David Walker is becoming famous fast, and not because he recently purchased former Congressman Christopher Shays’ waterfront home in Black Rock. CNN, 60 Minutes, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, you name it they want him.
Walker served as United States Comptroller General, the nation’s chief auditor from 1998 to 2008, and warned government of a financial crash if it couldn’t reel in spending. He is now president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation www.pgpf.org “dedicated to increasing public awareness of the nature and urgency of key fiscal challenges threatening America’s future, and to accelerating action on them. As a nonpartisan foundation, we neither lobby nor represent special interest groups.”
Walker has penned the Random House new release Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility “a tough-minded, innovative, inspiring guide to help us avoid the approaching economic abyss and put the country back on track again.”
Walker’s in great demand as he promotes his book around the country with all proceeds going to the foundation he represents. I chatted with him by phone for a few minutes on Wednesday before his meeting with the editorial board of the Philadelphia Inquirer (see, told ya he was in demand). Walker is an engaging straight shooter, no bullshit, who says his home selection came down to Black Rock or Huntington, Long Island. The view in Black Rock, despite the high taxes, was too juicy to turn down for $1.5 million or so.
I asked him about Barack’s stimulus. He credited the president with trying to act quickly but added the stimulus did not penetrate as designed because “it was only one third stimulus not properly structured. Two sectors of the economy unsustainable are government and health” where Walker says too much emphasis was placed. The problem we’re facing, he adds, is a “government that promises more than it can deliver.”
Closer to home, his new home undergoing renovations (architect and OIB friend David Barbour is shepherding through building permits), one aspect of Connecticut life that provided surprise was moving to Fairfield County “but there’s no county government.” Walker is sensitive to the plight of the state’s largest city that bears the burden of services for the region. “There has to be an equitable sharing of the burden that includes collaboration regarding (regional) services.”
Why did he move to Bridgeport? “Unbelievable view, strong community feeling and a diverse neighborhood.”
Walker’s new home has remarkable personality history. Shays bought the Beacon Street gem from David Carson, retired chief executive of People’s Bank, who bought the house from John and Betty Pfriem, former publishers of the Bridgeport Post and Telegram, forerunner of the Connecticut Post.
Jodi’s Budget Gamble
Governor Jodi Rell says we need to add Keno gambling in the state, which state bean counters estimate would add at least $20 million for the budget year starting July 1. Why stop there? Hey, you know what I say, cut a deal with the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans to expand gaming in Bridgeport. Make the tribal nations a partner, open up every saloon, tavern, gin mill, doghouse, outhouse and every other house for slots. My old client Donald Trump used to say put a casino in Bridgeport and it’d be the highest grossing place on the planet. Of course, Donald only wanted a casino in Bridgeport–for fear it would cannibalize Atlantic City–if he owned it.
What’s Keno? The Hartford Courant, sourcing Connecticut Lottery Corp., explains …
Lottery-style keno is a betting game in which players pick a set of numbers from 1 to 80 by buying and filling out a play slip from a retailer, such as a bar or restaurant.
Bets typically range from $1 to $10. Payouts can range from $1 to $1 million. The state lottery draws 20 winning numbers, publicizing new results every 5 to 6 minutes, by television, for instance. Winnings are determined by the amount of the wager and the number of drawn numbers that a player matches.
News release from Mayor Finch
Elderly and Disabled Homeowners May Apply for “Circuit Breaker” Tax Relief
Tax Assessor’s Office Will Accept Applications Feb.1 through May 14th
BRIDGEPORT, CT (February 3, 2010) – Elderly and disabled homeowners in Bridgeport who are eligible for the Homeowners’ “Circuit Breaker” Tax Relief program, are encouraged to apply at the Tax Assessor’s Office, City Hall between February 1 and May 14, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The Circuit Breaker program is open to eligible disabled residents and/or residents 65 and older who own a primary residence in Bridgeport. Through the program, homeowners can obtain as much as $1,000 or more in tax relief credit from the State of Connecticut, as well as additional tax relief credit from the City of Bridgeport, based on a graduated income scale.
To qualify, applicants must have a total annual income in 2009, including Social Security and taxable income, not exceeding $39,500 for married couples, and $32,300 for single residents. Those under age 65 who are disabled and who are applying for the Circuit Breaker program must submit a currently dated certificate of award, or “Third Party Query Response” (TPQY) when applying.
For questions concerning qualifications and the application process, please call Kathleen Lombard, Tax Assessment Clerk, at (203) 332-3023.
Residents applying for the Circuit Breaker program should bring the following documents with them to the Tax Assessor’s Office, Rm. 103, 45 Lyon Terrace by May 14:
1) 2009 Social Security Benefit Statement (SSA1099), if applicable.
2) 2009 Federal Income Tax Return plus any non-taxable income statement not reported on the return. (Please check with the IRS for their income requirements.) Applicants must file their 2009 tax return prior to applying for this tax relief program.
3) Any income statement received in January, 2010
(1099INT, 1099R, W-2) plus any non-taxable income statements (VA pension, tax-free interest.)
For more information regarding the Homeowner Tax Relief – Circuit Breaker program, please call Kathleen Lombard at (203) 332-3023.