Archive for the ‘It Could Happen Here’ Category

0Perry Courts Connecticut

Before Connecticut lawmakers could finish patting themselves on the back for a General Assembly session that left the state in a deeper fiscal crisis, worse business climate and with a downward spiraling economy, word broke that Texas Governor Rick Perry is planning a visit.

Perry’s visit to Connecticut marks the latest attempt by the Lone Star State to woo businesses into uprooting and heading for friendlier pastures. The Governor promises businesses and tax payers a land that would seem like a sanctuary to conservative Nutmeggers, with lower taxes, less regulation and a growing economy.

Despite Texas’ booming economy and Perry’s remarkably high approval ratings, Connecticut leaders including Governor Malloy can’t help but view this visit as a joke.  This week Malloy told reporters that Perry’s visit is no more than a “lame publicity stunt.”

The fact that Governor Perry has put Connecticut in his cross hairs should be embarrassing to our state’s leaders. This visit puts us on yet another shameful list, the list of fledgling, weak, overburdened nanny states being hunted by Texas. The states that Perry has targeted thus far include some of the most notoriously bankrupt or corrupt in the union including Illinois and California. New York-also being visited by Perry- ranks 50th in economic outlook and joins Connecticut on his list of losers.

Of course those who rick perryhave been paying attention know that Connecticut’s lawmakers are running a state that ranks 46th in economic performance, 50th in places to retire, and 43rd in economic outlook. The state is hardly a friendly place to do business and it shows through the out-migration Connecticut has suffered from. Meanwhile 1400 people a day are moving to Texas.

State Rep Matthew Lesser (D-Middletown) is also apparently unimpressed with Perry’s achievements. CTNewsJunkie reports that Lesser said:

“Their economy has done well but they’re an energy producing state. We don’t have oil. But if you stack up Connecticut and Texas, I’d much rather be Connecticut,”

Mr. Lesser should not chalk Texas’ recent business acquisitions up to pure oil prospecting. In a 30 second add that will presumably be run here, Texas champions itself as a “leader in the biotech revolution”. This is interesting considering that the Malloy administration has been specifically manipulating the Connecticut market-via fast 5- to favor companies in the biotech industry. After a New Jersey biotech company accepted millions of dollars in grants Malloy said that his efforts are helping to “make Connecticut a leading nation center for the bio-sciences ” Enter Rick Perry attempting to spoil that plan “zero income tax, low overall tax burden, sensible regulations and fair tax system.”

Let’s take a look at Texas’ recent track record in attracting business. California Governor Jerry Brown called Perry’s $24,000 attempt at advertising in the California market “barely a fart”. Over the past 20 years California has been farting over businesses to Texas at the rate of roughly four per week. In the wake of California’s Prop 30 passage which adds up to a 3% tax on income, the amount of Golden State businesses inquiring about relocating to Texas has tripled . If only Connecticut’s 27 million dollar “Still Revolutionary” campaign could have that effect.

Connecticut leaders should not view Perry’s visit as just some radical right wing bible clinging rednecks pulling a publicity stunt. Texas has already courted our firearms industry convincing Colt and possibly Stag to do some relocating.

This is no joke; these are people’s jobs and lively hoods that are at risk due to overburdening taxes and regulations. Perry’s visit should serve as an embarrassing wake-up call to the people and leaders of Connecticut.

Andrew is a political science major at CCSU and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Check out his blog Conserve Our Country 

1It Could Happen Here: Profanity police

The town of Middleborough, Mass., recently revived a ban on swearing in public after foregoing enforcement for over 40 years.

The law allows officers to use their own judgment to give a $20 fine to anyone using curse words.

According to the Boston Globe, residents voted 183-50 to change swearing from a crime – rarely enforced – to an offense worthy of a ticket.

David Hudson of the First Amendments Center expects that the law will be ruled unconstitutional because swearing is a right to free speech, except for “fighting words, true threats, or incitement to eminent lawless action.”

The exceptions to the rule are “narrow definitions,” according to Hudson, leaving unanswered questions about which words can be used as well as how they can be used.

Sergeant Benjamin Mackiewicz said, “I think we all know, in our minds, what is inappropriate.”

According to MSNBC, the idea came from a member of the town’s beautification committee, Mimi DuPhily.

DuPhily said that she called for this law because teenagers in the area were swearing loudly, and that she felt uncomfortable with their “irresponsible behavior.”

Each Friday, Raising Hale will highlight one crazy thing from the latest headlines that could happen in Connecticut. To suggest a topic, contact Zach.

