Thursday, May 11, 2006

Economy on the Mend?

This just in from the New England Economic Partnership:
The New England Economic Partnership said New Hampshire is expected to be the only New England state to post faster job and overall economic growth than the nation through 2010, while Connecticut is expected to lead the six-state region in gross state product growth. (AP)

Well, that's something, right? At least we're doing better than Rhode Island.

An economy that is moving ahead, even just a little bit, will be good news for incumbents.

Of course, the bad news is that the economy of the region as a whole stinks. High taxes, high cost of living, really crappy weather, high demand for services and an aging, creaky infrastructure will do that.

Source

"Connecticut deemed a bright spot in dim New England economy." Associated Press 11 May, 2006.

44 comments:

bluecoat said...

The weather suck today but in general I like new england weather. It sure beats Seattle,

Genghis Conn said...

I actually like the weather. But companies complain about heating/cooling costs.

bluecoat said...

I guess it depends on your business. I actually think CT blew it by not trying to get the high tech industries like the Boston corridor has had for a long time. When you factor out the differential in fuel costs, energy demand is pretty much the same for that stuff year round regardless of where in the country you are.

turfgrrl said...

bluecoat,

CT is blowing it now because the technology/economy corridor passes right though. Tech stuff was hard to get off the ground in CT, because of SNET more than anything else. SNET was never in a position to invest in network infrastructure like NY and MA telcos could. The CT tech industry as a result, was never about innovation, and all about grasping for projects that made no sense considering the infrastructure and operating costs. Tech companies will sprout where there is access to people, bandwidth and low living costs. Silicone Valley, Alley and rte. 128 didn't sprout without those, and nothing will take in CT until housing and transportation infrastructure is tackled in a big future planning way.

bluecoat said...

I kind of agree with you but over the course of its life SNET was owned in large part by AT&T and actually lots of innovations put on the market by AT&T sprung from SNET - until AT&T was broken up.

But SNET had nothing to do with CT's inability to attract chip makers and other high tech manufacturers from the 1970's through today - it was other stuff.

And on telecom and enrgy/electric distribution; until we become part of the regioanl network we are doomed; and Dick Blumenthal is working hard every day to make sure CT remains an island.

bluecoat said...

And turffgrrl; I should add that while maybe decades ago Silcon Valley had a prepondernace inexpensive real estate that is not true today but it is still a mecca of innovation because other things are at work - like low property taxes.

bluecoat said...

I guess I should add that by not taxing people on their asset holdings - property - which have nothing to do with their current income, Silicon Valley, CA continues to get investment in new businesses by venture capitalists while CT gets investment by the CT Dept. of Corporate Welfare that all of us taxpayers pay for but reap no benefits.

turfgrrl said...

bluecoat,

But the powerhouse AT&T R&D group was out of New Jersey, back in the 60's-70's. I suppose we had Xerox, but they ditched plans for New Haven, in favor of Pal Alto, and the rest, they say, is history. That is, until the late 80's/early 90's, when critical decisions by SNET, like chasing lucrative fibre installs in Shelton and Trumbull were made at the expense of building out the cities where the natural people and transportation assets were.

How is Blumenthal encouraging tech isolation? Isn't it largely Rowland in the previous 14 years who bears more a responsibility considering that the CT government ignored IT under his watch?

bluecoat said...

The commercial apps of what Bell labs developed were typically tried out in CT until ATT was broken up.

Blumenthal, in the name of the small businessman, has protected little big companies like SNET, CL&P and UI. The absorption of SNET into SBC and now the absorption of SBC by ATT to take their name hasn't hurt the CT consumer one iota BUT CL&P along with their partner UI continue to screw the consumer day after day with tthe help of Blumenthal and the General Assembly who work overtime from keeping them from being bought out.

bluecoat said...

As for Rowland he had no philosophy of governance; just how to best keep himself in power was his game; as was the businesses and local government executives who profitted form him legally and illegally.

turfgrrl said...

bluecoat,

I don;t think property tax reform hit California till the mid 90's, and that is largely due to capping property tax increases the longer one owns a their home. Silicon Valley worked out , at least I think so, because of the proximity to smart people in universities who could jump in and out of research and academia to commercialize their innovations. The local economic climate was geared towards sustaining that lifestyle until recently. For CT to compete in attracting the start up tech business, there needs to be a greater benefit to be here than somewhere else.

bluecoat said...

TG: I don't disagree with your latest post except that the explosion in property tax rates has hit the country in last ten years because of local school operating costs - more kids and CT worse than most because of slow reaction to honest tax policy by Rowland and the Democrats. I can count on my left index finger the number of people in either House of the GA that understands what went wrong.

turfgrrl said...

bluecoat,

But what benefit to CT would happen if say Duke energy (or name your roll-up here) absorbed CL &P and UI? Aren't these guys in the distribution business rather than the generation business at this point? Isn't the consolidation of energy companies what has created the erratic price fluctuations in the midwest and west?

turfgrrl said...

bluecoat,

Well its an interesting thought then, if one accepts that rising property taxes are due to school costs, then logically the republican anti-tax position should be to encourage contraception ... plan B anyone? ahem .. well we could aslo add to the assessment that the school costs, as well as other municipal costs, have risen due to skyrocketing healthcare costs, insurance in general (liability/property) and energy costs. I think though, that the projections are that school populations are projected to decline over the next 10 or so years, so it will be interesting to see another round of school closing groundswell. As far as Norwalk goes, in the last 20 years we've seen a population increase of only 2k. Somehow I don't think the amount of school age children during this period exceeded the amount in the previous 20 year period. The culprit, I think, lies somewhere else.

bluecoat said...

