Friday, May 20, 2005

Open Forum

What's happening around the state?


MikeCT said...

State budget ads

A few Connecticut organizations are spreading their views on state budget issues through radio and TV ads. You can listen to and watch these ads online.

CT Voices for Children has recently been airing a radio ad promoting more fairness in the state's tax system. (Middle class and low-income residents pay twice the share of their income in state and local taxes as the wealthy.)

The CT Education Association is airing TV & radio ads that advocate for a greater state share of education funding (reducing the burden on cities and towns) and a more progressive tax system. The ads drive listeners to the Web site.
* TV ad 1 (mpeg)
* TV ad 2 (mpeg)
* Radio ad (mp3)

The CT Conference of Municipalities is encouraging aid to cities and towns in its radio ad (mp3).

ebpie said...

Does anyone know anything about the Fairfield University Professor who is challenging Joe Lieberman? Is he really going forward with it?

MikeCT said...

Orman has formed a campaign committee and something of a Web site (primarily created to solicit a DFA endorsement?), though I can’t comment on whether the campaign is serious, active, or organized.

Dave Mooney said...

Stratford is having its first ever mayoral election this year after revising our charter in 03. We have previously had an 11 member volunteer town council headed by a councilman-at-large and a professional town manager. We are essentially replacing the CAL and the manager with a mayor. NINE candidates have thrown their hats in including three Dems, four Republicans (one petitioning) and two more unaffiliated petitioning candidates. It's going to be an exciting cycle here in Stratford.

David Mooney

Genghis Conn said...


That's really interesting! I'm always interested to see what happens when a town/city changes its charter. Keep us posted.

MikeCT said...

The Clean Up Connecticut campaign is making progress in moving campaign finance reform legislation through the state legislature. They are calling on us to contact our legislators now to support the legislation. They have created a great TV ad (mpeg) featuring legislators from states that have successfully implemented public financing.

In related news, Keith Phaneuf of the Journal-Inquirer, one of the more original reporters in the state, has written a series of articles focused on legislative fundraising and "leadership PACs". (scroll about halfway down J-I home page for links).

Among the findings of one article:

"A review of election data shows that 94 percent of incumbents in the House of Representatives who sought re-election to a two-year term were successful both in 2004 and in 2002. Ninety-seven percent won in 2000.

"The numbers were even better in the Senate, where incumbents won 97 percent of the time last November, 95 percent in 2002, and 99 percent in 2000.....

"This past November, 40 percent of the 187 legislative races -- in 151 House districts and 36 Senate districts -- lacked either a Democratic or Republican candidate. That meant a major-party candidate either ran unopposed or faced a minor-party opponent."

Sounds like a call for meaningful campaign finance reform, candidate recruitment and development, and grassroots involvement if I ever heard one.

MikeCT said...

The Universal Health Care Foundation of CT has commissioned a poll of CT residents on health care issues:

* 54% believe government should be responsible for making sure all Connecticut residents have access to care

* 70% support creating a state health plan partially financed by taxpayers through which all residents could purchase insurance

* 69% percent support requiring businesses to provide health insurance to employees

* 86% support making it possible once again for working parents who earn 150% of the Federal Poverty Level to enroll in the state's HUSKY health insurance plan

Picking up on this last point, the legislature's Appropriations Committee has proposed restoring HUSKY coverage to parents of children enrolled in HUSKY with family incomes up to 150% of the FPL. Eligibility was cut back to 100% of the FPL in 2003. Coverage for some but not all of these parents was temporarily extended, but it is decision time at the LOB.

Parents don't stop getting sick when they are uninsured, but they do delay care and end up in emergency rooms, increasing overall costs to the health care system and shifting costs from one area of state spending (HUSKY) to others (community health centers, hospital susbidies). More on this from the CT Health Foundation (PDF). HUSKY is less expensive than private insurance and state employee insurance, and its costs are rising slower than those in private plans.

Also, in a thus-far unreported story, the Appropriations Committee and Governor have called for increased premiums and copays on children enrolled in HUSKY B, a state health insurance program for moderate-income uninsured children. This has been tried before - in 2004, these changes were implemented, and 3,000 children (one in five in this part of the HUSKY program) were slated to lose coverage because their parents couldn't afford the premiums. Realizing this, the legislature reversed the premiums and Gov. Rowland went along. Devoid of any historical memory, our lunkheaded political leaders are set to make the same stupid mistake.

Another reason to contact your state legislator.

MikeCT said...

Dan Haar, the Courant's maverick business columnist, calls for an end to captive meetings - compulsory employer harangues designed to discourage union organizing. The issue was covered last year by the Hartford Advocate.

A bill in the CT legislature (seems to be SB 277) would end the practice. The bill apparently died in the State Senate but supporters hope to resurrect it in the House.

An action alert on this topic from last year (ignore the bill number) provides some talking points. The CT AFL-CIO has also produced a fact sheet on the issue.

Great Santini said...

With all the concerns being voiced about the SUBBASE, Nutmeggers should look across the river and ask how long the Coast Guard Academy can possibly stay in New London. There are three federal academies for the sea services - the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD; the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT; and the Merchant Marine Academy at King's Point, Long Island, NY. There's also the Naval War College in Newport, RI and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, CA. All offer free educations at taxpayer expense. Some day someone will recommend consolidation. The Naval Academy and the Naval War College are safe - the others are definitely at risk.

stomv said...

"The numbers were even better in the Senate, where incumbents ... 99 percent in 2000"

- some ad

That doesn't pass the smell test. Only 1/3 of Senator seats are up in an election. If every single incumbant ran to keep his race, and a single one lost, that would be a 97% retention rate. If fewer than all 34 ran and one lost, that 97% would fall. Of course, if every single one won, that'd be 100%.

The re-election rate in the Senate for a single election sample simply can not be 99%, even with a margin of error.

There's no excuse for that crap.