Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hartford getting ready to go for 2009

The 2009 legislative session is scheduled to begin tomorrow. But there's also forecast for what appears to be a rather nasty storm tonight and into tomorrow morning which could make the commute to the Capitol tricky. I'm wondering, if in the interest of public (not to mention personal) safety if the opening session will be canceled.

There was, however, some encouraging news from the Capitol today. Incoming Speaker of the House Chris Donovan said he is asking the two main legislative committees (Appropriations and Revenue) to begin working on the budget sooner rather than later. Traditionally, neither group begins the real heavy lifting until later in the session. Of course, not much can be done on the new budget until next month when Gov. Rell delivers her proposal to the General Assembly.

And if tomorrow's session is held, I do hope the governor will be a bit more frank in her opening remarks with some clear indications of what she intends to present in terms of a two-year spending plan. She hasrepeatedly said she wants to avoid tax increases and layoffs of state workers -- but I don't know how you cut $6 billion over two years without some increase in taxes and some layoffs or major union concessions.


Blogger dweeb said...

Sadly, responsible budgets (like diets) always begin 'tomorrow'.

The challenge for those in Hartford (and for us who live by the decisions they make, and shape) is getting all of us to tomorrow.

I fear the state can (and will) reduce funding to municipalities for the programs it has mandated shifting the load to the backs of local residents whose property taxes will, by necessity, escalate, to offset the loss of that state funding. How many more years of magic bookkeeping will have before we agreee it doesn't work?

In much the same way as 'energy independence' was spoken about frequently at 4 dollars a gallon (but not nearly so loudly or often in recent days and weeks), every local leaders' mantra now seems to be 'regionalization' but there's no concomitant acceptance of relinguishing of autonomy.

On this side of the CT River, we can't get enough cooperation to build a regional dog pound.

And you need only look at the back and forth on the Norwich City Council over making sure 'other towns' kicked in their 'fair share' for the New London Hospitality Center before contributing to better appreciate the difficulty of the task ahead.

I fear we may not have the stamina or stomach (as one example) to take steps to consolidate payroll functions even within ONE municipality (in Norwich, just how different are the NPU, NPS and City's pay and benefits accounting systems that each entity has a separate one?) much less across the region.

How much salt and melting agent do the five largest towns in NL County buy, separately, and how much would those five save (joined by all the other towns and villages in the County) if these were purchased in bulk?

As residents in cash-strapped cities and towns, hands on our hearts: what are we willing to do without, or do with less of, than we currently have?

Police and other public safety? Infrastructure? Road and sidewalk repair? Education? Sewers and other utility upgrades? It's a target-rich environment if we could only choose.

We all want to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.

It's taken us how many years of prolifigate spending to reach, perhaps, a point where we are willing to say 'enough!' and 'no more!'

We have decades of bad habits to unlearn and whole new lifestyles and appetities to practice and acquire.

The hardest part is the start-and until we do, we cannot hope to finish.

5:24 PM  

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