he criticized, his budget was also out of balance from day one, as evidenced by the red ink in which it currently is bathed.

Near the end of the interview, we got into the governor’s mandated “paid sick leave,” but as you will hear, we ran out of time.  Just keep in mind the Hartford Business Journal has just released a survey, showing how business in Connecticut has changed it’s landscape, in the aftermath of the mandate, the only state in the nation, that has paid sick leave.

I hope, after you listen to the interview, you can use it as a point of comparison, when you hear the governor make his media rounds on Thursday morning’s radio and TV shows.  Enjoy!

Malloy budget interview 2011 malloy

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Welcome To Deep Blue Connecticut

Cash-strapped Connecticut is continuing its push for universal preschool.  When Gov. Dannel P. Malloy proposes his new two-year budget on Wednesday, it will include the call for a new state agency.  The Office of Early Childhood, will initially cost $243 million in the first year and $306 million in the second year.  In other words, more than a half-billion dollars. We are told the agency is designed to nurture and educate children to age 5.

When the governor made his announcement on Monday, he was naturally surrounded by children.  Child advocates were also in attendance.  In fact, those groups offered input and strongly suggested the new agency be created. Everyone was all smiles.

The current set-up, we are told, is too cumbersome, confusing and very difficult to navigate for parents.  And we are reminded, the net cost to taxpayers will only be $370,000 for new administrative staff.  That’s because the new agency will absorb duties of the other agencies.   Maggie Adair, executive director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, even said the governor’s plan will make “state government’s role more efficient and effective.”  Stop me, if you haven’t heard that line before.

More likely than not, with a Democratic-controlled General Assembly, Malloy will get his new agency, even with a state swimming in debt.  By next year, Malloy will label the agency a “success,” while stating in the next breath, “we need to do more.”

In a few years, Malloy will be long gone from the Connecticut political scene, leaving the rest of the state taxpayers to pick up the residue of another failed, liberal experiment.  That, of course, will lead to the proposal for another, new government agency that will be “more efficiGov. Malloyent and effective.”   Welcome to deep blue Connecticut!

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Memo To Malloy Administration: Suzio Was Right!

The latest numbers are out and Connecticut’s budget deficit is now in the red by $140 million.  And this is after the General Assembly was forced to close a $355 million deficit in a special session last December.   Of course, we were told this was not going to happen, after the largest tax hike in Connecticut history two years ago.

We conservatives know better.  Tax hikes do not lead to economic growth.  The usual excuses are being made.  Medicaid costs are higher than projected and revenues are lower than expected.  How about, a much rosier picture that was painted two years ago, when this budget first was presented?  How come nobody talks about that?

Actually, one person did, Sen. Len Suzio, R-Meriden.  Even, before the ink was dry, Suzio called the budget for what is was, a sham.  For that, he paid the price, as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and hi Democrat cohortssuzio worked hard to get him defeated in November.  Suzio lost a narrow election, paying the price for telling the truth.

And speaking of the truth, with this latest dismal budget news, comes this quote from Malloy’s Undersecretary at the Office of Policy and Management Gian-Carl Casa, who said “We will not end the year with a deficit.”

The truth is, constitutionally Connecticut cannot end the year with a deficit.  However, this administration will continue to use budget gimmicks to avoid the real truth.

 

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Malloy’s Gun Comments Scary

When Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told the 16-member Sandy Hook Commission, “I believe that responsible, law-abiding citizens of our state have a right to bear arms — but that right cannot come at the expense of public safety,” the U.S. Constitution took another hit.

Has the governor heard of the Second Amendment?  Has he decided to become the arbiter of what’s constitutional and what is not?   And what does it mean to essentially say I believe in the right to own a gun, “but that right cannot come at the expense of public safety?”

What if the government, or in this case Malloy, decided that eliminating all gun ownership was the only way to ensure public safety?  Would that mean he no longer believes in the right to own a gun?

The liberals are proclaiming their goal is not to overturn the Second Amendment.  In reality, their gun control measures will not prevent another Sandy Hook, but that hasn’t stopped the anti-gun crowd from using the saddest of tragedies to further their gun control agenda.  And Malloy’s latest comments on the issue, when Democrats are not thinking he’s “walking on water”malloy chamber, are just the latest evidence.

