Sunday, October 29, 2017

And Connecticut Still Does Not Have A Budget On October 29th

To me the Connecticut Legislature loves increasing spending, increasing taxes and creating new taxes.  It is a socialist dream to keep raising fees and taxes along eliminating personal freedoms of the people they rule over.  Here in Connecticut the omnipotent Democrat Party along with many RINO's (Republicans In Name Only) take pride in this yearly spectacle of higher taxes and higher spending.  There can be no limits to a socialist government that spirals out of control year-in and year-out.  Governor Malloy's socialism has overseen and helped to create one of the largest economic downturns in our state's history since he has taken office.
The "new" bipartisan budget was more of the same with higher spending and taxes.  The Democrats realizing that 2018 is another election year have conceded that their tax and spending policies have helped to ruin the state and they must show some restraint in this new budget.  I am surprised as to how many concessions they have agreed to if it is actually true since it is difficult if not impossible to actually read the budget document since it seems to be a secret.
Some highlights that I can gather from our new secret budget:
Hartford gets a $40 Million dollar bailout but it creates a fiscal oversight board to help manage its finances.
Higher taxes on cigarettes and a new tax on Uber rides (how much is unknown).
The Legislature must now vote on every union contract that comes up (this should have been done years ago).
Hartford's XL Center gets $40 million in bonding for upgrades but will be put on the market for sale in two years.  This is throwing $40 million dollars out of the window in my opinion.
There are long overdue reforms to binding arbitration since in my opinion it has helped cause the fiscal nightmare in our state.
There is a $1.9 billion dollar bonding cap.  Connecticut will now have even more than its current $60 to $80 billion dollars in unfunded liabilities and short and long term debt with this increase.
There will supposedly be a "strong" spending cap whatever that means.  There was a state constitutional amendment passed 25 years ago by Connecticut voters that should have been followed for the past 25 years that wasn't.  I am not overly optimistic about this new cap either.
From what I can gather there is an increase in spending and an increase in taxes.  There should have been no increased spending and no increases in taxes or new taxes and I would have been much more acceptable to this budget.  But we get a great deal of bells and whistles that we as taxpayers supposedly should get excited about.  There is no plan to address the $60 to $80 billion dollars in unfunded liabilities and short and long term debt that the state has.
And I do not see how this budget is balanced either.
And we do not know if the Governor will sign the budget either.
And Connecticut still does not have a budget on October 29th.
It is time to take back Connecticut.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Wallingford's Strong Republican Leadership

As we all know Election Day is almost upon us.  On Tuesday, November 7th, legal registered voters are allowed to cast their ballots for the people of their choice to represent them for the next two years in Connecticut's municipal elections.  It a part of our democracy that many choose to follow and make their voices heard and a path where many could not be bothered to spend 15 minutes of their lives in actually doing.  In my opinion many of those who choose not to vote are the loudest complainers of what is going on in our society and community.  Do not complain if you do not vote. The time of election here in Wallingford we again hear a tale of two cities, one that is horribly run with massive taxes, high costs and a path to economic oblivion.  And then the economic reality of a prosperous, dynamic, efficiently run, low tax, low electric cost community run by a Republican led Town Council and a Mayor who has been office for many years placing Wallingford's needs above his own and his own political gain.  
Wallingford is a unique community because of this.  Because of strong Republican leaders who place Wallingford's interest over their political ego on the Board of Education, Town Council, the Charter Commission and in the Mayor's office.  Wallingford's strong Republican leadership has been able to keep a AAA bond rating for many years now, has been able to keep taxes low, has been able to have the lowest electric rates in the state and provide effective local services, a strong educational system for our youth and an up to date Charter.  Wallingford's Republican leadership has been a dynamic force in keeping Wallingford moving forward economically and growing.
Wallingford's Republican leadership should become a model for our state.  It is not however the template that our state government uses.
Mayor William Dickinson has led Wallingford and continues to lead Wallingford as an elected official should.  He is economically conservative and understands that taxpayers monies is not unlimited.  He is also legally bound by the countless unfunded mandates that Connecticut government places on its cities and towns that increases our spending.  Mayor Dickinson has led by example never to be brought up on any ethics charge in all of the years he has been in office.  Can that be said about the ex-felon who is now Mayor of Bridgeport?
On November 7th Wallingford voters have the opportunity to extend forceful, economically rational and ethical government in Wallingford by voting for Mayor Dickinson for reelection along with the entire Republican slates for Board of Education and Town Council.  We see a well-run town due to Wallingford's Republican leadership.  They deserve to continue to run Wallingford for the next two years.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Vincent Cervoni For Wallingford Town Council

