Fairfield County is full of suckers

State of ConnecticutJohn J. Ryan, a former Republican state representative, and Joshua Fisher, the Advertiser editor, share their back-and-forth about news going on around the state, among other items of interest. Links to all the articles and other items mentioned in the column can be found in the Opinion section of NCAdvertiser.com.

Ryan: When we last left you, the Connecticut General Assembly season was safely behind us. (See: “Can you trust a Connecticut politician?” NCAdvertiser.com, May 23). Now it’s campaign season across the state with all state legislators, congressmen and governor’s office up for election this fall — and some primaries this summer.

And it must actually be summertime because the SoNo Summer Jazz (aka John Cutrone & Friends, Sundays at SoNo Seaport) started last week.

Fisher: And HANRadio.com’s “Behind the News” has already had personal appearances from you and the Journal Inquirer’s Chris Powell. Ratings are booming on Hersam Acorn Newspapers’ still young online radio venture.

Ryan: I wonder how many of our Gold Coast readers know that you are channeling Marty Brennaman along with still putting out a newspaper and website…

But on to cheery Connecticut governmental and economic issues and a new topic. Were you aware that things are getting so dicey that the Nutmeg State’s “urban centers” are now squabbling among themselves? See “Hartford Plans $60 Million Stadium; Rock Cats Owner Says ‘Opportunity Couldn’t Pass Up'” (Courant.com, June 4). For those unaware, the Rock Cats are a New Britain minor league baseball team in the Minnesota Twins organization.

And there is also “Harp Ups Ante, Asks Johnson to Reconsider” (NewHavenIndependent.org, June 2), where New Haven and Hartford are nearing a bidding war for one city official.

Fisher: Of course Hartford has never recovered from the humiliation of the Whalers leaving for an actual metropolitan area than can support a professional franchise. But where is Hartford getting the money to build a baseball stadium if they are always broke? And when are Connecticut cities going to stop trying to rob businesses from each other and instead focus on bringing in new businesses to the state?

Mr. Powell, of course, has something to say on this subject: “If Hartford entices team, state taxpayers will pay,” (NCAdvertiser.com, June 5).

Ryan: Moving on to the rarely promising fiscal front, did you see “Citizens Bank to lay off 125 in Bridgeport” (CTPost.com, June 2) and “Slowing job growth seen in Conn. this year and ‘15” (NewsTimes.com, June 2)? I keep looking for good economic news — as some of our readers request — sort of like Diogenes with lantern…

Fisher: Interesting thought, John. Diogenes would spend his whole life wandering Connecticut’s political landscape looking that honest soul. But he’d probably be stuck in traffic or on a disabled train in Fairfield County — because the rest of the state continues to ignore our corner of Connecticut except when coming up with new income tax schemes.

Remember those record-setting tax increases of the past two years? Well they didn’t do what Malloy and the Democrats had hoped. See: “Lembo pegs Connecticut budget surplus at $43.4M” (wfsb.com, June 2).

While that sounds like good news after years of budget deficit news, Malloy originally told us this year’s budget surplus was estimated at $505 million — a $462 million difference. The biggest revenue shortfall? Personal income tax. See: “Surplus Cut May Shadow Connecticut Governor’s Re-Election Bid” (wsj.com, May 8).

Ryan: If there is one budget that is doing well in Connecticut, it’s the Democrats’ election campaign budgets.

Did you not — totally coincidental, of course — items such as “Two medical marijuana providers dispense cash to Democrats” (RaisingHale.com, May 27), and “For CT Democrats, those $10,000 checks keep coming” (CTMirror.org, May 23)?

Fisher: And it looks like we will have plenty of material for summer analysis of what really happened during that recently concluded legislative session, such as “New Law To Restrict Excessive Judges’ Pensions Has Holes In It — Intentionally” (Courant.com’s Government Watch, May 23).

Ryan: If only we had more space to titillate our readers’ curiosity on issues such as our transportation foibles!

But the aforementioned Mr. Powell gives a cogently succinct picture of Connecticut’s transportation mess in the second section of his Sunday column, “It’s the culture, not the guns; and ride the bus till the train comes” (NCAdvertiser.com, June 1).

Fisher: No one could have said it better than Mr. Powell, who notes the state’s insistence it will take 10 years to fix a rail bridge that serves thousands every day while the state just spent more than a half billion dollars to build a bus-only route between Hartford and New Britain that will serve hundreds.

We’re all “suckers” down here in Fairfield County, Mr. Powell points out: “The suckers are not likely to get any respect from state government until they go on welfare or join a public employee union.”

Ryan: Remember, we don’t — and can’t — make this stuff up.

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John J. Ryan is of counsel to the Fairfield County law firm Russo & Assoc., and served 14 years as Darien and Rowayton’s state representative — and has been writing this column for Hersam Acorn even longer. Joshua Fisher, who was the Darien Times editor for seven years, has been an editor with Hersam Acorn Newspapers since 2003.

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