budgets

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Even Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra doesn't like the idea of selling more than $30 million in parking assets to balance his budget, but he said it's the only option he's got left. 

KHON2 News / youtube.com

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. A train almost took out Senator Richard Blumenthal last week -- and yes, that really was a press conference about rail safety.

This hour, it’s The Wheelhouse, our weekly news roundtable. And Wednesday’s bearing down on us like a southbound Acela. 

For decades the National Guard has fought hard against the stereotype that it was the place to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War, or that it's a place to get college money rather than combat duty.

Guard leaders thought that after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq they had finally earned some respect. So it was a body blow when the Army's top officer, Gen. Ray Odierno, unveiled his plan on Capitol Hill to take all of the National Guard's Apache helicopters and move them to the regular Army.

Billy Hathorn / Creative Commons

New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio has asked the state for help because the city is running out of cash, and won't be able to make its $1.7 million payroll this week. 

purple_onion / Creative Commons

The electronic lottery game keno could come to Connecticut after all. Keno surfaced at the very end of last year's legislative session as a way to balance the new two year budget. But earlier this year, when a $500 million surplus was announced, lawmakers distanced themselves from the bingo-like game, and a bill to repeal keno seemed like a done deal.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra presented a budget that increases taxes, cancels a class of police officers, and raises new money by selling off some of its parking assets. 

Heroin use is rising at an alarming rate here in Connecticut and in the northeast. According to U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty, 257 state residents have died from heroin overdoses, many in her district, which covers Torrington and Waterbury. Thursday, Esty met with the mayors of those two cities, along with law enforcement and public health professionals to explore options to combat the problem. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Next year's municipal budgets across the state are beginning to take shape. In Hartford, Mayor Pedro Segarra will present his budget to the city council on Monday. It's got a big hole in it. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Municipal leaders from across the state came to the capitol Wednesday to speak to legislators about their budget concerns. 

JuJu Harris didn't set out to write a cookbook, but then again, she didn't set out to accept public assistance to feed her son, either. Harris always wanted to work with nature.

"My dream job was, I was going to grow up and be a national park ranger," she says. It didn't quite work out that way. She drifted from job to job in Oakland, Calif., where she was born. At 32, she joined the Peace Corps, traveling to Paraguay to help local farmers improve their crops.

CT-N

Governor Dannel Malloy's proposal to give Connecticut taxpayers a modest rebate was up for discussion before the General Assembly's tax-writing committee on Thursday. Budget chief Benjamin Barnes said it could be a job generator in the state.

America used to have a robust college education system for prison inmates. It was seen as a way to rehabilitate men and women behind bars by helping them go straight when they got out.

Those taxpayer-funded college classes were defunded in the 1990s. But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo would like to bring them back in the state, prompting a fierce new debate over higher education in state prisons.

Think of the budget plan released Tuesday by President Obama as a magic wand. If he could wave it and make every line come true, how would the U.S. economy look?

Like this:

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

CCSU Case Continued; Flu Cases Climb

Jan 17, 2014
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. 

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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