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Savings, unknown

Subsidizing stay-at-home moms

Regulation off the deep end

False retirement

Caitlin Landers is a journalism intern at the Yankee Institute. She is a rising junior at Syracuse University studying broadcast digital journalism and international relations. She lives in Manchester.

1It Could Happen Here: Savings, unknown

Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer wants to know how the government plans to save $5.2 billion.

The departments say the savings are “efficiencies,” but won’t give any more details, forcing the PBO to go to court.

Parliament created the PBO because Conservatives wanted an office to “provide an accurate, impartial accounting of federal finances,” according to Andrew Coyne of National Post, similar to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office.

PBO Kevin Page asked the departments to clarify the cuts because the terminology was vague.

Coyne said officials have lied to Page and politicians have “ridiculed” him.

Page requested financial information from 82 departments, but received only 16 responses.

Half of the responses were sent after his first request in April. The other half were sent after Page made a second request a month later.

Wayne Routers, Clerk of the Privy Council, denied the request on the grounds that the government had to notify unions before he could release information to the public, but Page says that isn’t one of the statutory reasons for noncompliance.

Last year, Gov. Dannel Malloy and government unions agreed employees would find $180 million in savings with a similar lack of specificity.

Each Friday, Raising Hale will highlight one crazy thing from the latest headlines that could happen in Connecticut. To suggest a topic, contact Zach.

It could happen here – Archive:

Subsidizing stay-at-home moms

Regulation off the deep end

False retirement

Blog police, Part II

2It Could Happen Here: Subsidizing stay-at-home moms

The German Parliament is expected to approve new payments to parents of toddlers who keep their kids home in an effort to reduce waiting lists at state-run daycare centers.

According to the New York Times, the legislation has been “bundled with other social benefits,” making it likely the bill will pass. This bill encourages families to have a parent stay home with children, hire a nanny or use private child care centers.

Some opponents argue that the funds would be better spent increasing the quality and quantity of spots for children at state-run childcare centers. Others oppose the bill because they believe it follows the traditionalist view of keeping women in the home.

Under this bill, parents would be given €100 per month starting in January 2013. The allowance would increase to €150 per month in the following year for the parents of two and three year olds.

Families receiving unemployment benefits would be excluded, according to Reuters.

Public opinion is divided, as Deutsche Wells shows. “Everyone has to decide for themselves,” said one woman who supports the measure. “And I think it’s ok if people who keep their kids at home get a little money.”

“The fact is that children develop better in daycare centers than at home with their mothers, even if they do mean well,” said a man who opposes the payments.

The cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel approved the bill, but it still needs approval by Parliament.

Each Friday, Raising Hale will highlight one crazy thing from the latest headlines that could happen in Connecticut. To suggest a topic, contact Zach.

It could happen here – Archive:

Regulation off the deep end

False retirement

Blog police, Part II

Blog police, Part I

0It could happen here: Regulation off the deep end

Or should I say regulation OF the deep end.

California wants organizations that have public pools – cities, hotels, etc. – to hire a certified pool operator, CalWatchdog reports, who has taken a 14-hour training course.

The National Swimming Pool Foundation is sponsoring the bill. It also provides certification courses for pool operators.

In the same article, CalWatchdog runs down a bunch of other bad ideas percolating out of the legislature in Sacramento:

lawmakers have passed bans on smoking and plastic bag use, require fitted sheets in hotels, demanded mandatory breaks periods for babysitters, imposed regulations on fast food, required California public schools to serve breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinners, and have even written laws requiring mandatory spaying and neutering of pets.

Each Friday, Raising Hale will highlight one crazy thing from the latest headlines that could happen in Connecticut. To suggest a topic, contact Zach.

It could happen here – Archive:

False retirement

Blog police, Part II

Blog police, Part I

Doubled taxes

1It could happen here: False retirement

This headline pretty much says all you need to know, “California pensioner collects six-figure retirement and six-figure salary … for the same job.”

Troy Senik at Public Sector Inc. says double-dipping is “one of the many pathologies afflicting the public pension system in California.”

This actually has happened here in Connecticut.

Last year, Community College Chancellor Marc Herzog retired from his $232,874-a-year job so that he could get paid an annual rate of $174,661.20 to do the same job on an interim basis and his $168,000 pension, according to the Hartford Courant.

It’s unclear how often this is happening at the local level in Connecticut, but it’s certainly possible. Tips are appreciated!

Each Friday, Raising Hale will highlight one crazy thing from the latest headlines that could happen in Connecticut. To suggest a topic, contact Zach.

It could happen here – Archive:

Blog police, Part II

Blog police, Part I

Doubled taxes

State employees planning your retirement

0It could happen here: Blog police, Part II

John Hrabe at CalWatchdog has an update on California’s blog police:

Following widespread criticism from online pundits and free speech advocates, California’s political watchdog is backing away from a plan to require news websites and bloggers to disclose payments received from campaigns and political committees.

