Harriet Jones

The nation’s growing deficit looms large over this election season, and once the vote is over, the winners will have to grapple with sequestration – a threatened across-the-board cut to federal budgets. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on what that might mean for Connecticut ’s defense jobs. 

Hartford Layoffs Loom

Sep 4, 2012

The city of Hartford is preparing to lay off at least a dozen people later this month. As Jeff Cohen reports, Mayor Pedro Segarra needs to reduce his staff to balance his budget.

The current budget of the city of Hartford is a tight one, and it includes a million dollars in labor concessions that haven't yet been agreed to. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Mayor Pedro Segarra has offered either furlough days or layoffs.

This year's budget for the city of Hartford was one of the toughest in memory, as the mayor had to close a projected $50 million deficit. To get there, the city approved $1 million in savings from labor unions. But by the time the budget went into effect in July, those concessions hadn't yet been found.

Last week  two ratings agencies changed their financial outlook for the city of New Haven from stable to negative. Mayor John DeStefano says he can’t disagree with that.

Mayor DeStefano says he’s pleased that Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings did not downgrade New Haven’s credit ratings. The actual ratings were affirmed. But the city’s financial outlook declined.  

Connecticut will be the destination later this month for hundreds of small high tech companies from all over the Eastern United States. They’ll be here for the national Small Business Innovation Research and Global Trade Summit, to be held at Mohegan Sun. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Democrats on the Hartford City Council spent much of Friday afternoon trying to figure out just what to do with next year's city's budget. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports.

The city's budget isn't yet final, but according to the latest proposals, what you think of it will depend on what kind of property you own.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has a plan to close a multi-million hole in next year's city budget. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the mayor is hoping to cut some programs, make more money, and raise the city's tax rate.

This wasn't what Segarra had planned. In his original budget, the mayor hoped to bring in more tax revenue from apartments and residences. But, last week, the state legislature failed to act on a bill Segarra needed. The result was an $8 million budget hole for next year. Here's the mayor.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra may have a multi-million dollar problem on his hands. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, he's hoping the state legislature will save him.

Hartford's city treasurer says Mayor Pedro Segarra's budget under funds the city's pension fund by 11 million dollars -- and that may be a violation of the city code. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports.

Segarra presented his budget last month. When he did, he found lots of ways to close a ten percent budget deficit. One was to raise taxes on some residential property owners; another was to cut back on the money the city contributes to its pension fund. He's proposed putting in $20.6 million as opposed to $31.6 million.

Chion Wolf

With everything else going on at the Capitol, it’s good someone is paying attention to the budget.

That someone is The Connecticut Mirror’s Keith Phaneuf.  Our budgetary Obi Wan Kenobi stops by to give us an update on the fiscal health of the state - along with news on the “hot button” issues like minimum wage and Sunday liquor sales.

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Hartford Mayor Pedro presented his budget today/yesterday for the year that starts this July. As WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports, Segarra says the task in front of city leaders is unprecedented.

Thanks in large part to changes in property values, or reval, the city was facing a more than $54 million dollar deficit for next year. In a budget of about $540 million, that’s ten percent, and it’s not normal.

"I can tell you that no year compares to this year by way of the challenges that we had to meet given the significant loss of tax revenue as a result of the reval."

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra was recently criticized by the leader of the city council for giving raises to employees as he looks to close a $54 million hole in next year's budget. Now, it appears that the mayor has given more raises than first reported.

Reporter Roundtable

Mar 13, 2012
Chion Wolf

While we’ve been obsessed with the big changes that may be coming to the state’s education system - there’s plenty more that lawmakers are considering.

On that long list: Red light cameras, hotel taxes, racial profiling, Sunday liquor sales and the death penalty. There’s also news about more firings over the D-SNAP scandal, and there’s the state of the budget in a slow-recovery economy.  Some economists are saying that it will take several more years to undo the damage of the last recession.

Jessie Sawyer

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra gave his annual state of the city address Monday.  WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports.  The biggest issue facing the city of Hartford isn't the state of the city, but the state of its budget.  Next year's numbers are scary -- the city is projecting a 10 percent shortfall.

The city of Hartford is facing a ten percent budget deficit next year. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, city officials say they may ask bigger non-profits to lend a hand...and write a check. Hartford has billions of dollars in property. But about half of it isn't taxable, because it belongs to the state or to non-profits. That means schools, universities, hospitals, and others don't pay taxes on the land and property they own. And that means the city of Hartford is property rich, cash poor, and facing a $54 million budget hole next year. So here's an idea.

