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WWL: Hard Choices
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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In this episode:

For months, Gov. Rell and lawmakers have been talking about the “tough choices” the budget deficit is presenting


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48:57 minutes (23.5 MB)
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For months, Governor Rell and lawmakers have been talking about the “tough choices” the budget deficit is presenting.

And some of those choices have been tough – like cuts to Medicaid and social services... some could be tough, like whether to raise the income tax rate... but some seem relatively easy.

Like borrowing a billion dollars to plug last year’s hole.

Today where we live, we’ll talk about the difficult decisions at the state capitol, now that a new fiscal year is underway…without a state budget in place.

We’re joined by WNPR’s Capitol Region Reporter Anna Sale and Keith Phaneuf of the Journal Inquirer. We’ll also hear how other states are handling their budget crises when it comes to tax reform and health policy.

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Listener Comment from Justin

Where is the plan to attract jobs to CT? Is there a plan? I'm not talking about more tax breaks for businesses, but a plan to have a workforce that attracts businesses. The only plan I have seen with CT is with stem cell research a few years back. What else are we doing to use this as an opportunity and market our own state and not just trying to get through this difficult time.

Listener Email from Sean

Your journalist guests always seem to display a conservative spin. Look at how your guest from the Journal-Inquirer responded to my point that the Democrats took the tough decision to assume that the budget deficit would be $8.9 bn rather than the $6 bn that Rell's budget assumed. He completely ignored the fact that Rell was sticking it to the poorest people in our society by rasing bus fares and fees on them and cutting Medicaid that hurts poor people who get sick. Instead he focused solely on what he called one-off "budget gimmicks" used by the Democrats. He didn't say a word about the immoral Republican proposal to eliminate the inheritance tax, or Rell's refusal to raise taxes on the wealthiest residents who are best positioned to help with this crisis. And he insinuated that Rell really did tell the truth about the budget deficit by hinting that the deficit might be larger than $6 bn. Actually, her budget was thoroughly dishonest, and she used the lower figure to justify not raising taxes. Whether or not both budgets use one-off's isn't the point. Democrats don't want to raise taxes, but at least they're willing to tell the people of this state what the real problem is. Rell didn't. That prompted Stamford mayor Dannel Malloy in an appearance in Greenwich recently to term Rell's budget, "the most dishonest start to a bugdet negotiation that I've ever seen." But your journalist guests won't point that out, will they.

Furthermore, after pointing out that the state had accumulated a "rainy day fund" that was equivalent to7% of its annual spending, your guest made the shockingly inaccurate statement that the government "isn't very good at saving." He doesn't seem to understand that a rainy day fund equal to 7% of the annual budget is, most assuredly, a very impressive achievement by the Democratic General Assembly, especially in the face of incessant Republican demands over several years that the government cut taxes. Where would we be without that rainy day fund?

And your guest didn't say a single word in response to my pointing out Republican Scott Frantz's move to cut the inheritance tax, which would benefit his family enormously. Not a word. Once again, Mr. Dankosky, your journalist guests consistently hew to the conservative side of the ledger. Why don't you try to even things out by bringing progressive voices onto your show. Why are we constantly presented with people like the Journal-Inquirer reporter and before him Courant's David Lightman? In this state that is overwhelmingly progressive, why aren't we represented on your program? This state's press corps is grossly out of touch with the people of this state, far more conservative than its residents. It's no wonder that we don't read newspapers anymore.

I think WNPR listeners in this state deserve much more from public broadcasting.