Long Island is doing quite well now that LILCO, the equivalent of CLP and UI, has been dumped in favor of LIPA. LIPA buys their power and in the long run Richie Kessel is looking to take LIPA back out of the quasi public arena now that it is being fixed - Blumenthal wants the govt to get in to the power busines forever.

Chris MC said...

Wow, bluecoat, yeronnaroll.

I think you'd have to look to Stanford and MIT to find the wellsprings of Silicon Valley and Rte. 128. Taxes are of little or no consequence. Nor for that matter can the cost of living be. CT pales in comparison to Palo Alto, and has for something like a dozen years that I know personally about (family living there). During the nineties the concentration of VC firms in palo Alto (something canyon I think, I can't remember the name they were given), had a whole lot to do with why / how people could go there to get a piece of the tech mania. But I think all threads pretty much lead back to Leland Stanford and his University, and Hewlitt and Packard.

Prior to that, there was IBM in and around Armonk, and hmmm, who else? Uh Wang up outside of Boston? Anyhow, the demise of IBM as it had existed cause a mini-crash in Fishkill kind of like what happened in Houston when the bottom fell out of oil. Except no George Bushes, far as we know.

If you want to find some reason for optimism that our political leaders are paying some attention, look at the efforts of Lieberman and others to foster the fuel cell industry here in Connecticut. Imagine if Connecticut became the Silicon Valley of fuel cell technology? Could happen with the financial rocket scientists on the gold coast.

Chris MC said...

And on telecom and enrgy/electric distribution; until we become part of the regioanl network we are doomed;

I can't figure out what you mean by this bluecoat. Can you elaborate?

turfgrrl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chris MC said...

until the late 80's/early 90's, when critical decisions by SNET, like chasing lucrative fibre installs in Shelton and Trumbull were made at the expense of building out the cities where the natural people and transportation assets were.

This I don't get at all. Shelton is a pretty successful decision isn't it? Are you talking about building new and modern - greenfield development - rather than than trying to retrofit hundred year old (in some cases) industrial structures and dealing with brownfields and (potentially) superfund sites? Shelton is an example that lends some credence to turfgrrl's analysis, I'd have to concede.

Chris MC said...

The absorption of SNET into SBC and now the absorption of SBC by ATT to take their name hasn't hurt the CT consumer one iota BUT CL&P along with their partner UI continue to screw the consumer

This isn't a valid comparison. The break-up of ATT and the amount of innovation in that field - broadly speaking the development of digital communicatoins and packet switching - and the associated drop in costs and ability to unbundle products that has permitted the proliferation of services and competition amongst providers, has no correlate in power utilites.

If you're argument is what it appears to be - that we need to connect to markets of power so that producers can compete and lower costs, I have a short one word answer for you: Enron.

I also, it will surprise no one, have a longer answer as well. ;-)

Chris MC said...

the explosion in property tax rates has hit the country in last ten years because of local school operating costs

Go and look at the correlation between cuts in Federal funding - there has been a concious shifting of costs from the Federal Government (income taxes) to State and Municipal (or County in other states) levels. That shift shows up quickly in rising property taxes in Connecticut towns. To be sure, in a number of suburbs this has been aggravated by sprawling housing development without a concomitant increase in non-residential property tax revenue. Towns like New Fairfield are rather extreme examples of this.

bluecoat said...

TG: Norwalk's school pop has remained pretty steady no argument and their property taxes haven't gone through the roof either like the suburbs where the school population has soared. As for the other guys, I can't be bothered with their partisanship in lieu of solution seeking.

bluecoat said...

And TG: it isn't all about sprawl that drove up the population in the school age suburbs, although that is a small part of it, it just has to do with migration and bad public policy.

OH and why not; Stanford and MIT had something to do with the high tech boom but it was the good govt. policies in those locales that allowed it to happen.

bluecoat said...

