Hey, Buddy, You Gotta Dime? Plus: Rell Budget Veto, And Fishing For Fireworks

2:30 p.m. update: July 1, start of a new budget year for the state’s largest city without a state budget … yet. 

If you’re a bean counter in the city it could be worse: the Democratic-controlled legislature could be run by the GOP. Why does any of this matter?

As tax bills arrive this week, the loot city taxpayers shell out to fund city services is based on a leap-of-faith budget passed by the City Council for what it expected to receive from the state had it passed a budget under the normal course of legislative action. Yeah, I’m confused too.

For instance, roughly 75 percent of eduction funds for the city comes from the state. Let’s say a spending compromise that legislative Dems reach with the governor in a special session lowers education loot for the city; local education officials must do a dance to address the shortfall.

And suppose legislative action fails to provide the city a moratorium on meeting future pension obligations to uniformed services (something the city wants pending economic turnaround)? Whoa, instant shortfall.

The budget proposed by legislative Democrats is kinder to the city than Governor Jodi Rell’s budget. Discussions are underway for a compromise. Meanwhile, Rell issued an executive order authorizing funding of government services because the state is not operating with a budget. She also today vetoed the Democratic budget. See Mother Rell’s veto message to the secretary of state, followed by executive order news release below:

July 1, 2009 

The Honorable Susan Bysiewicz

Secretary of the State
Dear Secretary Bysiewicz:

I am returning to you without my signature Senate Bill 1801, An Act Concerning the State Budget for the Biennium Ending June 30, 2011, and Making Appropriations Therefor.

The flaws and failures of the tax and spending proposals contained in Senate Bill 1801 are manifest. It is neither balanced nor remotely realistic in its assumed “savings” and “spending cuts.”

Instead of reducing spending as families and businesses across Connecticut have done, Senate Bill 1801 does nothing to reduce the size or cost of a government that has outgrown the taxpayers’ ability to pay for it. Rather, it pushes the pain of sacrifice off the state bureaucracy and onto the state’s taxpayers. I cannot allow that to happen.

Senate Bill 1801 calls for $2.5 billion in new taxes on the people and employers of Connecticut in the midst of the greatest global economic downturn since the Great Depression: exactly the wrong move at exactly the wrong time.

At a time when states surrounding and near Connecticut are raising income, sales and business taxes, Connecticut has the opportunity to become a beacon of opportunity. Holding the line now – making difficult but necessary decisions about state spending now, as Connecticut families have done about their own expenses – will make Connecticut a far more attractive and affordable place to live and do business, keeping and attracting the jobs that are essential to recovery from the current recession.

What is more troubling, however, is the abject failure of this budget to reduce state spending in any meaningful way – and that the failure to do so will all but guarantee sizable budget deficits for years to come. These deficits would inevitably result in still higher taxes falling more and more heavily on Connecticut’s already over-burdened middle class.

Connecticut must not squander this unique – and fleeting – opportunity to make state government more affordable. We must keep in mind that in future years we will no longer be able to rely on revenue sources such as the federal stimulus, the state’s Budget Reserve Fund and cash balances in unappropriated funds.

The “savings” and “cuts” proposed in this budget are largely unachievable. Senate Bill 1801 proposes unidentified cuts in state agency expenses of $70 million, without providing any detail as to how these cuts will be made – especially in light of the legislative majority’s fierce and continuing resistance to serious program cuts.

Equally dubious are the “savings” supposed to be achieved by the “Commission on Enhancing Agency Outcomes” ($56 million), “reinvention” ($27 million) and by nebulous “management reductions” ($25 million).

In addition, Senate Bill 1801 calls for the state to raise more than $112 million in revenue from the “sale of state assets” – again, without details, except to task the Office of Policy and Management and the Treasurer with generating a list of items to be sold.

The bill also proposes to close two state prisons – but does not identify the prisons or make any provisions for dealing with the prisoners who may be held there now.

While proposing these spurious “savings” and “cuts,” Senate Bill 1801 fails to account for major expenses. There is no funding for the raises contained in three recent arbitration awards the General Assembly allowed to become final – a $42 million oversight. Even more shockingly, there is no funding whatsoever for the Department of Transportation or the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The legislation is therefore incomplete and built upon phony cuts and phantom accounting.

At the same time, the bill adds new earmarks, among them a deeply troublesome precedent that, for the first time, requires the state to reimburse municipalities for the property taxes that would otherwise be paid on land occupied by federal facilities. One can only wonder if the state would eventually find itself reimbursing communities for the property taxes “lost” to U.S. Post Offices and federal courthouses.

These are only some of the numerous – and fatal – flaws contained within Senate Bill 1801. It is unbalanced, unaffordable and unfinished.

Accordingly, pursuant to Section 15 of Article Fourth of the Constitution of the State of Connecticut and Article III of the Amendments to the Constitution of the State of Connecticut, I am returning Senate Bill 1801 without my signature.

