Wednesday, May 24, 2006

CT's State Surplus Grows

The state surplus has ballooned to an estimated $791 million with only weeks to go in the fiscal year, Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced Tuesday.

The estimate is up about $192.6 million from last month's figure calculated by the Office of Policy and Management, Rell's budget office.


The additional money will be deposited in the Rainy Day fund. I expect that Rell will be talking this accomplishment up all summer.

Source
Associated Press. "State's Estimated Surplus Grows". Hartford Courant. 5/24/06

58 comments:

Brass Anon said...

Doesn't the ballooning surplus mean that we have been overtaxed by these Republican administrations for years? Maybe it is time for tax reform? Or maybe the state should start funding the municipalities appropriately. I don't know how the Governor takes credit for overtaxing us.

TSCowperthwait said...

While it is important to have money saved for a rainy day, $971 million is a bit absurd. As gas prices sit at approximately $3/gallon (and are expected to rise over the summer), now would be the time to re-consider the $0.25/gallon state gas tax. Or perhaps, like Brass Anon suggests, the Governor's office and legislature should re-visit municipality funding (which would possibly result in lower mill rates/personal property taxes). And we all thought the oil companies were the only ones with windfall profits...

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

overtaxed by these Republican administrations for years?

Ooops! One day was all it took for someone else to beat the record for stupidest thing ever posted on this blog.

TSCowperthwait said...

ADANR,

I just want it to be clear that I only agreed with BA that the state should re-visit how it governs and NOT that we are overtaxed by Republican administrations...

Brass Anon said...

No reason for personal attacks Mr. or Ms. A Different Anonymous.

As I recall, however, the last time we had a Democrat in the governor's office was January, 1991. We've had more than 11 years of GOP administrations which have neither eliminated the income tax, nor lowered the sales tax. All the while, the deficit in pension funds grows, and municipalities get less and less funding while trying to pay for infrastructure and schools.
In the meantime, the Republican administration lines the pockets of its friends with tax dollars and builds a failure of a reform school, and a convention center which no one needed - among other wasteful projects.
Blame the Democrats in the legislature if you choose, but as a famous Democrat once said, "the buck stops here," here meaning the governor's office in this case.
When we have a real leader in the governor's office, maybe then things will be different.

bluecoat said...

Pay down the debt that Rowland-Rell and the 'incumbent party' in the General Assembly amassed to pass out goodies in order to stay in power for the last decade.

TSCowperthwait said...

Umm, BA, it is the Deomcrat-controlled legislature that needs to pass a bill to lower or eliminate those taxes. I don't recall that happening. I also find it funny that you recognize that the some will blame the legislature but still seem to think that the reason is the executive's failure to be a "real leader." It takes both sides and I guarantee you if a Dem was Governor working with an overwhelming GOP-controlled General Assembly that you would be calling for the Governor to veto the GOP-recommended tax cuts...

KerryGuy said...

Wow - we had better get a special session fast so the legislature can spend this new windfall. And BA - I think the Governor actually proposed some added tax cuts that went nowhere. A true fiscal conservative would see that we are overtaxed, and would act accordingly. Rell is no such animal. But the incumbents in all both the Governor's mansion and the legislature want to have the bigger pot of money to spend. It means more pork and more votes, assuring they will be back for another term. It's a vicious cycle.
As for the gas tax cut, I am convinced that a reduction in the tax will lead to oil companies simply raising the price and their profits, since we are accustomed to paying $3/gallon now.

Great Santini said...

Note to politicians - prosperity creates surpluses. Raising taxes to balance the budget doesn't.

bluecoat said...

There is a surplus only in the minds and politicalspeak of the economic illiterate politicians. The debt is huge and the future debt is even huger.

bluecoat said...

Trouble in the land of Rowland Rell again ???Rights Agency Trouble Aired May 24, 2006
By DIANE STRUZZI, Courant Staff Writer
and will JDS be any better ???DeStefano Testifies In Hearing On Verdict Against Ex-Police Chief May 24, 2006 By LYNNE TUOHY, Courant Staff Writer Not that Malloy hasn't had his share of screwups in this stuff either.

dumbruss said...

The trouble with tax cuts are that they are hard to reverse when the economy (and the budget) go south.

Connecticut has a lot of debt, including to teacher's pension plans for example. I definitely favor the option of using the surplus to pay down debt as opposed to cutting taxes.

BRubenstein said...

with that kind of number its clear the CT Republicans are a " tax and spend" party.

This is a great issue to use for either DM or JDS as well as the low job growth numbers.

We dont need anymore projects in which " friends of rowland and rell" will profit. Lets see what REll will do next with YOUR wallet..

BRubenstein said...

Kerry guy...both parties produced runaway profits in utilites and gas when they both " bent over" for lobbyist's and voted in " deregulation" in the late 90's

WIth regard to oil i like to see for connecticut

1. Re-regulation of the utilites,gas and oil companies.
2. Strict oversight of the above.
3. A windfall profits tax.
4 Repeal of the state gas and oil tax
5. State owned and runned gas and oil companies that could deliver the product faster and yes, cheaper ( the state could do this easy)

TSCowperthwait said...