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No Davos For Malloy. What A Difference A Year Makes

The 2013 World Economic Forum is underway in Davos, Switzerland, sans Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.   The first-term governor received huge headlines for his 2012 Davos trip, as he tried to romance business to come to Connecticut.   He was meeting the “movers and shakers” of the world we were told.  There were conference calls from Switzerland.  And the media lavished praise, after all, you cannot blame a governor for trying, especially in comparison to his predecessor.

Well, here we are, a year later.  Connecticut is awash in debt, following the largest tax hike in state history, imposed by Malloy and the Democrats.  Connecticut’s economy is stuck in neutral, or going in reverse, as some suggest.  This week, the news is filled with stories of businesses leaving the state.

There is no 2013 Davos for Dannel.  This year, he’s stayed on this side of the pond, attending a presidential inauguration, reminding municipalities to open up their shelters and fretting over a state budget address that will surely include more taxes, fees and gimmickry.   What a difference a year makes.

What a difference a year makes.  Davos, SwitzerlandI guess you cannot blame a governor for trying.

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What Liberalism Has Wrought. Connecticut Cities In An Uproar. State About To Go Broke!

New Britain

Nine days after the election, when Connecticut decided to keep the liberal Democrats in power, the wheels are coming off the proverbial cart.  Perhaps someday, voters will wake up.

Bridgeport In An Uproar

Years of Democratic party rule in Bridgeport has led to a high crime rate.  It has gotten so bad, one of the most liberal senators in the Connecticut Senate, now Mayor of Bridgeport, Bill Finch, had to impose a youth curfew.  It has led to a community uproar, with residents meeting Wednesday night with the American Civil Liberties Union.   They say the Park City is like a prison, with cameras and curfews.  Parents are upset their kids have to be off the street at a certain time.

New Britain Landlords Protest

In New Britain, landlords by the busloads protested Wednesday night, over a city-instituted fee.  To help cover the Hardware City’s $4 million deficit, the new Democratic Mayor Tim O’Brien and the Common Council imposed a $150 per apartment annual fee on landlords.  That could result in some apartment complex owners paying $30G’s a year.  Of course, landlords will pass the cost along to renters, who will end up footing a good portion of the bill.   But then what did people expect, when they elected one of the General Assembly’s most liberal representatives as mayor, with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy gleefully campaigning by his side?

Hartford Registrar Slams Voters

Then there is the case of Hartford, dominated by Democrats.  On Election Day, it was chaos at the polls, as people waited in long lines, hundreds not registered to vote. Throw in same-day voter registration, pushed by the Democrats, and you had the recipe for disaster, which just what happened.   It led the website CTNewsJunkie to write “staff at the Registrar of Voters office at Hartford City Hall, attribute long Election Day lines to uninformed voters.”

That’s obvious, as the same people get re-elected.

Connecticut Facing $1 Billion-plus Hole

Liberals, of course, call the shots on the state level.   Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his cohorts, who blamed the Republicans for the state’s fiscal mess when he took office – even though Democrats have dominated the General Assembly for over 30 years – promised to fix the mess.  His solution?  Increase spending and impose on the people of Connecticut the largest tax hike in state history.  It was supposed to correct the state’s budget problems.  Well, last year, the first year of the two-year budget, Connecticut ended the fiscal year in the red and Malloy had to utilize every gimmick to balance the budget.  Now there are projections, year two is barreling toward a $1 billion plus deficit.

Malloy, of course, is claiming support by the electorate with the Election results.  Perhaps he should.  This is what you get with that “uninformed voter;” a state and its cities driving over the cliff.   I am sure it’s all Jodi Rell’s and George Bush’s fault.New Britain

 

 

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Malloy’s Two-Year Legacy: Photo-Ops, Control, Ego And Failure

We are now almost two years into the administration of Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, D-WFP, and this much we know: the governor basks in photo-ops, is a control freak, has an ego bigger than Montana and is an administrative failure.

