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.
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.
If there’s one thing that’s always surprising about the “conventional wisdom,” it’s how fast that wisdom can change. For far too long, it’s seemed like a sad fact of life: Special interests rule the Capitol, big-spending policies win the day, and the long-suffering taxpayers of Connecticut are expected to buck up and pay whatever new taxes are thrown their way.
The Connecticut Commission on Economic Competitiveness held a closed-door meeting Tuesday to discuss a report on the state's economy based on work from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company. The commission met at 10 a.m. and immediately went into executive session, removing all observers from the meeting. Commission Co-Chairman Joseph McGee said the executive session would allow the committee to work out all the numbers. “There is a lot of information,” he said.
We were told Connecticut had recovered all of the private sector jobs that were lost during the Great Recession, but new numbers released today show that this is not true. Previously, state labor officials had reported that the state gained 26,900 jobs last year. Today that number was revised down by the Connecticut Department of Labor to 12,200, a reduction of more than half.