Ann Ravel, chairwoman of the Fair Political Practices Commission, announced earlier this month her intention to pursue regulations of bloggers that are funded to advocate for or against candidates. “Ultimately I’d like to see the FPPC require it,” Ravel declared at an April 19 campaign finance conference in Sacramento, the Orange County Register reported. After listening to bloggers’ concerns, Ravel now says that that she will be looking for other ways to inform the public about any potentially biased online sources.

The state’s top campaign regulator, who spoke to us by phone from Brazil, agreed that the Internet age changes how political information is shared and campaigns are regulated. However, she steadfastly defended the agency’s authority to regulate online political activities designed to influence California elections, even if sites are physically based out of the state.

“I believe we do have the power to go out of state,” Ravel said of online political activity intended to influence the California electorate. “If there is money being spent, no matter where that money comes from, we have the power to regulate that.”

Read Hrabe’s original article here.

Each Friday, Raising Hale will highlight one crazy thing from the latest headlines that could happen in Connecticut. To suggest a topic, contact Zach.

It could happen here – Archive:

Blog police, Part I

Doubled taxes

State employees planning your retirement

Deficit gimmicks

0It could happen here: Blog police

California politicians are getting into the business of regulating websites that earn money from political campaigns, according to CalWatchdog, a brazen attempt at interfering with the most important kind of speech.

Talk about the fox guarding the chicken coop. Politicians are going to pass judgment on political coverage?

Even the name of the regulator sounds like it could come from George Orwell’s 1984: the Fair Political Practices Commission.

According to CalWatchdog’s John Hrabe, the FPCC could even regulate out-of-state websites that weigh in on California politics.

Campaign finance laws are the new frontier of suppressing political speech.

Think about it this way: if you have a right to do X, can the government forbid you to pay for X? The First Amendment would be empty if everyone had the right to worship but couldn’t donate money to a church (or could only donate $2,500). Similarly the freedom of the press is no good if no one is allowed to buy presses or sell newspapers.

Each Friday, Raising Hale will highlight one crazy thing from the latest headlines that could happen in Connecticut. To suggest a topic, contact Zach.

It could happen here – Archive:

Doubled taxes

State employees planning your retirement

Deficit gimmicks

Not-so-universal healthcare

2It could happen here: Doubled taxes

The Japanese government wants to raise sales taxes twice before 2015, doubling rates from 5 percent today to 10 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reports that Japanese officials are short half the dollars they want to spend this year. Doubling the sales tax isn’t even enough to close the gap.

The Happiness Realization Party and the Tokyo Tea Party – an American import – oppose the tax.

If Connecticut and many other states don’t get their finances in order, in the future we will be left with similarly difficult decisions.

Each Friday, Raising Hale will highlight one crazy thing from the latest headlines that could happen in Connecticut. To suggest a topic, contact Zach.

It could happen here – Archive:

State employees planning your retirement

Deficit gimmicks

Not-so-universal healthcare

Stolen retirement

0It could happen here: State employees planning your retirement

Former Connecticut Secretary of the State Miles Rapoport proposed a state-run pension plan in a Hartford Courant op-ed last month.

You might be asking, “Don’t we already have a pension plan?”

Rapoport suggests creating a new plan that any state resident can buy into:

One idea that is particularly promising is that the state create individual retirement accounts that would be open to all citizens. Contributions to these accounts would be managed by state pension funds separately from public sector funds in a large investment pool, which would deliver higher returns and lower fees to savers. Participants would also have the option to annuitize their balances at retirement, providing them with a lifetime stream of income and removing the worry of outliving one’s retirement savings that 401(k) participants face today.

There are so many reasons why this is a bad idea, it’s hard to know where to start.

Problems with state pension funds across the country are epidemic already. The state needs to pay off its obligations, not incur new ones.

What would this really provide to consumers? Either the state’s retirement plan will be just as good as any on the private sector (if that’s the case, then why have it) or it will be subsidized by taxpayers.

Everyone in Connecticut can set up a retirement account. There is no access problem.

The problem is not having enough to put into the account. The only way to fix that is to create an environment where the economy thrives.

More jobs and better jobs will lead to bigger balances in retirement accounts.

Government meddling only holds us all back.

Each Friday, Raising Hale will highlight one crazy thing from the latest headlines that could happen in Connecticut. To suggest a topic, contact Zach.

It could happen here – Archive:

Deficit gimmicks

Not-so-universal healthcare

Stolen retirement

Forever bonds