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Legislature Rejects DCF in Bipartisan Rebuke to Katz.

In the end, it was not close in the House or Senate. Overwhelming bipartisan majorities rejected a deal to lock in the Department of Children and Families budget in exchange for lighter oversight by a federal oversight. The deal would have allowed secrecy to thrive even more than it does at the shrouded agency.

Child welfare advocates will want to acknowledge state Representative Toni Walker’s contribution to Wednesday’s win. The New Haven Democrat lead the fight to reject the deal in the House.

A looming federal report on DCF’s performance measured by a host of measures ought to be available soon. The report is expected to show that Commissioner Joette Katz’s claims of progress are overstated.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy took the rejection with graceless remarks that have become his unhappy hallmark. “Today the General Assembly stand in the way of progress for our most vulnerable children and families.” Malloy must not have read the proposed agreement. Rejecting it was a collective act of wisdom, devoid of politics.

February 1, 2017   8:13 pm   Comments Off on Legislature Rejects DCF in Bipartisan Rebuke to Katz.

Brava, Mae Flexer. Casts Only Senate Vote Against Kane.

 

They’ll be lifting more glasses than usual at the Juniper tonight. The state Senate diminished itself by approving former state senator Robert Kane’s nomination to become one of Connecticut’s two state auditors. The vote was 32-1. Democrat Mae Flexer was the one brave vote against this preposterous nomination. Good for her. Flexer was a staffer in the Senate Democratic office before becoming a legislator, so she may have had more unhappy knowledge of Kane than the legislators who chose to avert their gaze from what they know. The insiders party won one today. They must be proud of themselves.

This is more likely than most appointments to bring embarrassment on the legislature.

February 1, 2017   4:07 pm   Comments Off on Brava, Mae Flexer. Casts Only Senate Vote Against Kane.

Life Post-Hartford: AEG Thriving.

Entertainment event promoter and venue operator AEG left Hartford when it lost its XL Center management contract in 2013. AEG is doing great, according to the New York Post. The XL Center has declined in the aftermath of AEG’s departure.

February 1, 2017   8:54 am   Comments Off on Life Post-Hartford: AEG Thriving.

The Careful Language of Dan Malloy on Aetna’s Plans.

The Courant has the latest in the gathering storm over whether Aetna will keep its corporate headquarters in Hartford. There is some curious language in these troublesome stories. Governor Dannel P. Malloy never says in these stories that he has spoken to Aetna CEO Mark Bartolini. That seems like an essential conversation to have.

Today, the Courant includes this: “Last week, Malloy said he reached out to the ‘highest level of the company’ after the court blocked the Humana merger. Malloy said Aetna was still evaluating its next steps.”

It would be jarring if the governor and the CEO have not spoken recently.

January 31, 2017   9:03 am   Comments Off on The Careful Language of Dan Malloy on Aetna’s Plans.

What Budget Deficit? Lembo Wants $40 Million Tax Exemption for Social Security.

More from State Comptroller Kevin Lembo’s 2017 policy/campaign document. The second term Democrat wants to exempt Social Security income from the state’s income tax. Preparing to run for governor will concentrate a fella’s attention on Connecticut’s “out migration.” There’s a cleaner, more effective way to do this: lower rates for all, no matter their age. Working people of all ages could also use a break from Connecticut’s dispiriting tax burden. Why increase their burden?

Here’s an extract from the Lembo document:

PROBLEM

Connecticut is seen as unfriendly to retirees.  The state has net out migration of over 5,000 residents ages 65 and older.  It also ranks poorly on rankings of best state to retire (42nd by Bankrate, 39th Money Magazine).  Currently, only 13 states tax social security benefits, including Connecticut which contributes to the state’s poor ranking and perception as a place for retirees to reside. 

BACKGROUND

Connecticut Social Security Income Tax Deduction – Connecticut law allows taxpayers to deduct either 75% or 100% of federally taxable Social Security benefits, depending on income (100% if federal AGI is less than $50,000 – single/ $60,000married filing jointly or a head of household; otherwise 75% deduction of federally taxable benefits (CGS § 12-701(20)(B)(x)).

RECOMMENDATION

Exempt all Social Security payments from the state income tax regardless federal tax treatment or the AGI of the tax payer.  Some estimates have put the cost of expanding the Social Security exemption to all Social Security income at $40million annually.

 

January 26, 2017   12:11 pm   Comments Off on What Budget Deficit? Lembo Wants $40 Million Tax Exemption for Social Security.

RIP: Ann Dandrow

Ann Dandrow, the popular Southington Republican legislator, died Wednesday night  at St. Francis Medical Center Wednesday after suffering a stroke on Tuesday.

Ann was one of the few Republicans to win a freshman term in the legislature in 1986. She went on to serve for 16 years, carving a role in children’s issues. She gave up her seat to make a close but unsuccessful bid for the state Senate in 2002.

According to a 2000 New Britain Herald article, “She was the driving force behind this year’s passage of the “Safe Havens” law that will protect newborn children at risk of abandonment and the earlier establishment of the independent office of the child advocate to protect children’s interests and rights.”

UPDATE: Calling hours are Sunday from 3 pm to 7 pm at Della Vecchia Funeral Home, 211 North Main Street, Southington. Ann’s funeral services begin Monday at 9:15 am at the funeral home followed by Mass at 10 am at St. Dominic’s, Southington.

January 26, 2017   10:36 am   Comments Off on RIP: Ann Dandrow

It Begins. Lembo Takes Aim at Kennedy Campaign Finances in Harsh “Policy Options” Document.

