budgets

Unfunded Liabilities
12:15 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Connecticut Wrestles With "Financial Tapeworm"

Credit Simon Cunningham / Creative Commons

Warren Buffett has added his voice to the growing chorus of concern over public pension obligations. In his annual letter to shareholders, the legendary investing guru calls underfunded public pension plans a "gigantic financial tapeworm."

Buffett said he anticipates lots of bad news in the coming decade about public pensions, and he stresses the need for prompt remedial action where problems exist.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon March 3, 2014

How is Connecticut's Fiscal Health?

Donald Boyd, Keith Phaneuf, Spencer Cain, and Benjamin Barnes at the MetroHartford Alliance panel discussion, "Fiscal Sustainability: Critical to Connecticut's Growth."
Credit MetroHartford Alliance

Connecticut’s state budget faces a series of problems that have been building for some time. It’s why the Office of Fiscal Analysis shows looming budget deficits in the next two fiscal years.

But we’re not alone. A study of several states shows some of the same trends: Medicaid costs growing faster than states can raise money, which means less funding for education; the federal government cutting aid to states in an effort to cut their own deficits; reliance on volatile tax structures and massive underfunding of public pensions.

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White House
1:18 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Pentagon Cuts Promise Political Pain

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel briefs reporters at the Pentagon on Monday. Hagel and President Obama will need to fight through a wall of resistance to their proposed defense budget cuts, say former members of a defense base closing commission.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 2:17 pm

Cutting defense spending in Washington is about as popular as proposing Social Security cuts. In other words, not very.

Which explains why, following Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's announcement Monday that the Obama administration's new budget would propose shrinking the Army, closing bases and ditching weapons systems, the responses from Capitol Hill lawmakers have been some version of "over my dead body."

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That Didn't Last Long...
4:17 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Is the Era of Keno in Connecticut Over?

There's a good chance you'll never see a sign like this in Connecticut.
Credit Marc Moss / Creative Commons

Keno in Connecticut may be over before it begins.

Less than a year after a Keno bill passed the legislature in the eleventh hour, and was signed into law by Governor Dannel Malloy, legislative leaders are making a push for its repeal, citing an improving economy.

Democratic Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey announced his support for a repeal during remarks to the Connecticut Council of Small Towns.

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Sandy Recovery
10:22 am
Tue February 18, 2014

State Seeks Input on Sandy Recovery Spending

Cosey Beach in East Haven during Sandy.
Credit Jan Ellen Spiegel

The state is seeking public comment on its latest plan for recovery from Superstorm Sandy. Connecticut is due for a second round of disaster funding from the federal government as it distributes aid to the communities worst affected.

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Connecticut First
4:58 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Connecticut Battles a Nor'Easter; Snow Removal Budget Depleted

A winter storm has dropped heavy wet snow on Connecticut, along with rain and sleet that began in the southern part of the state overnight before moving northward. Total snow accumulations were about 10 inches in many areas. Connecticut has depleted its budget for snow and ice removal. A spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said this week that the agency has spent all $30 million on a dozen storms for the season.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue February 11, 2014

The Wheelhouse Breaks Down the State of the State

As always, WNPR's John Dankosky and Colin McEnroe lead the conversation on The Wheelhouse.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we recap Governor Dannel Malloy’s State of the State address and the proposals he laid out surrounding the state budget, education and the minimum wage. We’re joined by a panel of reporters who have spent the last week digesting the governor’s agenda.

Also, a discussion about the Olympics with a Connecticut-native who won a gold medal in women's ice hockey during the 1998 Olympics. The rivalry between the U.S. and Canada is as intense as ever and we talk about it with this Olympian.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Gov. Dannel Malloy: Live on WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last week, Governor Dannel Malloy delivered his fourth State of the State address. There are numerous Republican candidates for governor who hope it's his last. The address itself outlined Malloy's wide-ranging proposals for the budget, education, and assistance for veterans.

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State of the State
4:20 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Malloy, Legislators Get to Work

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Delayed a day by the snow, Connecticut's lawmakers returned to work to open this year's legislative session, and they began their work by hearing a budget address from Governor Dannel Malloy. 

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Connecticut Legislature
10:09 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Malloy Delivers the State of the State, and the Session Starts

Governor Malloy will give his State of the State address at noon.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The legislature officially opened today, after being delayed because of Wednesday's snowstorm. Governor Dannel Malloy gave his annual State of the State address after budget chief Ben Barnes briefed the media on the governor's midterm budget adjustment proposals earlier in the morning.