BR, you might be happier living in Venezuela.

BRubenstein said...

TSCowperthwait;

um...no...this is where the fight has more meaning.

But YOU might be happier in a total free market country,...unfortunately for you..one doesnt exist.

TSCowperthwait said...

BR,

Windfall profit taxes do not help -- they are a very temporary solution which cause greater harm in the long run. How do you propose the state (or did you mean federal government, just asking) would come into ownership and control of the oil companies?

TSCowperthwait said...

The relevant market determines the price of oil based on supply/demand, competition, etc. I am not a big oil advocate but, as you, open to a free market - that's called capitalism. We have laws that regulate this type of activity (as I am sure you are aware) -- antitrust.

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

Sorry, BA, if that sounded harsh. And nothing personal -- I often enjoy your posts.

But the notion that Republican governors facing near or actual Democrat supermajorities in the Legislature are somehow responsible for excess taxation is ... well, it's a hell of a tough sell, to put it far more mildly.

But by all means, let's see JDS & DM give it a whirl.

Bluecoat, it's worth noting that paying debt early has been a priority the last couple of years, especially the "special" bonds sold when the budget wouldn't balanced.

But agreed: the debt level in this state is scary. Yet Dems everywhere -- and legislative leaders in particular -- were peeved when they were told by OPM that passing a bond bill doesn't mean the kid gets the money.

And BR, we can debate windfall taxes til the dinos, Pegasuses, tigers and other assorted oil company logos come home, but "state-runned" gas stations? Please.

bluecoat said...

One more time, the debt was run up after the income tax was passed and during the reign of Rowland - Rell who gave their buddies and the Democrats everything they wanted as long as they got theirs. Voo doo economics. Can anybody say RBS in Stamford?? or how about Utopia Studios in preston?? Adriean's landing maybe??? or UCONN 2000???.

CTColonial said...

Not only does the windfall profits tax not work, it would never see the light of day. Just ask our neighbor New York that had a windfall bill passed years ago and is still in court.

And in terms of CT, when they deregulated they invited these new power companies in with open arms. Now they see how much money they are making and want to penalize them.

The problem in CT is that we need new generation in the place that needs it the most, SE CT. But none of those affluent communities would ever allow a new plant to be built in their backyard. Yet building a new power plant anywhere else in CT would be a waste of time and money. If we build some new generating stations down there it will help the entire state.

bluecoat said...

The problem in SE CT is taxpayer funded overdevelopment driving new demand and a distribution system that wasn't adequate 25 years ago.
You know, voo doo economics again!!!

Mr X said...

They need to use the surplus to cut our Gas Prices.Governor Rell needs to give the citizens some price relief at the pumps.

Putting it in the rainy day fund is code word for Lets spend the money and screw the citizens let them choose whether to pay bills or eat.

bluecoat said...

I get around mostly using my legs; pay down the debt instead of pandering to the special interests who drive everywhere clogging the roads and stinking up the air.

BRubenstein said...

TS and A Different...A state owned oil and/or gas company can be funded by either and excess profit's tax and/or a increse in the corporate tax and personal tax on all those making in excess of a million dollars a year.

bluecoat said...

There should be a special tax on lawyers = especially ones who give to political campaigns; in fact only lawyers should be taxed and nobody else.

Chris MC said...

Pay down the state debt and unfunded pension liabilities. We deficit spend when we don't have enough, we need to eliminate those debts when things are flush. The long term cost reduction of fully funding the teachers' pension alone is compelling.

Then worry about the tax / spend debate, or keep them separate as far as practical.

BRubenstein said...

Bluecoat..there already is a tax on lawyers..

bluecoat said...

I know, BR, and It needs to be bigger than it is; it would solve everything.

TSCowperthwait said...

Bluecoat has a funny sense of humor (I think he/she might have known that their is already a tax on lawyers).

Chris MC said...

Bruce -
"Excess profits" are like the famous definition of pornography - you know it when you see it, but it is very difficult to codify. Even if you could, setting up a continuing operation based on an unforecastable revenue stream isn't a viable model.

The "we'll just raise taxes" argument is one place where you and I consistently part company. It sounds too much like what the epithet "liberal" has come to mean. A shame, really, about that term "liberal". Don't you think?

bluecoat said...

I am going for lunch and I plan to have a 'liberal' portion of whatever I order.

BRubenstein said...

Im in favor of a increase of $100 on the tax on lawyer's knowing that there will be a new tax of $2000. on all blog poster's named Bluecoat who post..with a fine of $500. for every bad joke posting. LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

TSCowperthwait said...

BR -
I understand your position on state-owned/controlled oil/gas, but it'll never happen (and should never happen). Why is the solution always to increase the tax burden on the wealthy? (Disclaimer: I am NOT wealthy.) Increasing corporate taxes only stifles corporate contribution to employee benefits packages (among other things). Surely, BR, you really don't think that the solution to everything to increase taxes on businesses and the wealthy.

BRubenstein said...

Chris....there was an excess windfall profits tax as recently as the 80's ..they could simply put it back in place federally. The state could " piggyback" on it if they wish.