Rell news release

Governor Rell: Executive Order Continues Funding for State Operations While Budget Talks Continue

Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced she has signed an Executive Order that will ensure the continued efficient operation of state government until a new, two-year state budget has been signed into law. The action is necessary because Wednesday marks the beginning of a new fiscal year for Connecticut but the General Assembly and the Governor have not yet completed negotiations on a new budget.

The order also provides specific dollar allotments to state agencies for the month of July 2009 so that they can continue to function. A new Executive Order would be issued if August nears without a budget in place.

“First and foremost, people should rest assured that state government will continue to operate – services will be delivered; we will care for the vulnerable and the sick; public safety and public health will be protected,” Governor Rell said. “Negotiations between my Administration and legislative leaders from both the Republican and Democratic caucuses are continuing.

“I remain hopeful that we will resolve the budget issues that divide us and bring an affordable, responsible budget proposal to the General Assembly for a vote in the very near future,” the Governor said. “In the interim, I am taking all of the steps necessary to ensure that state government functions smoothly.”

Under Executive Order No. 28, Governor Rell declares that a fiscal emergency exists because there is no budget. The order directs agency chiefs to limit all purchases to only those items essential to continued operations.

“All state parks remain open, all services will continue and the public should see no change in state operations,” Governor Rell said.

Cougar Rodgerson gig tonight. I wonder if Yahooy and Anna will show?

Barely legal, scary, noisy psychodramatic recession buster at Murphy’s Law. Avant femme folk and totally hollowed out protopaleo-garage rock. Free show, $2 beers.

Circuit des Yeux from Indiana with Bridgeport/NYC’ own The Chinese Restaurants (feat. Loy Fankbonner and Keith Rodgerson)

Why pay $10 in Williamsburg? Bridgeport is the new Newark!

Fish and Fireworks Tonight, Congressman Jim Himes To Throw Out First Pitch

Game Tonight! – Fireworks Extravaganza presented by Dietz & Watson

Promo Schedule.JPG

Join the Bluefish at Harbor Yard for fireworks and a chance to win $10,000

(Bridgeport, CT – July 1, 2009) – The Bluefish play the final game of their three-game series against the Camden Riversharks tonight at 7:05 p.m. The Ballpark at Harbor Yard gates open at 6:05 p.m. for “Winning Inning Wednesday,” and the chance to take home $10,000. Following the game, all fans in attendance will be treated to a Fireworks Extravaganza, courtesy of Dietz & Watson.

Bridgeport looks to sweep Camden as Bluefish ace and former Major Leaguer Esteban Yan squares off against Riversharks starter and former Bluefish, Ryan DiPietro. All fans can enjoy the action as the Bluefish look to light up the opposition before they light up the skies.

Tickets for tonight’s game are available by visiting The Ballpark at Harbor Yard Box Office or calling (203) 345-4800. Fans can also CLICK HERE to purchase tickets.



  1. Well I am having too much fun and too relaxed to comment about the goings on of reality. In the past week I have been to the Grand Canyon, Vegas, Los Angeles, Carmel, Monterrey and San Francisco. Tomorrow back through Nevada by way of Lake Tahoe and Carson City. I am writing details of my travel on Facebook. Just friend me if you are interested.

    I hope all is well Lennie, big hello to T.K. and the rest of my OIB friends. I also expect that the Budget, the state and Bport is all fixed when I get home. Perhaps I need to be away for several years.

  2. Don’t forget the city did not cash the sent-in tax checks for weeks; last time they said they did not have the help to open the mail and screwed up a lot of people’s accounts.
    I’ll bet Paul Timpanelli can help, I can see him ripping open his $ 2,400.00 weekly check every Friday and well if he helps out on this … Paul will have something to do to earn his money!

  3. The budget will eventually pass and will cost all of us more money in taxes and services. I am sure Bridgeport will see a drop in the projected education funding along with other anticipated funding.
    It’s time for state and city government to take a step back and realize that government can not be all things to all people. There just is not enough money.
    The Feds have been spending our money like drunken sailors and not a peep on this blog.
    1. Stimulus Package almost 1 trillion dollars. Has anyone seen anything in the way of infrastructure repair or any increase in people getting jobs. NO.
    2. Cap & Trade being passed under the guise of global warming will impact every American household with an increase in rates and rationing of electricity. It also means that when you sell your house it must be energy efficient before the sale is concluded. Cost $1 Trillion.
    3. Universal Health Care not passed yet but could mean a government bureaucrat decides if you get treatment or not.
    4. Government bailout of banks and financial institutes–1 trillion $$$
    5. Car company bailou–1 trillion dollars.
    6. Move in congress for a Federal Sales Tax of 12%
    and the beat goes on

  4. In response to the latest post by “town committee”. To be precise:

    The Feds have been printing our money like drunken sailors, not spending it. Here’s the truth: those who borrowed wisely don’t want to borrow more and those who want to borrow aren’t creditworthy. It’s called a liquidity trap.

    Cap & Trade is future-minded but not yet law. Pick your sides by who votes for it. Ignore those who complain about it pre-vote.

    The Stimulus Package is in its infancy and forward-minded and promises to save/create jobs and repair infrastructure. Connecticut’s share is still ahead.

    Universal Health Care is not yet a reason to blame Obama.