Mr. Cervoni is the Chairman of the Wallingford Town Council.  He in my opinion runs a fair and balanced town council meeting in an efficient and effective manner.   He listens to all sides of an issue before making a decision and he does make sure that all sides are heard during a debate.  He is an excellent choice this election.
From his campaign literature and website:
It has been my pleasure to continue my service to the Town of Wallingford in this, my fourth term on the Town Council.  I have been honored to be selected by my fellow councilors to be their chairman in this latest term, as well as the previous term.  I look forward to continuing on the Town Council for a fifth term.  I ask for your support.
I am proud to say that in this term, I have been a member of an administration which maintains an Aaa bond rating, the highest a municipality can achieve.  Having an excellent credit rating is a noteworthy accomplishment because it speaks to the financial stability of the Town.  Let's continue to keep Wallingford on solid financial ground.
Our new Plan of Conservation and Development was drafted and adopted in this past term.  The Plan encourages positive development in Wallingford with an emphasis on downtown development.
We have in place tax incentives to encourage new development in the downtown district, near the new, soon to open train station.
Through my negotiation and organization, our wonderful business owners have donated enough to fund the Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration for 2016 and 2017.  This is true American spirit! 
We have maintained low taxes and maintain good services in exchange for the taxpayer's dollar. 
We have achieved and maintained an Aaa bond rating!  This gives the Town the ability bond at the lowest available interest rates and to refinance bonds as interest rates decrease. 
We maintain a bonded debt per capita ratio of less than $1000 per resident.  This also contributes to our Aaa bond rating. 
Our schools are continuously improving.  Our talented Board of Education, combined with the school system's professional leader, Superintendent Dr. Sal Menzo, have improved our school system while maintaining efficiency.  I am proud to say that I have supported the Board of Education and their leaders in their work. 
The Wallingford Electric Division is an excellent enterprise, keeping energy rates low for residents while attracting businesses to Town for the same reason.  More businesses in Town reduce the residential tax burden.
Our Electric Division also creates rate incentives for new businesses moving to the downtown district.  It is important that we keep moving toward a revitalized downtown.  This is the face of our Town for a great variety of visitors, whether for business or academic travel.

Low taxes, economic growth, forward thinking are all parts of Mr. Cervoni's platform and again he puts the needs of our community above personal political gain.  
Mr. Cervoni  is articulate and offers a great deal of insight on many issues that come forward to the Council.   He is dedicated to Wallingford and making it even better than it is today.  He deserves to be reelected this November.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Tom Laffin For Wallingford Town Council

Wallingford Town Council Vice Chairman Tom Laffin is running for reelection this November.  Tom is an articulate and soft-spoken individual on the council who is concerned with neither ego nor fan fare as he looks at and decides on the issues of our community.  I am impressed with his knowledge on issues and his ability to communicate his thoughts to the public.  He has a desire to serve our town. He is an active member in our community.  
From his campaign literature and website:

I have a record of fiscal responsibility - cutting added lines out of the budget, not being afraid to say ‘no’ to some spending requests, but I also have a record of supporting programs and spending to keep our town healthy and safe through my support of the overall budget.
I have a record of being responsive to neighbors’ needs, by working with other town leaders and staff to get things fixed in town, such as blight in our neighborhoods.
I have a record of keeping things moving and focused on what is best for the town, whether it is voting with the members of the other party to sell the American Legion or with my own party to move the issues along and keep us from getting bogged down in unproductive issues and investigations.
I have a record of sticking to my principles even when it was contrary to getting what we all wanted, such as when I voted against the use of eminent domain.
I have a record of choosing to govern rather than make things political.  I'm not a big talker, because I have learned the fastest way to get someplace is to take the straightest possible route, and I have found the fastest route is usually the quietest route which, unfortunately, is difficult when politics are involved. 
But I don’t like to think of what I do as politics, but rather as service - this is my way to help.  Politics, however, is often a necessary evil, like these campaigns, that unfortunately gets in the way of governing at times.  Governing, just like parenting, is a tricky thing - if you do it right, it will appear to be seamless, people won’t be sure you did anything at all...that is until they reach a point of appreciation or every November.
Someone once said, ‘Decisions are made by the people that show up’...
In 1670, 126 people got together and settled in what we now know as Wallingford. 126 people picked up their lives and sought something better than what they had and they showed up here and chose to be a part of something bigger. Look where we are today, because a few people showed up.
I have been a consistent defender of the Wallingford taxpayer.  I have fought to cut frivolous budget lines, protecting necessary and carefully considered spending priorities. I will continue to vote only for fiscally responsible budgets.
Each budget season I spend sleepless nights wrestling with the choices of cutting spending or raising taxes and finding the balance between maintaining a well run town with reasonable spending and preventing our town from remaining stagnant.
Public Safety:
Public safety has always and will always remain a priority for all elected officials in town and we are all grateful for the dedication and hard work that our safety and emergency authorities provide and will continue to provide the funding and support they need.
I have continuously supported the requests of our of safety services departments, whether it be for special radio and computer upgrades or bid waivers on fire trucks and specifications necessary to get the job done.
While I supported and encouraged the placement of a drop box in the police station,  I understood the Police Chief’s concerns and am extremely satisfied with the compromise that was reached.
I have been a consistent supporter of environmental priorities in town, including: the procurement and maintenance of open space, and the expansion of the Quinnipiac Linear Trail into Yalesville. These resources help maintain our community's small town feel and charm.
Arts and Culture:
I am proud of Wallingford's partnerships with various venues and programs which enhance the lives of Wallingford residents.  Through both the private and public sectors, including the Oakdale Theatre, SCOW, Wallingford Symphony Orchestra, and the Choate Paul Mellon Arts Center, the community comes together to participate in and enjoy what these organizations have to offer.
I believe Tom Laffin should continue to serve as one of our Town Councilors.  He has a professional approach to issues and problems.  His leadership is essential and vital in 2017 and beyond.  Vote Tom Laffin in November.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

