Don’t worry, Connecticut, your taxes aren’t frozen

Ryan Fisher State of the StateJohn J. Ryan, a former Republican state representative, and Joshua Fisher, a Hersam Acorn 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.

Fisher: The frigid weather outside is on top of everyone’s mind this week — but it’s February and this is New England so we shouldn’t be that surprised. Connecticut’s frigid fiscal news is much more depressing; but also shouldn’t be too surprising.

Ryan: I assume you noticed the latest (in a long series of consistent reports) “ North Dakota 1st, Connecticut Last in State Job Creation in 2014” (gallup.com).

Fisher: That is interesting compared to the press release I got from the governor on Monday morning that proclaimed: “Our economy continues to improve, and the state is seeing the largest private-sector job growth since 1998.”

All these years of state spending on “economic development” and the results continue to be the same: the governor says its working the actual statistics say it isn’t.

Ryan: Politicians don’t want you to use facts. I hope our readers followed Governor Malloy’s budget address (scheduled for Wednesday, after this column was written). See “5 Things to watch for in Gov. Malloy’s new budget” (CTMirror.org, Feb. 9) and follow-up news coverage this week.

Fisher: There is more fiscal “bait and switch” already in the works for Connecticut taxpayers. The CT Mirror published this interesting item Sunday on Governor Malloy’s tax plan: “Malloy’s sales tax plan asks consumers to sacrifice — for now.”

This “tax cut’ is actually an expansion of the state’s sales tax system. Say so long to tax-free clothing, Connecticut.

Ryan: When you read this column online, we provide all the links to these news items so you can find out for yourself — and not just take our word for it.

Fisher: With the Malloy PR machine never taking a day off, it was bound to get the state into a little trouble. And that happened last week when the governor posted a photo online of him getting a flu vaccination. See “Governor’s snub causes company to halt expansion in Meriden” (MyRecordJournal.com, Feb. 13).

Ryan: If it is positive PR for the Constitution State that interests you, this is difficult to overlook: “FBI goes after ‘Corrupticut’ with billboards” (CTPost.com, Feb. 10).

Fisher: Isn’t it fascinating where the FBI chose to locate the billboards? They should get the attention of drivers passing through our state to go somewhere else. That might even work better than the Connecticut: Still Revolutionary tourism ads.

At least with former Governor John G. Rowland back in federal prison, the feds will know one place they don’t have to watch.

Ryan: Speaking of our state’s highways — in deplorable shape of course — we know that as dedicated readers you followed the big (and expensive) plans for correcting our transportation woes that the Malloy Administration has proposed, but you probably did not see any alternative proposals that have been offered by the state’s minority party: “GOP offers no-tax-hike transportation plan” (CTMirror.org, Feb. 10) that includes no tolls, no new taxes or debt.

Fisher: A wild guess readers, what chance such a plan from the minority party in the state capitol might have? As a homework assignment, readers, please search out the response from the Governor to the “no-tax plan” if you would like more insight into the workings of your state government.

But the real question might be: Will the two parties work together to come up with a good plan? Or will both sides just say the other is wrong and the majority party will just raise taxes and spending because that is all it has done over the past four years?

Ryan: Finally, readers often opine to us that one of the “issues” in government must be that it is hard to get qualified talented staff people when the private sector “pays so much better”, please peruse “Capitol salary porn 2015, where jealousy meets envy” at Ken Dixon’s Blog-O-Rama (blog.ctnews.com, Feb. 5).

Fisher: If you can’t get a good hedge fund job in Connecticut, your best bet to get paid is finding a job in government: The only industry to consistently grow in the Nutmeg State since the income tax was created more than 20 years ago.

But I thought this item was even more illuminating: “Highway toll company hires governor’s former advisor” (CTPost.com, Feb. 7).

Ryan: As we often say, we don’t make this stuff up. Maybe you should take a break from shoveling your driveway and pay attention to what is going on with your state government.

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 has been an editor with Hersam Acorn Newspapers since 2003.

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