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School Funding Debate

It is unclear whether the legislature will seriously consider Governor Malloy's proposal to re-balance state funding for local education.

However, the issue is at the center of the debate over the state budget as major committees begin their work this legislative session.

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School Funding Debate

It is unclear whether the legislature will seriously consider Governor Malloy's proposal to re-balance state funding for local education.

However, the issue is at the center of the debate over the state budget as major committees begin their work this legislative session.

Read More...

Bail Reform

Governor Malloy is once again pushing a plan to reform Connecticut's bail system and change some juvenile justice laws to give younger offenders a better chance to start over.

The governor's proposals are part of what he calls his "Second Chance Society" initiative. If the legislature goes along the reforms may end up reducing costs, a goal supported by CT21 and backed up by previous research.

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Strategic Analysis

So far the reaction to Governor Malloy's budget proposal has ranged from outrage to disbelief.

In an attempt to balance the budget based on the reality of available revenues Malloy is arguing the old formulas no longer work and everyone has to share in the effort to re-write Connecticut's policy book. Now the budget falls into the hands of the legislature which shows no signs of having any interest in Malloy's approach.

This means it is likely that any budget agreement will need to be reached between the governor and legislative leaders later this year. A big question that may influence the outcome: How will the power sharing agreement in the Senate and the narrow partisan divide in the House play into those negotiations?

Conventional wisdom says that if there is going to be a fundamental policy shift it needs to occur during this year's session before the pressure of the next campaign season makes difficult choices impossible to make.

Challenge Welcomed

Long-time conservative columnist Chris Powell, of the Journal Inquirer newspaper, is welcoming Governor Malloy's latest budget proposal and sees it as a challenge to the status quo.

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Malloy Starts Budget Debate

Governor Malloy's shared sacrifice budget for the next two years places the biggest sacrifice at the feet of state employee labor unions.

In a budget proposal outlined Wednesday afternoon, Malloy asked for $1.5 billion in labor concessions. He also wants municipalities to pay a larger share of the cost of pension costs and has suggested about $400 million in new taxes.

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Budget Battle Begins

Governor Malloy will unveil his budget proposal for the next two years during a speech this afternoon to the legislature.

From what we know so far the plan will seek to close cumulative projected deficits of more than $3 billion through spending reductions, cost sharing with municipalities and union concessions. For the most part, Malloy is not offering any major tax increases to enhance state revenues, although he has confirmed he will suggest the elimination of the $200 property tax credit.

The governor's budget proposal will be officially unveiled at noon.

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Malloy's Crisis

The legacy of governors is often defined by the crises they face.

In the case of Governor Dan Malloy, the one consistent crisis of his time in office has been Connecticut's out of balance state budget. The Hartford Business Journal's editorial this week suggests that in the on-going effort to address this crisis Malloy is beginning to sound more like a Republican than the highly partisan Democrat he is seen as on the national stage.

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Budget Week

The week ahead will be dominated by Governor Malloy's budget proposal for the next two years and reaction to it.

One thing is certain: the governor seems committed to the idea of a fundamental re-working of state finances. He really has no choice, because doing things as they have always been done just doesn't add up. Reaction is certain to carry with it the usual howling from various special interests, but those interests and lawmakers, are in a position similar to the one facing the governor.

The challenges facing the state require new solutions. The ritual resistance of the annual budget process cannot be given the same weight by lawmakers, because there is not enough revenue to satisfy everyone.

As each budget cycle of the Malloy administration becomes more difficult, previously unpopular choices are becoming more palatable.

Hole Dug Deep in Time

Keith Phaneuf, a reporter for the CT Mirror who has dedicated the last ten years or so of his career to understanding the Connecticut state budget, has published the first of several stories explaining the state's current fiscal predicament.

Phaneuf reports Connecticut faces difficult choices over the next 20 years or more as a result of poor decisions made by legislatures and governors during the preceding 80 years.

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Pain Required

A Hartford Business Journal editorial this week makes an obvious, yet necessary statement few are willing to make: Whatever the legislature does to balance the budget this year, the economy will suffer in some way. The challenge facing lawmakers is that deep. There are no good options.

The HBJ argues however that tax hikes are at the top of the list of painful remedies to be avoided if possible.

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Crossroads

The final unemployment report for 2016 shows Connecticut's jobless rate dropping to 4.4%, but economists say that number is deceiving because more people are leaving the state.

Two leading Connecticut economists tell the CT Mirror that what the numbers really say is it is time for Connecticut state government to focus on policies that create jobs.

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