And TG let me pick on you a bit when you say: well we could aslo add to the assessment that the school costs, as well as other municipal costs, have risen due to skyrocketing healthcare costs, insurance in general (liability/property) and energy costs because what you call "municipal costs" are in fact included in school costs and school costs make up the overwhelming majority of municiapl costs regardless of where the taxes to pay the costs come from - local, state or federal.

turfgrrl said...

chris mc,

When SNET was making decision about where to roll out fibre first, they chose to develop their infrastructure out in Shelton/Trumbull because they could charge for it. None of the office parks would have survived were it not for access to fibre. The same could not be said for more urban locales, including most of lower fairfield county. Class A office parks are not inexpensive to your average start up. All the efforts made to turn vacant buildings in say, New Haven into high tech occupancy failed because of the lack of inexpensive bandwidth, due to the lack of fibre channels. With Yale as its chief user, you would think that there was plenty of economic justification for building out in New Haven, but the strategic direction then was to go after new office parks. Ultimately the Shelton/Trumbull area is poor planning. There is no public (rails) transportation to the office parks, and so car congestion is the norm. And when a company scales to a certain size, they leave Shelton/CT because it makes more economic sense to be in a region where your workforce can thrive.

bluecoat said...

And Mr. MC: Commercial development in a built out community at best pays for its requirement in new services through its incremental taxes. The Democrats looking for more commercial development are searching for the Holy Grail and too often joined by Republicans BTW.

bluecoat said...

TG: and what you say about SNET is true of them because they were only serving the CT market and not even all of it; bigger companies look for long term business; PSE&G cleaned up the old UI Plant (UI and CL&P were the Sooty Six shooters but now Blumentahl loves them???) in Bridgeport almost immediately after taking it over by among other things briniging in cleaner coal from Indonesia.

turfgrrl said...

bluecoat,

But property taxes have gone through the roof in Norwalk, and yes you are right that most of the municipal budget is the school system budget, nationally to your point. I added municipal costs as a sperate item in my list, only to point out that things like police, fire, sewer garbage and traffic calming measures costs have risen precipitously as well, and none of those reflect the actual population increase. At least in Norwalk.

bluecoat said...

Norwalk has done better than suburbs in recnet years by what I have seen. The bottom line is that CT has created a service economy and much of that service sector growth is in the gvoernment sector.

I am going for dinner, have a good evening.

turfgrrl said...

bluecoat,

Always good chatting with you. Enjoy your dinner. I'm about to do the same.

UCanthandleDAtruf said...

THIS JUST IN

Susan Bysiewicz will be Dan Malloy's running mate. Evilyn Mantilla will be running for secretary of state.
No really!

Chris MC said...

Susan Bysiewicz is what?

Bullsh*t.

But funny!

Genghis Conn said...

I'll believe it when I see it--but that would be a decent ticket, Malloy/Bysiewicz would. It would also explain Mantilla's rather cryptic statement in her press release about serving the public in some other way.

Where's Audrey Blondin in all this? If, of course, it's even remotely true.

Chris MC said...

Dodd and Lieberman voted against $70 billion Republican giveaway to the wealthy.

Rear_Admiral said...

To be fair, I've heard the same rumor....Susie B onto the Malloy ticket and Mantilla in for SOTS. From what I've heard, this has more legs than the usual rumors. And if it plays out, I think this would all but sink JDS--maybe not at convention, but in a primary it's lethal.

bluecoat said...

It would probably get a lot of Registrars of Voters voting for the Malloy ticket because from what I know they'd do anything to get SB out of the SOTS office.

MightyMouse1 said...

If Susan B is the running mate, Audrey might remove Susan from her Christmas Card list after being pushed from the SOTS race.

BRubenstein said...

If we all agree that most politicians are self-serving and think of themselves first why would Susan B leave a safe and secure SOTS job where she is the boss and a possible future candidate for advancement upward,for a position on the ticket for Malloy who has at best a tough job to get the endorsement and a tougher job to win a primary and even a much tougher job to beat Rell. Even if Malloy did all that..Susan B wouldnt be her own boss but would have to follow the lead of Malloy in a job in which their is little historical advancement other than Rell herself.

I think the rumor is ridiculous.

Red State. Blue Balls said...

Br,
Its tru. But a big insider like you already knows that. PLay'n dumb?

CTGRL said...

I think this rumor is just another smoke screen by the Malloy campaign because they don't want people to know that Mantilla is really his LG – it would let the steam out of his bubble. He’s promised it to everyone. If people think they are being slighted for SB that’s ok. But to be strong along for Mantilla that’s got to be rough. I’ve heard that Malloy’s support in Enfield, and Meriden is based on these “promises” and I wonder how many delegates will flip when Begnini or Tallerita get slighted. Also, Malloy’s been going around the Latino community promising a Latino. This girl says Malloy/Mantilla.

bluemule said...

I have a hard time believing that SB would team up with Malloy. Like BR said, why would she give up a sure thing to jump on a sinking ship? In any event, with Tanya Meck, her former chief of staff and political advisor coming in at the last minute to run the DeStefano convention, I wouldn't be surprised by a DeStefano/Bysiewicz ticket.

Wrath of Conn said...

Sinking ship? Malloy has killed DeStefano in fundraising like 3 quarters in a row, and is trending up in the last q-poll, with DeStefano trending down. How is that "sinking"?

A Real Democrat said...

I've heard the Bysiewitz rumor as well.

What I've heard more though in regards to Malloy's LG, is Mark Benigni from Meriden. There is an interesting split there and he could bring something to the ticket, and geographically he isnt a bad choice either.

bluecoat said...

So the Registrars will vote for JDS then.