I don't define myself as " liberal" so if you have a negative feeling about " liberal's" perhaps you will feel better about " progressives" " leftist's" or even " radicals"

Chris MC said...

If you prefer, I'd say based on my eperience with you that you are a New Leftie, for sure. I would not say liberal in the correct sense, and not radical, but I don't know you well enough. Progressive isn't a good term anyhow - it is just a replacement for "liberal" these days.

BRubenstein said...

TS,...increased taxes on the wealthy and the profit making corporations are necessary because that's where the money is.

Some of us ( and i am one of them) believe the wealthy and corporations do not pay enough taxes and should pay more.I would like to see major headway on seeing that the 48 million people in this country have decent health insurance in a single payer state health agency of some sort..someone has to pay for it...so you go where the money is...

A state owned company would fully fund pensions as a statutory obligation so your argument doesnt apply.

BRubenstein said...

Chris Mc...

I thhank you for calling me a " new leftist" and I take it as a compliment.WHen you set up the definitions for liberal.new leftist and radical let me know as i would be interested in seeing exactly where i fit in.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE !!!!!!!!

TSCowperthwait said...

BR -

My "[i]ncreasing corporate taxes only stifles corporate contribution to employee benefits packages (among other things)" comment was intended to apply to a state run oil/gas company. I agree that under such a scenario it would be a fully funded pension plan. However, I don't see a state run oil/gas industry as a realistic option and was directing my comment towards your alternative ideas -- increasing the taxes on corporations.

I must agree to disagree -- but at least we are both trying to come up with solutions...

TSCowperthwait said...

And I didn't really mean for you to move to Venezuela...b/c I've enjoyed our discussion.

BRubenstein said...

TS.. A state owned company doesn't run on free market capitalism constraints. Just because YOU dont think it is realistic doesn't mean it is unrealistic. Other countries in fact have one..and we should also.Just as other countries have health insurance for their workers....we should also ( we are the only highly industrialized country to not have on)

I enjoy our debate's also.

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

BR:

I would like to see major headway on seeing that the 48 million people in this country have decent health insurance in a single payer state health agency of some sort..someone has to pay for it...

I'm with you on this; we may disagree on how best to accomplish it, but the goal is unimpeachable, as you over-taxed lawyers would say.

so you go where the money is...

I guess here's where we part company: Where the money is is already in the hands of the state and federal governments, thank you very much. (And like TSC I'm not wealthy either.)

How come the solution is more taxes instead of cutting spending on other crap? I mean, must every noble idea automatically equal huge new taxes?

Now, I fully realize some will immediately point to the costs of, say, the war and say there's some spending we can cut. And that's worth debating (my feelings on the war have been made clear elsewhere). At least then the issue is where we could stop spending other money instead of raising new.

TSCowperthwait said...

I think I am pretty much in agreement with ADANR on this.

BRubenstein said...

A Diff..and TS...when i post what i believe in..its what i really believe..i am not trying to be part of ab " amen corner"

bluecoat said...

Is there any chance that state government could do the same work it does today better and lower the cost too - and thereby lower taxes on all of us?. I do plead guilty to posting a bad joke or two but I don't think I should be penalized NOR do I think the government should be in the business of deciding what a good or bad joke is - mostly because it would involve too many lawyers.

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

BR:

If you say so, brother.

So that's one vote for K. Marx, two and counting for A. Smith ...

BRubenstein said...

A DIFF...so anyone that disagress with you is a follower of K Marx?

Is that all you got?

BRubenstein said...

bluecoat.....really, they ought to have a fine or a bolt button for poor comedy...and for that you dont need a lawyer.

dumbruss said...

$450 a year for the right to annoy the world (practice law) is a small price to pay.

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

No, but I believe you'll find that his chapter on the redistribution of wealth rings an awfully familiar bell ... comrade.

Top-n-Center said...

Dear Governor: Put a half BILLION in the rainy day fund and return the rest to the municipalities, PLEASE.

Chris MC said...

Keith -
It wasn't intended as judgement, positive or otherwise, just accurate. You're an SDS guy, Tom Hayden and all that, right?

Radical to me means to change things at the root.

The definitions of Progressive we've talked about before. Populism, and Liberal, too.

BRubenstein said...

why did you call me Keith?

Im not built like him...i double in Hollywood as a double for Adam Baldwin when im not being a lawyer or involved in elections.

Seriously Chris...i will leave the labeling to you...for me..labels are for soup cans...call me what you wish.

Yes i was in the SDS..and so are many members of congress and the Senate right now..

bluecoat said...

Al Gore invented the Internet so BR could figure out a way for the government to collect a fee off of it - typical liberal.

Chris MC said...

LOL, sorry Bruce, I was tired. Hooo boy. Anyhow, I remember you posting about the SDS getting started up again and how prominent you were / are in that organization. As far as labels go, I agree with your last post. I can't ever find the right political demographic either. My original point there was that the terms get diluted and distorted, liberal being a case of a perfectly sound political philosophy getting destroyed through misappropriation (and abuse).

BRubenstein said...

Bluecoat...i am never " typical" nor would i ever call myself a liberal...be that as it may..i enjoy your postings

bluecoat said...

I forgot the -:)) there BR.