Courtesy of The National Guard

Governor Dannel Malloy and other governors signed a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta voicing their concern with the DOD's proposed budget, specifically disproportionate cuts facing Air National Guard units. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports on how the budget will impact Connecticut's force.

Major General Thad Martin of the Connecticut National Guard anticipates there will be no reduction of the 1144 Guardsmen and women who serve with Bradley's 103rd Airlift Wing.  The Defense Department releases firm numbers on Tuesday.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy will take his case for education reform directly to Connecticut residents through a series of town hall meetings.

It's the same format the Governor used last year, when he took his "shared sacrifice" budget on the road in a series of town hall type meetings. Now the issue is education reform. His 163-page education bill offers additional funding for failing schools, removes red tape for local school districts and expands access to early childhood education.

Chion Wolf

Governor Dannel Malloy has some big challenges on his plate - not the least of which is an education overhaul.

Malloy promised “wholesale changes” in his state of the state address...changes that including adding $50 million into the allocation the state sends to towns - still far short of “fully funding” ECS - but seen by towns as a start.

Less embraced by some towns are other provisions - which include an attempt to force consolidation of smaller districts and to spend more money on charter schools.

Arts Funding 2.0

Feb 22, 2012
Chion Wolf

The last few weeks have been difficult for arts organizations in Connecticut as the Malloy administration revamps arts funding.

First, arts groups were surprised to hear about funding cuts in the revised budget that came from the Governor...but then came word that they’d be forced to compete for funds in a way they haven’t in the past.

Earmarks gone - a kind of “Race to the Top” for arts and culture underway.

Governor Dannel Malloy's mid-term budget adjustments make some notable changes to the way the state pays for healthcare.  WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. In 2010, the state started a temporary program to provide health benefits to some uninsured, low-income residents. But now the state says that program is over enrolled and too expensive.

Gov. Malloy's State Of The State Address - 2012

Feb 8, 2012
Chion Wolf

A year ago, Dannel Malloy's job fell into the general categories of triage and emergency medicine. The state's finances were broken. He had to get the patient stabilized so the process of care could begin. This year, to extend the analogy, the patient is out of intensive care but not out of the woods.

Reporter Roundtable

Jan 19, 2012
Chion Wolf

Governor Dannel Malloy is investigating whether scores of people, including some state employees, defrauded the state when they received emergency aid after Tropical Storm Irene. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Malloy says state workers could be fired or arrested should the allegations prove true.

Kevin Burkett (Flickr Creative Commons)

So, the “super committee” failed to reach a deficit-reduction plan - now, “automatic” cuts loom.

While this is undeniably true - the impact of the committee’s “failure” can be read many ways: One is that it actually helped to divert attention away from the debt ceiling battle in Congress until after the 2012 election.

It’s well known that Connecticut’s economy is heavily dependent on defense spending. But concern usually centers around the state’s big employers like Electric Boat and Pratt & Whitney. A new survey aims to demonstrate what the effects might be of defense cuts on small subcontractors. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Cutbacks in the nation’s defense budget, once unthinkable, are now firmly on the table.

J Holt

Governor Dannel Malloy’s jobs summit Thursday brought together economic thinkers from inside and outside Connecticut to brainstorm about how to get the state’s economy moving. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, Malloy also used the event to launch a new initiative.

“Thank you very much – please – we’ve got work to do…..”

Governor Malloy signaled to the crowd gathered at the Connecticut convention center that his attention is now moving from the state budget to the state’s economy.

Flickr Creative Commons, 104Muttons

What are we watching when we watch (and cheer about) a college game?

Historian Taylor Branch disputes the notion that we are watching a logical, natural outgrowth of the college's academic identity. If you're a student, are those your fellow students playing football? If you're an alumnus, are those people on the basketball court extensions of what you used to be?

Photo / Jayel Aheram via Creative Commons

WANTED: Point Guard. $70K/yr. Must work weekends. Student-athletes generate billions of revenue for universities and private companies while they earn nothing. Some who’ve been badly hurt don’t get the care and coverage they’d get with workers comp. Others see their scholarship canceled after a year and find themselves on the hook for expensive tuition if they want to go further. Others object the the use of their images on licensed products long after their scholarship expire. Atlantic and Taylor Branch tackled this in a feature last week.