In the face of declining tax revenues and weak job reports, state lawmakers have to decide whether or not to continue to fund Governor Malloy's controversial First Five Plus program, which is scheduled to end this year. To fund the program, the state borrows money, which it then hands out to major corporations through grants, low interest loans and tax subsidies in order to create jobs. Commissioner Catherine Smith of the Department of Economic and Community Development testified before the Commerce Committee on March 15 that the program should continue for another three years.
Marc E. Fitch
A Freedom of Information Commission hearing officer recommended Monday in a draft decision that the New Milford school system make teacher evaluation ratings public. John Spatola, a former member of the New Milford Board of Education, brought a complaint seeking the ratings. Although individual teacher ratings are exempt from disclosure, Spatola's complaint and the draft decision would set a precedent for aggregate information about teacher performance. JeanAnn Paddyfote, the New Milford superintendent at the time, refused to comply with Spatola's request for the information prompting the complaint.
General Electric’s decision to move its corporate head-quarters from Fairfield to Boston, sent shock waves through the Connecticut political class. But it isn’t just corporations and billionaires that are leaving to seek new lives and opportunities elsewhere. Connecticut ranks fourth in the nation for people leaving, trailing New York, Illinois and Alaska. For several years, Connecticut has experienced a net loss of population and that is affecting the tax base to the tune of $60 per second. The state’s income tax earnings, which comprise nearly half of the state's revenue, was much lower than expected for fiscal year 2016 and has legislators scrambling to make up the difference.
Gregory Linhoff was arrested for smoking marijuana in his state vehicle while working at the UConn Health Center as a “skilled maintainer.” However, the Connecticut State Employee’s Union Independent is fighting his dismissal and has taken the issue all the way to the Connecticut Supreme Court.
Money meant to help women, infants and children in the city of Hartford is being eaten up by high employee salaries. Hartford's federally-funded WIC program, run through the city's Department of Health and Human Services, served more than 11,000 of the city’s poor in 2013, according to an audit of the program. However, the agency’s high employee pay and benefits affect the number of people the program can help. If HHS paid competitively with other non-profit organizations it could service an additional 3,300 nursing or expectant mothers.
Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. resigned in the wake of political outcry from a $16.8 million settlement made to four men a court concluded were wrongly convicted. While the settlement is hefty, the Connecticut General Assembly has only itself to blame. Of the nearly $40 million Connecticut made in wrongful imprisonment settlements since 2005, all the settlements but one were made in the last two years. The General Assembly made that lone settlement in 2007 for $5 million to James C. Tillman. It set a de facto standard for all future wrongful imprisonment payouts.