Photo-Ops

There is no question this governor enjoys the limelight.  When he isn’t handling a weather crisis, which has him on television 24-7, he manufactures one event after another to make the 5, 6 & 11 news.  He also avails himself of every radio and television interview opportunity, as long as the questions are friendly.  There is little media cross-examination of this governor, for fear of being crossed off the list.  Gov. Malloy has run up quite an expense account, running around the state, doling out money to municipalities; money that has been bonded on the state’s maxed out credit card.  However, the idea is to get on the television news and in the morning papers day after day.

Control

This governor is not content with power, unless he can wield it against his critics.  Woe to the media representative or politician who happens to exercise his free speech rights.  Challenge this governor, or raise legitimate questions about his budget or policies, and risk being the focus in his cross hairs.  Just ask Sen. Len Suzio of Meriden or the Connecticut State Police Union.  Suzio, a one-term Republican, who won a special election after the corrupt Democrat, Tom Gaffey resigned his Senate seat, was specifically targeted by Malloy for defeat in the 13th District.  Suzio, a hard-working fiscal conservative, who from day one exposed the governor’s budget as a fraud, lost by a disputable 238 votes to the Democrat, Dante Bartolomeo.  The campaign was marked by the usual Democratic dirty tricks playbook: sling mud, construct a straw man, and eventually some of it will stick.   The 13th District has lost a very good man.  Hopefully, Suzio will run again.

Then there is the Connecticut State Police Union, which has exposed Malloy’s reorganization of public safety as a power grab disguised as a line-item budget savings.  The governor’s consolidation of dispatch centers has led to more overtime than the state will admit.   Malloy side-stepped the mandated, minimum amount of troopers the state police must have, got the heavily Democratic-controlled state legislature and the courts to agree with him, and created a major rift between the union and its command.  Why?  Because the state police dared challenge the governor’s concessions package.

Ego

They used to say the most dangerous place in Connecticut was between a camera and then Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.  That was before Gov. Malloy came along.  This governor is quick to tell you everything he’s done has been a success and that everybody and every program that came before him was wrong.  He and is highly-paid senior adviser, Roy Occhiogrosso, are  the copyright owners of “blame it on the Republicans” and everyone else.   All problems in Connecticut are the Republicans’ fault, no matter that the General Assembly has been dominated by the Democrats for over 30 years.   If the unemployment rate skyrockets, and it has, blame those who crunch the numbers.   Question even a slight error with a Malloy program and be prepared to be lambasted by the “Big O.”  It’s the equivalent of killing a fly with a sledgehammer.

Budget

Then there is the budget.  Not even 17 months into Malloy’s first budget, we are witnessing an absolute failure.  We were told, repeatedly by the Malloy campaign in 2010, he would place the state on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or GAAP.  This would be a more transparent way of showing Connecticut voters the state’s true financial picture.  The state has yet to adopt GAAP.

We were told by this crowd that Republicans had put Connecticut in this budget fix – even though Democrats controlled the legislature.  To repair it, the governor and the Democratic legislature would have to adopt the largest tax hike in state history.   They did, and the first year of the two-year budget, ended in deficit.  The governor had to use every budget gimmick to balance it.  Now year two finds Connecticut, taking a another bath in red ink.   One day, Malloy tells the media it’s “premature” to talk budget deficit.  The next day his budget chief, Benjamin Barnes, admits the state budget is near a fiscal cliff and laments, “It’s unheard of in Connecticut’s modern economic history to see four years after the triggering event of the recession to not be seeing normal recovery type growth.”   In other words, the usual blame game.

Malloy has doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate welfare under his bogus “First Five” initiative, signed on to a disastrous multi-million dollar busway project,  has increased spending and taxes, and we are left with high unemployment, red ink and a budget chief talking about “unheard of” history?   I’m surprised he didn’t blame George Bush for this mess, but there’s still time.

The  Real Truth

The truth is, Malloy raised taxes to the hilt, increased spending, unleashed an uncalled for corporate welfare program and employed every other liberal, economic formula.  There was never any talk of tax cuts, spending cuts, or bringing the Republicans into the fold to develop a compatible solution.  The Malloy approach has been an abject failure.  His fingerprints are all over this disaster.   If the “Republicans drove the car into the ditch,”  Malloy and his minions are driving it over the cliff.  Just don’t admit it, unless you want to get swatted over the head with a sledgehammer, during the free fall.

 

 

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