Thursday, May 10, 2007

Busy times in Hartford

There's a lot going on up in Hartford these days.

I guess the big news is the ongoing jockeying in regards to the state budget negotiations between Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the Democratic leadership in the General Assembly. Rell is backing away from her proposal of an across-thge-board 10 percent increase in the state income tax, going as far as suggesting no tax or a slight increase may only be necessary to implement her plan. She is holding firm, however, in her rejection of the Democratic plan to implement a graduated tax where those who earn more pay a higher rate. Democrats claim at least 90 percent of Connecticut residents would see a tax cut under their plan.

Meanwhile, a poll released yesterday shows most voters prefer the Republican proposal that calls for no tax increase at all. But that proposal has little chance of passing.

On another front, Rell finally made an appointment to the vacancy at the top of the state Department of Economic and Community Development. She has chosen Joan McDonald of New York City - a choice that drew immediate criticism from Senate President Pro Tem Don Williams, D-Brooklyn, who questioned the governor's choice by noting that McDonald's expertise is strictly in the area of transportation - not economic development.

State Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington, has a press conference scheduled for later today on her proposed legislation that would ban the use of bull sticks on elephants. Urban's "Act Concerning the Treatment of Elephants" is currently on the House calendar awaiting a vote in the lower chamber.

In the Senate yesterday, senators voted 26-7 to expand the state's bottle bill by putting a nickle deposit on water bottles, sports drinks and juice containers.

The Senate also voted 26-10 in favor of a meaasure that would eliminate the use of trans fatin Connecticut restaurants by the end of 2008.

And over in the House, members there gave their approval - and the final action - to a measure that authorizes the state Department of Consumer Protection to re-train bartenders and others who serve alcohol and have been caught violating the Liquor Control Act and lost their permits. That measure now goes to the governor's desk for her signature.


Blogger Bill Jenkins said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Bill Jenkins said...

Great Job Ray!!

The Planning & Development Committee will be meeting on May 14th to consider HB 6956 which will establish rebuttable presumptions under the Workers' Compensation law (meaning that the burden shifts back the employer to refute the claim) for firefighters and police officers for certain medical conditions, most notably "heart and hypertension."

The Environment Committee is also meeting on May 14th to consider bills, one of which is HB 7096 which extends the ban on using lawn care pesticides at elementary schools to ALL public and private schools.

The State House will be in session on Tuesday, May 15th.

2:41 PM  
Blogger mccommas said...

That’s was a good wrap up; I have to admit. I hope that makes it to print.

“Backing away from her proposal of an across-the-board 10 percent increase in the state income tax”. ??

Well that’s nice way to put it. Far too polite for me. Why not call it a “flip flop”?

Rudderless Rell felt the wind shift a trifle and buckled like a house of cards.

Too little, too late. Rell wants it both ways. House Republicans should give our accidental governor a rude hand gesture as their official response to this abrupt change of policy.

Poll? If voters wanted the Republican budget than they should have voted for Republicans. Now they are going to get the tax increase they said they wanted (and deserve) with the election of a veto proof Democrat majority. Voters always get the representation they deserve. The only poll that counts in the one in November of even years.

Joan McDonald for Economic Development? Well if Rudderless Rell picked her than she probably is unqualified but Donny Williams is hardly in any position to talk. This man who ignores, flat out ignores, the ever increasing pace that employers are leaving Connecticut for more pro-business states. We are bleeding jobs.

When Franklyn Mushrooms finally was forced to leave Don Williams tried to bribe them to stay with fuel cells proving once again the three laws of liberal economic development.

1, If it moves, tax it

2, if it keeps moving, regulate it.

3, if it stops moving subsidize it (which is known as corporate welfare when Republicans do it.)

On Heart and Hypertension some interesting goings on here in
Windham on that issue. The Selectmen voted 7 to 2 (or close to that) with one abstention on a resolution opposing the bill.

One Selectman that favors the bill and voted against the resolution is Selectman Dawn Niles.

This is the same Selectman that just week or two ago voted to deny the Republicans a single seat on the Ethics Committee because she didn’t think that my friend Marvin Edelman could wear two hats. That is a Republican that opposed her man for First Selectman in the elections could not put such feelings aside to rule on a particular ethics complaint impartially.

So she and the Democrat majority stacked the committee with Democrats and one unaffiliated (also their man).

No Republican is on the committee. Our watch dog has been put to sleep.

But here we are. Now it’s Niles that can’t take off her “Union” hat and put on her “taxpayer representative” hat to vote on a very important resolution.

If this monster is revived that that will be huge bucks lost for the town. Every town.

That monster needs to stay dead. Unions get enough from taxpayers already. Now they are just being greedy.

I will bet you that there are a lot dumber bills than Diana Urban’s elephant bill. Why are we just keep picking on her? I like elephants; don’t you? I say ban the horrible things. I don't like Urban switching parties but then again she is the only local person that had the guts to oppose Joette Katz re-nomination to the state supreme court.

Katz is the writer of the decision that said a Winham cop that was murdered didn't suffer enough pain to warrent the death penalty of his murderer. Urban gets a free pass from me.

I think the bottle bill is a good idea even if Don Williams is supporting it. I don’t see why bottled water should have a competitive advantage over their competition. The playing field should be level. Of course fairness isn’t why Don Williams is in favor of it. This is another one of Donny's tax increases.

When has Don Williams ever opposed a tax increase? We need to pay our fair share after all!

Lord knows we don't pay enough already.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Ray Hackett said...

One point I'd like to point mccommas....a lot has been made about the Democratic "veto-proof" majority. But it isn't quite as useful a weapon as it might be when dealing with this year's budget.

Both Gov. Rell and the Democratic budget proposals exceed the constitutional cap on spending - that means the governor has to sign a declaration of emergency in order to adopt a budget that breaks the cap.

Essentially, she doesn't need to "veto" the Democratic proposal. She can merely return it to the lawmakers and remind them they can't pass a budget that exceeds the cap without that declaration (which she hasn't signed yet).

In doing that...there is no veto to override.

Thus...the "veto-proof" majority is nuetralized - at least on this one issue.

1:29 PM  
Blogger mccommas said...

Interesting point.

-- but only as long as we are spending way way way more money than we legally are supposed to according to Constitutional Law?

So is she NOW going to hold spending down or what? Or she will spend the same but not tax as much?

If she is back in the Republican Party I will welcome her with open arms but I am very suspicious of her sudden change of heart.

The wounds on my back haven't quite healed yet...

8:59 PM  

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