No Connecticut Budget on October 21

My usual blog on a Saturday is to remind Connecticut Taxpayers that there is still no budget and there is still massive short and long term unfunded liabilities and debt.  Along with above market salaries, benefits and pensions for both state management and union workers.  Thus today, Saturday October 21, I will state the same there is still no budget and there is still massive short and long term unfunded liabilities and debt.  Along with above market salaries, benefits and pensions for both state management and union workers.
There was a budget proposal that was worked on and is being ready for a vote this coming week.  Governor Malloy has been shut out of these negotiations as both sides are tired of his fits of rage when dealing with his economically illogical proposals on his four ridiculous budgets that he has presented.  The new budget raises the cigarette tax and eliminates the local property tax on motor vehicles which will shift this tax burden to cities and towns.  It increases the amount that state teachers contribute to their pensions from 6% to 7%.  Currently according to the Office of Fiscal Analysis Connecticut has one of the highest average teacher pensions in the country at $59,000 per year for those who retired in 2016.  In 2017 it will increase more.  State teachers do not pay into Social Security but pay 6% of their incomes into their pension fund.  The pension fund unfunded liability is expected to increase dramatically over the next ten years.  The amount the state contributes to this fund will grow from $1 billion dollars a year to $6 billion dollars a year in the near future.  Connecticut also offers a state income tax break on those state teachers pensions of 50% beginning in 2017 up from the current 25% if these teachers continue to live in Connecticut.   Connecticut Taxpayers who have private sector pensions receive no state income tax exemption for their pensions.  For those individuals who work in the private sector and who pay into Social Security their tax is 6.2% on their incomes.  As an example, an individual who works in the private sector and averages $80,000 a year in income will when retiring at age 67 will only receive an average social security payment of $22,000 to $27,000 a year depending on gross life time earnings.  This figure is much less than Connecticut teachers retirement benefits.  The fiscal imbalance is enormous for Connecticut Taxpayers who work in the private sector.  If we look at other state pensions for both management and union workers the amount they receive in their pensions are well above average as compared to other states.  Some state workers do not even contribute to their pensions.  Some state pensions will add overtime and mileage reimbursements to their pensions.
This budget proposal also address binding arbitration cases for towns and cities by allowing more than just the last offers from both sides to have to be accepted in these cases.  This leaves more room for negotiations and less costly proposals to be available for cities and towns.  The budget naturally will bail out the city of Hartford to help avoid their inevitable bankruptcy.
There is a lot to like and dislike about this budget proposal.  Connecticut Taxpayers can see the incredible power the state employee unions have over how the state is allowed to spend their monies.  Connecticut Taxpayers can also see how above market salaries, benefits and pensions for both state management and union workers will eventually be the only area that the state will be spending its money on and will probably lead to our own states bankruptcy. 
How did Connecticut end up in this fiscal mess?  In my economic opinion it has been pay to play, give unions and all of the other special interest groups what they want paid for by Connecticut Taxpayers.  Make sure votes both legally and illegally are then delivered to the Connecticut Democrat Party to keep them in power.  Push any economic solutions to resolve the impending economic crisis to future unborn generations.
What a mess.
It is time to take back Connecticut.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Joe Marrone For Wallingford Town Council

I am using one of my votes in November to reelect Joe Marrone to the Town Council.  Mr. Marrone has done an excellent job in my opinion as a member of the Town Council.  He shows a great deal of leadership qualities and characteristics in his actions and has spent a great deal of time in examining all sides of the issues.  That allows him to make in my opinion valid and effective votes on all topics.  Being a parent with three sons in the school system, Mr. Marrone takes an active role in what is actually going on in our schools with an eye to the future through articulate ideas.  I urge my fellow Wallingford Voters to reelect Joe to the Town Council.