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo uses fellow Democrat state Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr., as a poster boy for bad behavior in campaign financing practices in a document obtained by Daily Ructions. The 39-page “Comptroller Policy Options 2017” appears to be more campaign plan than policy document. Lembo is expected to be a candidate for the 2018 Democratic nomination for governor.

The Lembo document identifies party committee expenditures for candidates as a “problem” and then shines a harsh light on Kennedy’s 2014 campaign for the Senate when he was elected to his first term.

The unidentified author writes:

“The flagship example of how this change defies the spirit of Connecticut’s prior campaign finance reform is Ted Kennedy Jr.’s campaign for State Senate back in 2014. Senator Kennedy participated in the CEP and received $95,000 in public funds. However, the state party then contributed an additional $205,000 to his campaign, following a donation of $40,000 made by Kennedy family members and colleagues to the state party.

A simple fix to this issue would be to undo the very minor wording change made in 2013 and re-establish the limits on contributions from state parties to legislative candidates participating in the CEP.”

Some partisans may wonder where campaign finance falls in Lembo’s responsibilities as comptroller.  Others may ask if this is “an appropriate use of state resources.”

 

January 25, 2017   2:30 pm   Comments Off on It Begins. Lembo Takes Aim at Kennedy Campaign Finances in Harsh “Policy Options” Document.

Stitch up: Candidates Called to State Republican Meeting.

 

Don’t fall for it. Aspiring Republican candidates for the 2018 battle have been summoned to a Thursday evening meeting at the party’s state headquarters, Daily Ructions can report. Early reports are that it could be an early attempt to rig the system against primary voters.

Aspiring candidates ought to agree to nothing, especially anti-democratic benchmarks. Instead, candidates should test their ideas in the crucible of public exposure. Make you case, gather supporters, raise money. At this early moment, no one knows if Republicans will succeed in reducing the high cost of the state’s taxpayer financing campaign scheme. They ought to insist on that in budget negotiations. They could lower the grants and raise the fundraising thresholds.

Some candidates may want to ignore the party nominating process and collect petition signatures to get on the primary ballot. Party chair J.R. Romano was deeply involved in one of those efforts in 2010 on behalf of U.S. Senate candidate Peter Schiff.

Candidates who have formed exploratory committees need to be very careful in their declarations if they are not going to tumble into the requirements to convert to a candidate committee. This is a tricky area of campaign law and the hopeful will not be in a roomful friends on Thursday.

Proceed with caution. Run your own race .

January 25, 2017   11:27 am   Comments Off on Stitch up: Candidates Called to State Republican Meeting.

Herbst Responds. Dons the Attire of a Victim. Blames Malloy.

Trumbull First Selectman responds to this post and this lawsuit with a statement provided by one of his lawyers, Vincent M. Marino, whose name appears on the Trumbull website as a town attorney. Mr. Marino writes that he is not acting as a town attorney in his representation of Herbst.

The statement:

“It’s no surprise that the personal attacks are coming this early from Governor Malloy’s Hartford insider allies and the Connecticut Democratic Party.  Rather than debate the issues, the modus operandi of Malloy’s gang is to respond to all criticism of their job-crushing, fiscally ruinous record and policies with personal attacks and political smears.   In all of my years in public service I have always maintained that families are off-limits.  Politicizing personal family matters should be beneath even them — sadly it is not.

As Trumbull’s Chief Executive, I took an oath of office to uphold the laws and ordinances of the Town of Trumbull – – including our Code of Ethics.  The simple fact of the matter is that I took action to prevent a potentially unethical situation from developing. I follow the Code of Ethics just like any other official or employee.  I stick to that code even when it may be uncomfortable and regardless of whether family is involved.

Most of the Connecticut press corps has typically left family out of politics as a matter of decency.  Governor Malloy has been accorded that respect with the multiple issues associated with his children.  I would hope that would be the case for the governor’s critics as well.”

NOTE: Herbst is the defendant in the action. No other member of his family is a party to the action.

January 24, 2017   12:35 pm   Comments Off on Herbst Responds. Dons the Attire of a Victim. Blames Malloy.

Nasty. Sister’s Fiance Sues Herbst for Making His Life Miserable. Claims Include Slander and Violation of Civil Rights.

Jesse Jablon’s action against Timothy Herbst, the first selectman of Trumbull, accuses the aspiring Republican gubernatorial hopeful of unjustly firing him from a town job in 2013, interfering with Jablom’s attempts to get a new job, and slander. The trouble began, according to Jablon’s complaint when Herbst “terminated [Jablon’s] employment solely on the ground that the [Jablon] was dating [Herbst’s] sister.”

After that, Jablon’s alleges Herbst interfered with his ability to make a living by interfering with Jablon’s attempts to obtain and keep a job. The most explosive allegation is that on October 12, 2016, Herbst met with a supervisor at Enterprise Car Sales, Jablon’s employer, and “falsely and maliciously accused [Jablon] of being a drug dealer.” That may have been the final straw for Jablon. The complaint is dated a month later.

The complaint, which was filed in state court, has been removed to federal court by one of the lawyers who has filed an appearance on behalf of Herbst.

Herbst is being sued in his individual capacity, not as a town official.

You can read the vivid complaint here. 

Herbst was the 2014 Republican nominee for state treasurer. He announced an exploratory committee for governor this month. His disputatious manner has become his calling card.

 

January 24, 2017   11:02 am   Comments Off on Nasty. Sister’s Fiance Sues Herbst for Making His Life Miserable. Claims Include Slander and Violation of Civil Rights.