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September 26, 2018

I wanted to share with you Chris Powell’s latest excellent column in the Journal Inquirer.  Send me your comments at [email protected] and include your name and town – thank you!

Chris Powell: Draining state’s cash and credit, Malloy hobbles his successor

Watching Governor Malloy in the last weeks of his administration, you’d never get the impression that state government is in any financial trouble.

For there the governor was last week, presiding again over the state Bond Commission and authorizing another $500 million of borrowing for various projects, none of them urgent — they  included bicycle paths and playgrounds — many of them expensive ones in Hartford, whose long-term bonded debt of more than $500 million was assumed by state government a few months ago at the governor’s direction.

Meanwhile the unfunded liability of state government’s pension accounts, estimated at as much as $80 billion, is a big issue in the election campaign for governor.

So is the inadequacy of the state’s transportation infrastructure fund.

Indeed, even as the Bond Commission met last week, a research organization reported that 300 Connecticut bridges are “structurally deficient.”

So why all the borrowing for projects less important than bridge maintenance?

As with last year’s 10-year extension of the master state employee union contract, which guarantees compensation and forbids layoffs, the governor and the Democratic majority in the General Assembly are using up state government’s cash and credit to tie the hands of their successors, especially if their successors are Republicans not allied with Democratic special interests.

Last week the governor said state government this year has borrowed $209 million to loan or give to 109 companies in the name of economic development, whereby the companies promised to add 9,500 jobs and “retain” 23,000 more.

The governor meant this as a boast and yet it signified that 70 percent of the jobs financed by the state this year were already here.

That’s not economic development.

It’s ransom.

The governor says that when his term expires he’ll leave Connecticut in better shape than it was in when he took office eight years ago.

But the projected budget deficit he will leave his successor will be bigger than the one left to him, so in January Connecticut will be not just a mess but one whose state employees are the only ones fully insulated against it.