From his campaign website:
  1. Stands up for families -  I have young children and family is very important to me.  I consistently push for greater access to the public schools and more parental involvement.  Just this year, I fought for greater ability for parents to question curricular decisions in schools.  I am involved in Scouting because I believe it helps families to raise responsible children.
  2. Here for the long haul -  Ours is a town that attracts families from all over to locate here.  Many of these families will relocate once their children are finished with our excellent pubic schools.  I grew up in town and my family and I are here to stay. 
  3. Responsible with your money - In my time on the Board of Education, I voted against a number of proposed budgets because I did not believe that they were sustainable over time.  Responsible government is always thrifty and tax dollars are money that belongs to my friends and neighbors.  Elected officials should take greater care with other people's money than they do with their own.
  4. Here to help, not here to make noise -  I am a dad, and as a dad sometimes you need to be there to fix things, and sometimes you need to stand on the sidelines.  If you follow town government, you will note that I am never the one to go out of my way to grab a headline or a soundbite.  This type of grandstanding is all too common, and is frankly a counterproductive waste of your time.
  5. Respects the traditions of our town -   We have a well run Electric Division, great police and fire service and great town services.  There is always room to improve every service, but we need to focus on what is really vital and be cautious about expanding services in a time when tax dollars are so tight.
  6. Running for the right reasons -  I have enjoyed my nearly 6 years on the Board of Education working to help children and families and I believe I can do more on the Town Council.  If the voters don't choose me, Wallingford will still be a great town.  I think that my background and common sense approach to government will be an asset to the town.  
  7. Is not afraid to stand alone - Reasonable adults can disagree about a great many things.  I have stood alone on a number of issues on the Board, including the budget, excessive early dismissals, and school snack policy.  I would be no different on the Council.
  8. Not interested in trends and fads -  We have major issues facing our town, including improvements to the water treatment plant, businesses leaving our town and a stagnant grand list.  These are the things we need to focus on.  There are plenty of minor issues that we can talk about, but they are often a distraction to real function of government.
  9. Is forward thinking - I am always interested in what will not only serve us today, but will help us tomorrow.  After careful consideration, I supported the cost saving and education enhancing reconfiguration of the elementary schools.  
  10. Is open minded -  I am a proud Republican, however, a good idea is a good idea.  We currently have outstanding Democrats on the Council and I would be happy to work with them on any issue for the betterment of the people of Wallingford.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Chris Shortell For Wallingford Town Council

One of my votes for Wallingford Town Council will be going to Republican candidate Chris Shortell. He is an energetic and established candidate who offers a variety of different and useful ideas.  He has done an excellent job in my opinion as a member of the Wallingford Town Council  He is a family man with two wonderful children.  
Some thoughts from his campaign information:

Fiscal uncertainty at the state level and its impact on Wallingford
Maintaining our strong finances and not wasting our surplus on frivolous spending.  This means potentially making tough decisions on services like Community Pool, which has seen a massive decline in usage and is in need of replacement.
Looking for ways to cut spending where possible.  As I have often said at our meetings, there should be “no sacred cows.”  That means that all departments--from police and fire to the school system--should be actively looking for ways to cut spending and be more efficient.
Modernizing our town health insurance program, which will help save money (more on that below).

Continuing to modernize our town health insurance program
Include an HSA or high deductible plan as an option in all future contracts that do not already include it.
Begin exploring strategies to migrate town employees into these lower cost plans via town payroll contribution.

Promote economic development
Support the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) initiatives, including exploring more aggressive tax incentives to spur downtown development.
Continue to explore opportunities to assemble parcels and package for developers
Assess the old train station and make a recommendation for future usage
Parking strategy for both uptown and downtown

Protect our community
Our police, fire and public works all do a great job, and we need to continue to support them while being mindful of the tough economy and budget limitations.
Education, advocacy, and support for both the police and organizations like the Coalition for a Better Wallingford, as we grapple with the devastating opioid crisis.  This is a situation, as the Deputy Police Chief said last year, that we “cannot arrest our way out of.”
I feel Chris Shortell would be an excellent candidate for Town Council.  I urge fellow Wallingford voters to vote for him in November.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

