Episode Information

WWL: Budget Address Recap
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Aired:
02/05/2009
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In this episode:

"I'm just going to tell people what a difficult process this is, and that we're in this together"  Gov. Rell

 

Episode Audio

49:01 minutes (23.53 MB)
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Governor Jodi Rell's budget makes plans to close a 6 billion dollar deficit over the next two years - lawmakers say it falls nearly 3 billion short of solving the problem.    

The independent Office of Fiscal Analysis puts the two-year deficit at something closer to $8.7 billion - and that's before new numbers come out in April...tax revenues might get even worse.  And, her plan leans heavily on some very unclear future promises - billions coming from the Obama administration's stimulus plan, and tough negotiations with state employee unions.  
In the end, Rell talks of “shared pain and sacrifice” - including the elimination of 23 agencies and commissions.  While Rell promises no tax increases – her budget will increase many fees, and raid the "rainy day fund."

She's maintaining education funding for towns and cities, but making cuts in Higher Education. 

Join the conversation!  Add your questions, suggestions and comments below. 


 
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Listner email from Jane

I listened to your broadcast discussing the Governor's budget, noting the prominent place she has given to "regionalism" as an alleged way to respond to the economic crisis.  The implication is that regionalism will somehow save the taxpayers' money. I am skeptical. Would you perhaps do a show to discuss this concept with lawmakers?

 
General thoughts: (1) Economy of scale savings are not applicable to the service sector where it takes a defined number of people per capita to give a defined level of service no matter how you slice it. Often larger institutions of government prove to be more expensive per capita than the very small.
(2) County government- a logical extension of regionalism- was eliminated in Connecticut in 1955-60 for reasons then lawmakers found valid. Has anything changed that would warrant recreation of county government? Isn't another layer of government clearly NOT an economic savings for the people of Connecticut?
(3) What has happened to the "home rule" idea? This used to be a rallying cry at the most fundamental level in the state. Is a cyclical ecomonic downturn the reason to abandon forever the local control of expenditures? Does separating the taxpayer from the ability to vote on expenditures do anything to save money?
 
This idea of regionalism apparently includes the requirement of tax revenue sharing among towns in each region.  Are the citizens of each town aware that their property tax dollars will go towards financing shortfalls in neighboring towns?