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.
As Connecticut faces fiscal challenges driven by the high cost of state employee pay and benefits, a state audit highlights the fact that the two largest income sources for Eastern Connecticut State University – tuition and state support – don't even cover compensation for its employees. In fiscal year 2013, ECSU took in $32.6 million from student tuition and paid nearly $76 million in employee pay and benefits. The university also received $40.5 million from state appropriations but could not bridge the gap between revenue and the costs of its mostly-union workforce.