December 12, 2009

Journal Inquirer > Chris Powell > Without political will, Connecticut will sink

Journal Inquirer > Chris Powell > Without political will, Connecticut will sink: "Without political will, Connecticut will sink"

From the state Capitol this week the message rang out loud and clear: Nowhere in state or municipal government can any more money be saved even as the state budget deficit grows by tens of millions of dollars each month and threatens state government with running out of cash next year just as California state government did this year.First the General Assembly's Appropriations Committee held hearings to parade every hard-luck case in the state in front of the television cameras to plead against any reduction in their assistance. Then the Municipal Mandate Board just appointed by Governor Rell to recommend reductions in state grants to cities and towns voted not to recommend anything. The only municipal official opposing the motion was Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy, who had specified many state mandates whose repeal would reduce municipal expenses.

It appears that when, next week, at Governor Rell's call, the General Assembly convenes in special session to address the deficit, the leaders of the Democratic majority may either undertake to try to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars for current expenses, thereby destroying the state's bond rating if lenders can even be found, or simply abdicate and adjourn the special session immediately as if nothing can be done except to await financial collapse.

Has anyone in the parade ever urged his legislators to review how much more drug criminalization or government-subsidized childbearing outside marriage Connecticut can afford?

Has anyone in the parade ever complained to his congressmen about the essentially infinite cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the rescues of the bankrupt financial houses that devastated the world economy?

Of course it is not really as if nothing can be done. The question is just whether the political will can be mustered to prevent society from collapsing under the weight of the government. There is a desperate emergency and there can be no more asking the permission of anyone to save the state. All statutory and regulatory impediments to saving money must be repealed or suspended so that the basic functions and humane institutions of government can continue to do what is essential through hard times.

The great objective must be to restore a relationship between the public's income and the income of the government, its employees, its vendors, and its dependents, to wrest control of the government from those who vote for a living and give it back to those who work for one.
-----Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer.

Watch the meetings by clicking below:

The Governor's Municipal Leaders Mandate Board December 9 Meeting

The Governor's Municipal Leaders Mandate Board Introductory Meeting

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