My oh my, what happens to your negotiating position if layoffs that you promised don’t actually happen? Last Friday was the day 30 or so pink slips impacting police and several other departments were to take place, saving more than $1 million, in Mayor Bill Finch’s efforts to close a multi-million deficit.
I say multi-million because does anyone really know the actual deficit number? It depends on this, that and the other thing. If the money budgeted for Steelpointe comes in, for instance, everyone will breathe a little easier. And in this economy things are worse than we’re being told. What’s the actual tax collection rate?
Only a handful of city employees have been officially let go, as it appears union officials and city bean counters are trying to figure out savings in lieu of job losses. The red ink hasn’t been this bad since the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1988, Mayor Tom Bucci announced the city was broke and needed a state bailout. In exchange for using the state’s credit rating to borrow money to retire a fund balance deficit approaching $50 million, the state imposed a financial oversight board.
Out of the fiscal madness emerged political neophyte Republican Mary Moran who defeated Bucci in 1989 and discovered just how difficult it is to manage the state’s largest city. Trying to break the backs of city unions and start all over, Moran plunged the city into federal bankruptcy court. State officials, including Gov. Lowell Weicker and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal threw a fit. When a child of the state files for bankruptcy, it hurts the state’s credit worthiness. Wall Street went spastic as credit rating agencies reduced the city’s rating to junk bond status. The city was unable to go into the bond market to fix roads, bridges and schools.
Moran lost her case in court. Joe Ganim was elected in 1991 and with a lot of help from Weicker returned the city to fiscal sanity, rebuilding the city’s fund balance to roughly $50 million by 2000.
I’m told that this budget mess is worse than we’re being informed, that the city’s looking at a $40 million gap between revenues and expenses for the budget year that will begin July 1, in addition to the current-year deficit.
Is Finch far away from begging for a state bailout? Let’s hope not. Maybe Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman can squeeze out a miniscule $40 million for the city out of the trillion-dollar Wall Street bailout. When donkeys and elephants fly.
The Park City needs a fairy godmother. Keep the faith.
November Neurosis is one week from today. I get the feeling that all OIB readers are locked and loaded for Election Day, but just in case you have a stray friend, relative or crazy uncle in the basement that needs reminding, tonight is the deadline to register to vote. See news release from CT secretary of state below:
Bysiewicz: This Is It! In Person Voter Registration Deadline is Tuesday October 28th, 8:00 p.m.
Secretary of the State Says Citizens Can Still Register to Vote By Going In Person to their Local town Hall Before 8:00Pm on Oct. 28th
Hartford: Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz today reminded Connecticut residents that time is running out to register to vote for the November 4th presidential election. Connecticut residents have until Tuesday, October 28th, at 8:00 p.m. to register in person at their local Town Hall.
“This is it; tomorrow is the deadline to register to vote in the most important election since 1932,” said Bysiewicz. “Don’t be left out of the easiest way to influence the direction of our country. I am urging all eligible Connecticut residents to register to vote, cast a ballot on Election Day, and make a difference.”
While October 28, 2008 is the deadline to register to vote for the overwhelming majority of Connecticut residents there are several exceptions. Anyone who moves within or into Connecticut after October 28th but before November 3rd can still register to vote in person at their local registrar of voters’ office. Connecticut residents who become United States citizens between October 28th and November 3rd and Connecticut residents who become 18 years of age between that time also may register in person at their local registrars of voters’ office.
Secretary Bysiewicz recently reported that a surge in new voter registrations has pushed the total number of registered voters in Connecticut to over 2,000,000 – one of the highest such figures in state history. Since January 1, 2008, nearly 220,000 Connecticut residents have become newly registered voters.
The total number of registered voters in Connecticut is 2,021,749. The largest group of registered voters in Connecticut is unaffiliated, accounting for 845,311 voters. There are 750,999 registered Democrats and 418, 531 registered Republicans.
Since the beginning of this year 217,126 Connecticut residents have registered vote. Of those, 92,752 new voters have registered as Democrats, compared to 28,652 new Republican voters and 94,342 new unaffiliated voters.
Once again, young people in Connecticut between the ages of 18 and 29 continue to be the largest group of new voters registering for the November 4th election. Since January 1st, some 91,485 young people have registered to vote. Of those new younger voters, 39,392 have registered as Democrats and 9,959 have registered with the Republican Party and 41,504 have signed up as unaffiliated.
The Office of the Secretary of the State maintains an aggressive voter registration program. As part of her effort to increase voter registration in Connecticut , Secretary Bysiewicz has registered more than 2,500 high school students since the beginning of 2007. The Office of the Secretary of the State and local registrars of voters have conducted more than 300 voting machine demonstrations highlighting the new machines and registering voters. The Office of the Secretary of the State also registers new citizens to vote at naturalization ceremonies across Connecticut .
Visit www.Vote-EZ-CT.com to learn more about Connecticut’s optical scan voting machines.