No Connecticut Budget On October 14

Yes there is still no Connecticut budget as of October 14, 2017.  Connecticut remains no only state in the country not to have a budget.  Connecticut still has a massive amount of short and long term debt, short and long term unfunded liabilities along with a massive budget deficit.  Connecticut is ruled not by an elected state legislature but by an omnipotent state labor union along with a core of management non union employees whom are all paid above market salaries, benefits and pensions.  These above market union and non union salaries, pensions and benefits have helped to contribute to Connecticut's constant economic decline and enormous debt.
Thus we still have no budget.  Governor Malloy chooses to insult all groups that he dislikes in the state with regards to his economically illiterate budget proposal he presented several weeks back.  Governor Malloy chose to veto a bi-partisan budget that passed the House and Senate that would have started to address the massive tax and spending problems the state has.  But no the Governor has hissy fits and tantrums when he is being questioned about his budget or lack of leadership.  Yet budget negotiations trudge on and on and on. 
And the best part of the entire crisis is that Connecticut Taxpayers will paying Malloy's pension for years to come when he gets out of office.
A dictatorship is seen in Hartford.  Connecticut Taxpayers support this dysfunctionalism on a daily basis due to the high levels of taxes they must pay to live in the state.  The Malloy Administration has been an abysmal failure in governing.  The Connecticut Democrat Party is a tool of the state labor unions.  And Connecticut Taxpayers are governed by an elite few and told what they can have and not have.
There is still no Connecticut budget as of October 14, 2017.  There are still no answers to Connecticut's massive amount of short and long term debt, short and long term unfunded liabilities along with a massive budget deficit. There are still no answers to Connecticut's above market state union and non union salaries, pensions and benefits.  No answers.  Just political grandstanding by the Connecticut Democrat Party.
It is time to take back Connecticut in 2018.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The 2017 Wallingford Election: Board Of Education

Wallingford is a great town and community.  It has a strong sense of fiscal responsibility and of self government.  It has an excellent school system that has been helped over the past with a Republican majority on its Board of Education.  The election in 2017 is no different with six strong Republican candidates running for the Board.  They include: incumbents Roxane McKay, who chairs the school board, as well as Shauna Glidden and Karen Hlavac.  This year we also have newcomers Ray Ross, Lou Czerwinski, and Erin Corso running for seats.  The Republican candidates believe in fiscal responsibility and getting the most out of the Board of Education budget.  I urge my fellow Wallingford voters to elect a Republican majority for the board on November 7th. 

Saturday, October 07, 2017

The Malloy Gimmick Veto-Still No Connecticut Budget

Governor Malloy vetoed on September 28 what he called a "gimmick-laden" budget that passed the House and Senate on September 15/16.  The Governor long on rhetoric and short on economic literacy continued his rants and raves about how bad the budget was since it made cuts to higher education especially the University of Connecticut.  Malloy then took to the road with UConn's President Susan Herbst who in fiscal year 2015-2016 earned a mere $911,037.50 in salary along with $75,062.21 in fringe benefits ( to state the devastation that will take place to the University if those budget cuts were made.  The Board of Regents for Higher Education President Mark Ojakian who earns in excess of $332,000 a year in salaries and benefits took equally to the streets to stir up a posse of complaints about the new budget and its cuts to his department. Cries of "Tax the Rich" were heard by several special interest groups even though many of the wealthiest Connecticut Taxpayers are moving out of the state each year thus furthering the collapsing tax revenues the state receives each year. 
Obviously here in Connecticut cutting spending is wrong especially when its comes to higher education.  If one examines closely the higher education budget especially for administrative non teaching positions salaries, benefits and pensions there seems to be a massive amount of money being spent in these areas. The only solutions in response to these budget cuts being put forth by its leaders is to raise tuition for students.  There is never any mention of cuts to either President Herbst's or President Ojakian's salaries, benefits or pensions.  Nor there is ever any mention of any economic solutions by what is supposed to be some of the smartest and brightest individuals in our society who run Connecticut higher education on how to do more with less money. Connecticut Taxpayers must finds ways to do more with less on a daily basis.
Thus we still have no budget nor do I believe we will have a budget in the near future. 
Governor Malloy and the Connecticut Democrat Party wishes to inflict as much pain and suffering it can on Connecticut Taxpayers in order to protect and nurture a ruling political class that has decreed upon itself one of the highest levels of salaries, benefits and pensions in the country at the expense of the state's economic well being.  
Connecticut continues to be an economic nightmare with this budget mess.  Connecticut continues to have failed leadership in its government.  Connecticut's short and long term debt continues to be massive. 
It is time to take back Connecticut.