“Indefensible. Irresponsible.”

September 28, 2018

(Please read and share the excellent editorial attached below and send me your comments at [email protected].  Include your name and town.  Thank you!)

State Bond Commission: Indefensible borrowing

(Waterbury Republican-American Editorial)

In a series of editorials published in the summer of 2016, we noted Connecticut government has a knack for irresponsible bonding.

We urged Capitol policymakers to keep in mind this principle articulated by then-Sen. Robert J. Kane, R-Watertown: “The core functions of government are public safety, public health, infrastructure and education. Playscapes, sidewalks and pet projects for your district have to take a back seat.”

This advice was not heeded, as recent events demonstrate.

Connecticut will remain in dire straits absent change.

At its Sept. 20 meeting, the State Bond Commission – of which Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is ex officio chairman – approved a $795 million package, according to a Hearst Connecticut Media Group story. Particularly controversial was the portion that will go toward local projects, like a handball court in Manchester; playgrounds in New Haven and West Haven; lighting for a West Hartford park; and several Little League fields, according to the Connecticut Mirror. The total cost for projects of this nature is $75.5 million.

Bonding only should be employed to fund items that are essential for living and working in Connecticut.

Simply put, life would have gone on for most, if not all, state residents if the 10-member Bond Commission hadn’t used the credit card for the aforementioned projects.

Being this generous will not ensure a stable future for Connecticut’s finances and, by extension, its economy.

Speaking of which, Connecticut’s bonding situation was dicey as it was. In April, the state’s approximately $24 billion in bond debt prompted S&P Global Ratings to issue a credit-rating downgrade. This resulted in higher interest costs for Connecticut, which already had one of the worst debt per capita ratios in the United States, the Mirror reported at the time.

According to the Bond Commission’s website, “Bonds create a debt of the state, and principal and interest is (sic) usually repaid over a 20-year period.” Rep. Chris Davis, R-East Windsor, House ranking member of the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, was the only member of the Bond Commission to vote no on the $75.5 million component of the above package, according to the Republican-American.

Gov. Malloy, who presided over one of his final Bond Commission meetings, defended this bonding.

“Since taking office, I have always maintained that if we want to compete for jobs and economic opportunities, we need to invest in building communities where people want to live and businesses want to grow,” he said.

If people want new playgrounds, Little League fields and the like, they can undertake fundraising drives.

In the 2016 editorials, we provided examples of well-organized, well-run and purposeful drives that ended in success.

Besides, the biggest threats to Connecticut’s viability arguably are the tax, regulatory and public-employee-union coddling policies of Gov. Malloy and Democratic legislators.  

The state’s next governor and legislature would do everyone a lot of good if they were to move beyond them and the unacceptable attitude toward bonding.