    President Bush started the bank and auto bailouts. Not a penny was paid back during his term.

    President Obama and Mayor Finch have this in common: they both faced a situation their predecessor ignored and have been forced to abandon their agenda to put out a raging fire.

    1. It appears that we cannot resolve the critical issues at hand with the “talent” pool Finch insists on having around. He is no bargain either. We really got screwed when Finch was elected. Caruso wouldn’t have done much better, but he would have done better. I wonder who Don Calamari of the Madison Avenue ilk has in mind for the helm as he keeps Bridgeport in a hopelessly downward spiral.

  5. Yahooy: The list is enough to make a person ill.
    Ganim (Paul or Joe)
    I really don’t think Finch will finish his term. I don’t think he wants to deal with the union contract nightmare he created and which takes effect in 2011. Bob I think you voted no on these delayed raises but the rest of the council voted for them. Before you know it reckoning day will be upon us.

    1. Finch will finish this term and run for another. Where else will he and his band of incompetents get jobs earning over $100K with not even the minimum qualifications?

      I worked under Mayor Bucci, Mayor Moran, Mayor Ganim, Mayor Fabrizi and Mayor Finch. NEVER and I mean NEVER have I seen the employees treated so badly. People are quitting every week. With no notice. Two people recently gave their letters of resignation and left the same day. People are so fed up that those that can afford to leave are walking. Years of knowledge and experience lost. Pretty soon the city will be run by three groups of employees:

      1. Over-paid political flunkies
      2. People who can’t get a job anywhere else
      3. People who are just building up their pensions

  6. Am I the only one having this problem on this site when I type in my username and password it doesn’t work for weeks then all of a sudden it makes me log in. This has been a reason why nobody see me post anything again because I try to log in and it does not let me. Anyway I wanted to comment on a post Lennie had up a couple of days ago. Number 1 Jim Himes will not lose and here is the reason why >>>>>>>>> Bridgeport Bridgeport Bridgeport!!! Turnout will be much lower but this guy from Fairfield does not have any appeal to the people of Bridgeport. Shays Had appeal in the city even though he lost every election. IN THE GENERAL election Shays got 19% of the vote; in the mid term he got 32% of the vote–6,400 compared to Dianne 13,356. But like I said he still appealed to certain people in the city. I Doubt if this guy from Fairfield can get 4,500 people to vote for him in the city much less 6,400 like Shays did and Shays still lost big with that. So Jim Himes has nothing to worry about. Also there is no precinct in the city where he will be competitive! Even Black Rock won’t be competitive because Shays always loses there too so this is going to be a democratic seat for years to come.

  7. Attention all policy wonks: here it is, a web site issued by America’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) outlining the government’s spending, state by state and program by program. Not surprisingly, the top 5 vendors are all defense contractors. To those who doubt President Obama’s goal of government transparency, grab a pencil and read on.

    usaspending.gov < --

  8. Donj; You are a little too enthusiastic. If you think Bridgeport is going to turn out next year like they did this year for Obama then you are mistaken. McKinney’s name carries a lot of weight down state.
    You also have to remember Himes is voting for anything Obama puts out there without actually reading the Bill. If Obama’s programs do not work Himes will be a casualty. If Cap & Trade produces the rate increases they are anticipated to produce that will affect him.
    Remember the Dems control everything so there is no one else to blame if taxes go up and/or the programs don’t work. So far the stimulus package has produced squat for Connecticut. Time will tell.

    1. Isn’t everyone tired of the same old crap??? Are you happy paying high utility bills, property taxes, gasoline and insurance? Are you a mini-millionaire? Himes is backed by the working families party aka ACORN. Not good. If the CAP and Trade bill goes through we are all in trouble. Does anyone understand what is going to happen? It doesn’t matter if you are a republican or democrat it will affect us all the same. Better start buying some candles and lanterns. This is not a democratic or republican issue anymore. We need to look at this as who is going to get the job done. I really do not want to hear any more about the education budget. We have three brand-new schools, state of the art, and they are in the worst parts of town. The money doesn’t go where it is needed, to the middle class. Wake up guys, we are slowly being squeezed out.

    1. I agree with you MCAT. The City is totally dysfunctional right now but the average citizen can’t see it. Unless Finch does something really disastrous, he will run again and win.

      Hope you’re not blogging and driving at the same time! I’ve done some cross-country driving myself. It’s fun but can be tedious. Coming from CT, we don’t realize how large some of the other states are–takes 1/2 day to get through them. Stay safe.

  9. FCO. Sorry that you feel that way, it may be that I look at things from all angles. I am not one to think that because something is said by a ranking democrat it is automatically the truth.
    Look both parties have good ideas and both parties have bad ideas. If people want someone to follow the party line blindly then I am not their man.
    The problem here in Bridgeport is just that, go along to get along right or wrong. That’s not me. I have been a registered Democrat since 1964. I have worked for the party and its candidates since the Mandanici administration. I have had my arguments with all of the administrations at one time or another.
    The one thing that everyone knows is that My Word is My Bond. Again if people want a yes man that follows the mantra blindly then I am not their person.


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