Governor Jodi Rell gave her final state of the state address Wednesday at the Capitol, marking the opening day of the 2010 legislative session. WNPR's Ray Hardman reports.
"Let us set aside the difficulties and the divisions of the last year and commit ourselves, truly commit ourselves to working with one another."
Governor Rell set the tone early in the speech, calling for an end to name calling and bickering at the Capitol, but the Governor focused most of the speech on two issues: adding more jobs in Connecticut, and her plan to cover the $515 million deficit projected for this fiscal year. Rell says the deficit had to be faced head on with no excuses, and that means no new taxes.
"The taxes we already have on our books are not bringing in the revenue we thought they would, so why would new and higher taxes be the answer? They're not. So I say no. No on behalf of all the families who struggle to make ends meet, day in and day out."
Rell called for the establishment of a 24 member commission charged with scrutinizing State Government, and recommending ways to reduce redundancies and waste in state spending. Democratic State Representative John Geragosian is House Chair of the Appropriations committee. He agrees that government can always be more efficient, but not at the expense of services, and aid to towns:
"I don't want to cut that mid-stream like the Governor proposed, but I think they have to do things in a different way. We could look at procurement of things like school transportation, we could look at regional policing, all those kinds of things that are structural and save money but don't necessarily hurt the services delivered by the municipalities."
On the jobs front, Rell proposed establishing a Connecticut Credit Consortium of banks to make more credit available to businesses; to extend the job creation tax credit to small businesses; and a loan forgiveness program for students who stay and work in Connecticut after graduation.
For WNPR, I'm Ray Hardman.