“I am today announcing that I will not seek a third term as Governor…Instead, I will focus all my attention and energy – I will use all of my political capital from now through the end of 2018 – to continue implementing my administration’s vision for a more sustainable and vibrant Connecticut economy.” [Governor Dan Malloy]
The good news just keeps coming. No more sweetheart deals for his BFFs in Fairfield County. Out, out generous tax write-offs to fatten corporate coffers. Before we throw the baby out with the bath water, let’s see how this largesse worked out. In June 2015, buried in a tax “implementer” bill, Malloy gifted GE with a multi-million tax break package to keep them from leaving the state. In 2016, GE announced their departure fleeing to a state with a higher corporate tax rate and without the tax break sweetener package.
What happened to make Governor Malloy, once a liberal darling (front row seat in Michelle Obama’s box for the 2016 presidential state of the union speech) transform himself into an austerity hawk? Two very tragic (for the governor at least) events. The November election results were a real downer. The skinny at the LOB (Legislative Office Building) was that if Hillary won, meet Dan Malloy, the new Secretary of Transportation. She lost. A worst disaster awaited. A $1 billion hole in the state’s wallet for the 2016 fiscal year. Ignoring calls to increase the taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations, he turned instead to the well-worn Republican path of fiscal austerity, cutting $850 million out of the state’s budget. What got dinged? Not his rich buddies down there in Richie-rich land. He chose a different path, cutting $850 million across the budgets of multiple social services agencies serving the dispossessed and vulnerable. On his wall of shame — a $7 million cut in mental health services (particularly incomprehensible after the Sandy Hook massacre by an obviously deranged man), a $5.5 million slash for special needs children and adults, $1.7 million gone from substance abuse programs (in 2016, 917 people in CT died of opioid abuse, a 25% increase over 2015). To complete the rout, domestic abuse safe havens, rape crisis centers, services for TBI victims and abused children face stunning cuts.
In the seventies, Ed Koch, New York City’s blunt spoken mayor used to ask the city’s subway riders “How’m I doin’? Pretty good was the popular opinion. Governor Malloy clearly prefers the “asked and answered approach.” Here he is patting himself on the back. “I think we’ve done a damn good job…I have laid out a very clear vision of what we need to accomplish … I want to finish this job and figure out what to do next.”
Unfortunately for him, few people in Connecticut agree. A survey taken a few days ago contains both good and bad news for the Gov. The good news — he isn’t the most unpopular governor in the country. The bad news? He’s the third most unpopular right behind two Republican governors — the thuggish Chris Christie of New Jersey and the gay bashing, anti-abortion, corporate shill Sam Brownback of Kansas. To make matters worse (or better depending on your point of view), the Gov’s approval rating at 24% is one point lower than that of ex-Governor John Rowland the day he resigned in 2004, subsequently pleading guilty to a host of felonies and winding up in the federal slammer for almost a year.
Malloy’s wise decision to beat a hasty retreat from the 2018 gubernatorial sweepstakes leaves the state’s residents pondering the only unanswered question — how many lives does this cat have?
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