Faced with another fiscal crisis of their own making, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his insider allies have targeted the education and future of our state's children in order to bail out a mess they created.
The governor has proposed $50 million in disastrous cuts to state grants relied on by our cities and towns to deliver high quality education in our communities. In a town like Trumbull, where we keep our budgets balanced and our debt low, these cuts are particularly painful.
For our town alone the governor has proposed a cut to the Education Cost Sharing grant of $266,792 and another $245,884 in cuts to capital improvement grants.
More than half a million dollars pulled from our schools would impact our ability to recruit talented teachers, to provide the best educational materials to students and to offer more options to increase student competitiveness after they leave our system.
In many towns, these cuts won't only affect students, children and parents. In far too many cases, such as in Hartford, painful cuts result in a higher property tax burden being pushed onto already struggling workers, families and retirees.
At roughly the same time our governor proposed these cuts, the state was able to find $3.4 million in University of Connecticut cash to payout a severance bonus to failed UConn football coach Bob Diaco. Let us not forget the millions of dollars Gov. Malloy paid for a billion dollar hedge fund to move from one Connecticut community to another.
Legislators in Hartford are also padding their pensions, using loopholes and gimmicks to boost their compensation at the expense of taxpayers.
A Freedom of Information Act request made last month revealed that one state senator alone filed over $105,000 in mileage reimbursement claims over a 10-year period. State law allows that legislator to count the reimbursement toward his pension.
Part-time legislators padding their pensions with inflated reimbursements, football coaches being given lavish University of Connecticut funded payouts and billionaires getting extravagant deals are merely three symptoms of a pervasive culture of superiority in Hartford.
For this governor to think we should be balancing our budget on the backs of our children's education while shelling out millions to a fired football coach and hedge funds smacks of the tone deaf, feckless leadership of the last six years. It is exactly these sort of misguided priorities that hardworking Connecticut families are so tired of from Hartford.
Time and again Malloy and insiders in Hartford have refused to stand up to the well-connected special interests or make the tough calls to bring fiscal sanity to our state. They refuse to prune the swollen Hartford bureaucracy, pursue the policies to bring growth to Connecticut's economy or tackle unfunded pensions — the leading culprit of the perpetual fiscal crisis in our state.
Instead, these insiders have demanded time and time again that our struggling taxpayers, small towns and now even our schools sacrifice so they can maintain business as usual in Hartford.