Fair to Ask

With news from Alexion and a stalled budget process at the state capitol, it is fair to ask, what is Connecticut doing wrong? That's the question Governing magazine asked in its latest issue. The resulting article is being widely circulated in Connecticut's leadership community.

At the same time, it is important to recognize that there are ways forward and there are ideas that could put the state on the right track if implemented. CT21 has been providing those ideas and that pathway since its inception and many of our recommendations are highly relevant in the current policy debate.

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Alexion Moving Out

Reports indicate Alexion has decided to move its headquarters from New Haven to Boston. It is the latest high profile move out of Connecticut by a major company as the legislature and governor continue to battle over the state budget. The correlation between fiscal chaos and the Alexion decision is unknown, but other private sector leaders have cited the effect of poor long-term planning by state government on the business climate.

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A Vehicle for Tolls

Perhaps tucked into the proposed budget scheduled to be voted on later this week is a provision to create a new quasi-public state agency responsible for raising revenue for transportation projects. It is possible this new authority would be the first step toward implementation of electronic tolls in Connecticut.

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Budget Deal?

Democrats say they are getting close to a budget deal as a self-imposed Thursday deadline approaches.

After a weekend of meetings, Democratic leaders now say they are leaning away from an across the board increase in the sales tax but still have plans to expand the base of items subject to the tax.

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Job Recovery

Economist Don Klepper-Smith says Connecticut is on track to recover all the jobs lost following the 2008-09 recession, but not until 2019.

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Effort to Deal

Governor Malloy has put forward a new offer to compromise in an effort to end the state's budget gridlock.

Malloy says he is now willing to revise one of his key budget demands.

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Help Please

The word coming out of the state capitol now pushes back plans to vote on a budget on September 11th to September 14th.

Most observers believe even if the House passes a budget on that date, the Senate will not accept the plan without changes - which puts the state close to October without a budget in place.

Meanwhile, local elected leaders are sounding the alarm.

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Real Estate Sector Hopeful

This analysis was originally published by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.

By Kristi Sullivan

The latest semi-annual online survey of Connecticut commercial real estate conditions, conducted by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. (CERC), indicates that respondents are generally optimistic about the real estate market, but not all sectors of it. They are especially pessimistic about conditions in the office and retail markets both in their own geographic areas and across the state as a whole.

Day Calls for Fiscal Reform

The following opinion piece was published by the editorial board of the Day of New London.

Restructuring of Connecticut's finances isn't waiting any longer for tax reform plans or large-scale fiscal policy change that never materializes. It has been zigzagging forward regardless, in the ungainliest way, like duct-taped Apollo 13 lurching back to Earth.

Revenue Debate

CT Mirror budget reporter Keith Phaneuf says the real debate at the state capitol concerning the budget is how - not whether - to raise as much as $1 billion in new revenue.

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Five Ways...

The following article, written by CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan, was first published in the Hartford Courant's opinion section on August 21.

The path out of Connecticut's current fiscal crisis is challenging, loaded with difficult and painful choices.

Deficit and Cuts

The Malloy administration is hoping that the governor's recent announcement on municipal funding will put pressure on lawmakers to approve a new two year budget. But despite the complaints, lawmakers seem prepared to wait until mid-September before even holding a vote.

With no budget in place, the state has now slipped into an operating deficit.

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Sept. 11 Budget

With surprising routine, the Connecticut legislature is moving slowly toward a September 11th vote on a state budget for the next two years.

By that date, the budget will be more than 50 days late causing chaos for cities and towns and other who rely on state funding.

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Cities and Towns

Connecticut municipalities, and the level of aid they receive each year from state government, are at the center of the budget debate taking place this summer at the capitol.

The CT Mirror has put together a data rich survey of state aid in an effort to understand the issues.

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Fiscal Health

In a new analysis from Pew, Connecticut is among the states that chronically allows expenses to exceed revenues.

The findings are included in Pew's regular "Fiscal 50" report which sizes up the health of all 50 states.

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41 Days

It has now been 41 days since Connecticut missed its budget deadline for the next two fiscal years.

Talks are continuing at the capitol, but there appears to be no end to the stalemate in sight. Meanwhile, cities and towns, providers of social services and taxpayers in general all face the growing possibility that the lack of a state budget may begin to impact the ability to conduct business as usual and our quality of life. Recent decisions by General Electric and Aetna to move their headquarters out of state have been blamed primarily on the concern that Connecticut state government appears to have no long term plan when it comes to budgeting. CT21 has offered a series of suggestions for more efficient use of state government resources over the last decade. Those ideas are all included on the Institute's website.

Consumer Confidence Down

The latest quarterly survey of consumer confidence in Connecticut shows rising concern over the state of the economy and the lack of fiscal discipline in state government.

The survey was conducted by InformCT a project of the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.

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Slow Going

As mid-August approaches Connecticut still has no budget in place for the next two years. And there are few signs that is changing any time soon.

The issue of the moment is a proposal by some Democrats to raise or expand application of the state sales tax as a means to increase revenue. As expected, the idea is meeting with resistance from Republicans and some special interests.

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Budget Next

The state Senate gave final legislative approval Monday to a controversial union concession package crafted to save $1.6 billion.

Now legislative leaders must turn to the month late overall state budget which is $3.5 million out of balance.

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Crucial Vote

An important vote is scheduled Monday in the state Senate on whether to accept the terms of a concession package negotiated with state employee unions. Observers are watching the vote of three Democrats considered to be moderates. All three votes are needed to ensure an 18-18 tie that would presumably be broken in favor of the agreement by Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.

Republicans have been urging rejection. They claim additional savings can be achieved by changing the laws governing collective bargaining with public employees. Proponents of the deal say it will save the state $1.6 billion.

Squeeze Is On

The on-going state budget crisis at the capitol is putting a major financial squeeze on cities and towns and it is about to get worse.

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TOD Taking Hold?

There are growing signs many Connecticut communities are making investments in transit oriented development in an attempt to enhance property values and reduce traffic congestion.

The CT Mirror has a report.

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Providers Put $300M on Table

As Governor Malloy predicts the state may end up waiting until the fall before there is an agreement on the budget, providers of social services are arguing they can save the state $300 million.

A trade association for providers says its members can provide vital social services to Connecticut residents at lower cost if the legislature will make the policy decision to move in that direction. The claims by providers is backed up by previous research performed by CT21.

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Not on Board

According to the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, many of its members are not sure the union concession package approved by the state House of Representatives this week, is in the best long term interest of the state.

A vote in the Senate is expected next week. The package is meant to save nearly $1.6 billion, but Republicans think more can be saved by changing the laws that govern labor relations with state employees.

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