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2014 Session
9:30 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Connecticut Legislative Session Opens

The Connecticut General Assembly (file photo).
Chion Wolf WNPR

The Connecticut legislative session began on Thursday morning in Hartford, delayed a day by a winter storm. Secretary Ben Barnes, of the Office of Policy and Management, delivered a budget briefing, and Governor Dannel Malloy addressed the joint session of the General Assembly at noon. Read the text of his speech here.

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Public Notice
2:09 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Should Full Public Notices Be Allowed Online Only?

Credit Jon S / Creative Commons

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities has released its list of legislative priorities for the year. One of them would allow towns and cities to publish full public notices online, and not in newspapers. The move could save public money, but it is opposed by the state's newspapers.

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Housing
1:31 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

State Cuts Funding for Agencies That Provide Housing Support for the Severely Mentally Ill

Housing in Stamford.
Credit Carmine Salvatore/iStock / Thinkstock

The state has made a funding cut to housing that supports those with severe mental illness. Agencies that serve these clients said they'll have to look for creative ways to make up the difference.

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Saving for a Rainy Day
12:52 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Connecticut's Reserve Fund is Among the Lowest in the U.S., But Why?

It's taken a long time for states to get back to where they were before the last recession hit.
c-George/iStock Thinkstock

Last year, The Pew Charitable Trusts studied fiscal data from the 50 states to see how each could survive on its respective reserve fund. The results were diverse, depending largely on each state’s population and resources.

For Connecticut, the study’s outcome did not look promising. New England’s Constitution State was found to have one of the lowest-ranking reserve funds in the nation. Alaska, on the other hand, came out on top. But why?

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue January 28, 2014

In Rebuilding Reserve Funds, Where Does Connecticut Stand?

Before the last recession, Connecticut's rainy day fund was substantial, but it's depleted in recent years.
Credit The Pew Charitable Trusts

Last year, The Pew Charitable Trusts analyzed the fiscal data for all 50 states. They used several markers to rank the states, including the amount of money in reserve funds, sometimes known as rainy day funds. Connecticut’s rainy day fund is among the lowest in the nation. The highest? Alaska.

This hour, we find out how states like Alaska got so far ahead, while Connecticut fell so far behind.

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Connecticut First
1:46 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

CCSU Case Continued; Flu Cases Climb

David Kyem.
Credit New Britain Police Department

A former Central Connecticut State University student who triggered a campus lockdown and massive response by the SWAT team was set to be arraigned today in New Britain Superior Court on breach of peace and trespassing charges.

David Kyem, 21, wore a costume with a mask and BB handgun on campus November 4. Officials locked down the school for three hours. His case was continued to February 27. 

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Congress
4:17 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

House Republicans Join In Passing $1 Trillion Spending Bill

House Speaker John Boehner and GOP leaders face reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:19 pm

The House on Wednesday passed a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill — a compromise that appeared to get past the bitter partisan showdowns that have caused an unpopular federal government shutdown and nearly tipped the U.S. into default.

The 359-67 vote was a sign of considerable support from Republicans, thanks to a bipartisan deal worked out last month laying out spending for the next two years.

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Federal Budget
3:05 am
Wed January 15, 2014

'Pretty Good' Budget Deal Looks Good Enough To Avoid Shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. A massive $1.1 trillion spending bill, aimed at funding the government until October, is getting generally positive reviews, including from House Republicans eager to avoid another shutdown crisis with elections looming.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 9:01 am

For the first time in years, the House of Representatives is expected to approve a massive new spending bill Wednesday that keeps federal agencies operating until a new fiscal year starts in October.

The so-called "omnibus" package of all 12 annual spending bills is a compromise; it has more money in it than what Congressional Republicans wanted, but less than what President Obama had asked for. There is some disappointment with the measure on both sides of the aisle, but this time nobody is talking about forcing another government shutdown.

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Federal Budget
8:24 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Congress Poised To Pass $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill

Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a $1.1 trillion spending bill that would fund the federal government into October and bring to an end, for now at least, the bitter partisan battles that have led to one government shutdown and threatened to push the U.S. into defaulting on its bills.

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Federal Budget Deal
11:05 am
Thu December 19, 2013

DeLauro Highlights Plight of Unemployed Facing End of Benefits

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro listens at a round table discussion of long-term unemployment benefits.
Credit Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro warned that the state's economy will suffer because of the decision not to extend unemployment benefits in the federal budget deal reached last week.

