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The Chris Powell Column

Only the poor need Connecticut’s cities

The Chris Powell Column

Celebrating the obvious in a 28-page study aimed at political candidates, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities proclaimed late last year that Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven and Waterbury are poor and have special needs and thus a special claim on state government’s resources.
No one would dispute the poverty. But the report’s argument for pouring still more money into those cities was weak.

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Silly you if you thought concessions meant cuts

The Chris Powell Column

When Gov. Malloy announced that he would seek $2 billion in concessions from the state employee unions in the next budget cycle, a billion a year for two years, most people assumed that these concessions were to come out of the compensation state employees already were receiving.

Convictions are too easy to justify with false confessions

The Chris Powell Column

Nobody who looks impartially at the case of Richard Lapointe today is likely to be much persuaded of his guilt in the rape and murder of his wife’s grandmother, Bernice Martin, in Manchester in 1987.
Lapointe’s prosecution and conviction were based entirely on three contradictory and even absurd confessions sweated out of him by Manchester police two years later during an interrogation lasting more than nine hours, in which he participated voluntarily and without a lawyer.

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State employee unions help most by refusing

The Chris Powell Column

Despite the public’s growing resentment of the privileged position of Connecticut’s approximately 45,000 state employees, their unions may be doing the state a great favor by resisting Gov. Dannel Malloy’s demand for a billion dollars’ worth of concessions for each of the next two budget years, the equivalent of about $22,000 per employee per year, almost a quarter of their average compensation.

Suffragette’s notebook shows struggle

The Chris Powell Column

Having elected two women governors, including the first elected without following her husband in office, and being largely indifferent politically to gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation, Connecticut seems to have lost appreciation for the country’s first great civil rights movement — the movement for women’s suffrage.
But maybe that will change a little with the discovery by Connecticut’s League of Women Voters of a notebook compiled in the summer of 1918 by a suffragette, Gladys Bragdon, recording her interviews with state legislators about granting women the right to vote.

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A war withut asking; and a rationale for bloat

The Chris Powell Column

Another day, another imperial war. This time it’s intervention in the civil war in Libya, whose mode of governance suddenly is considered a crucial interest of the United States, though nobody suggested as much only a few weeks ago. A few weeks ago, the United States and its allies were happy to help pump and purchase Libya’s oil and thus finance the regime of the dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

A scandal much bigger than higher education

The Chris Powell Column

Gov. Malloy says consolidating the state university system and community college administrations will save “tens of millions of dollars over time.” How much time? It might take tens of millions of years.
Certainly the higher education bureaucracy could use pruning. The chancellor of the state university system, whose retirement Malloy seems to have hastened, is being paid nearly $400,000 per year, and university presidents are earning nearly $300,000.

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Accountability and openness the way to go

The Chris Powell Column

Among the agency consolidations proposed in Gov. Malloy’s budget is the merger of the state Freedom of Information Commission, the Elections Enforcement Commission, the Office of State Ethics, the Judicial Review Council and the Contracting Standards Board into something to be called the Office of Government Accountability. The projected savings would be small and might not materialize for a few years, since consolidation would impose its own costs, like installing new computer systems.

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Malloy feeds machine: Who has a better idea?

The Chris Powell Column

Grouse at Gov. Malloy all you want, but during the election campaign, as the Democratic nominee, he said he would raise taxes even as his Republican opponent pledged not to. At budget briefings last week, the governor and his staff outlined how he proposes to give Connecticut what it voted for: big income, sales and gasoline tax increases.

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Been there, done that, the result: 20 years of decline

The Chris Powell Column

Here we go again. Connecticut state government is far beyond broke as social conditions worsen. The governor wants huge tax increases and concessions from the state employee unions to restore solvency. The taxpaying class and the government class are at each other’s throats as the governor tries to split the difference.

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