DeLauro voted, she said, reluctantly, against the Murray-Ryan budget compromise precisely because it does nothing to help the long term unemployed. On Wednesday, she brought together some of the people who will be affected for a discussion in Middletown.

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Federal Budget
9:01 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Bipartisan Budget Deal Passes Key Test In Senate

It may seem to some like a holiday miracle, but the Senate moved ahead on a bipartisan budget plan Tuesday.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:09 pm

Updated at 10:27 a.m. ET: Moving Ahead:

The Senate voted 67 to 33 on Tuesday to move forward on the two-year, bipartisan budget plan that restores some of the automatic spending cuts of recent years, trims spending in other areas and appears to have put on hold until 2015 the bitter battles that led to this year's partial government shutdown.

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Federal Budget
10:14 am
Mon December 16, 2013

UTC Chief Welcomes Stability in Budget Deal

UTC's headquarters building in Hartford.
Credit Creative Commons

The budget deal reached last week in Washington will have a real economic impact on companies in Connecticut. United Technologies CEO Louis Chenevert welcomed the agreement, saying it gives his defense dependent corporation more ability to plan for the future.

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Federal Budget
7:09 am
Wed December 11, 2013

'Something For Everyone To Dislike' In Budget Deal

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., crafted the budget deal.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 4:37 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Tamara Keith reports on the budget deal
  • On 'Morning Edition': Sen. Patty Murray speaks with Steve Inskeep

The reviews are coming in for the bipartisan budget deal crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and as the Los Angeles Times says, the package seems to have "something for everyone to dislike."

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State Budget
9:39 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Connecticut's Budget "Reality" is Called Into Question

Benjamin Barnes, Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management.
Credit CT-N

Republicans in the legislature are accusing the Malloy administration of sugar-coating the state's financial picture. The administration conceded in its annual budget forecast that the state is heading for a deficit after next year's elections. But its estimate of the budget gap was about half of that projected by the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis

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Food Assistance
11:29 am
Sun November 17, 2013

See How Food Stamp Cuts Are Hitting Across The U.S.

Screen grab of a map that shows hard numbers about who's getting hit by food stamp cuts.
Stateline

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:20 pm

When you think of Oregon and food, you probably think organic chicken, kale chips and other signs of a strong local food movement. What probably doesn't come to mind? Food stamps.

And yet, 21 percent of Oregon's population – that's one out of every five residents – relies on food stamps to get by. And like many people across the country, these Oregon families who have come to rely on federal food assistance program for meals are learning to make do with less as of this month.

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Budget
12:12 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Blumenthal: Congress Must Focus on Budget

Senator Richard Blumenthal.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

With the shutdown in the rearview mirror, Connecticut's senior senator said it’s vital for Congress to reach a budget accord as soon as possible.

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Congress
7:00 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Congress Approves Bill To End Government Shutdown, Avert Default

Speaker of the House John Boehner pumps his fist after leaving a meeting of House Republicans at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 12:32 am

Bringing to an end an episode that once again exposed Washington gridlock at its worst, the House approved a Senate deal that will end a 16-day federal government shutdown and avert the first government default in U.S. history.

The 285-144 vote came at the eleventh hour, after weeks of partisan bickering and a very public airing of deep divisions within the Republican party. President Obama signed the bill into law after midnight Thursday.

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Government Shutdown
9:38 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Malloy: Connecticut May Take On More Federal Responsibilities

Governor Dannel Malloy.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The state may shoulder more federal responsibilities as the government shutdown continues. Connecticut has already begun to foot the bill for almost $1 million worth of programs, including keeping open Head Start places in the state. 

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Where We Live
7:50 am
Wed October 16, 2013

The Day Before the Debt Ceiling Deadline

President Barack Obama meets with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other members of the House Democratic leadership in the Oval Office, Oct. 15, 2013.
Credit Pete Souza / White House

This shutdown is getting old. Federal workers aren’t getting paid, and that means lots of people right here in Connecticut are affected directly - and a lot more are having problems, too.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:38 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Debt Ceiling Impact in Connecticut; Federal Courts Operating for Now; Living in Stolen Luxury

Keith Phaneuf, budget reporting guru.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's all about cash money in The Wheelhouse Digest. While the government is coming close to hitting the debt ceiling again, with federal dollars in a state of seizure, someone else is in the news for stealing public money from a Connecticut town, and leading a "double life." Can anyone make an honest dollar anymore? That and more below.

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