Just asking, is all. Yesterday I took a completely fair and balanced whack at Connecticut’s legislature’s fair and balanced budget. The newspaper’s headline. “No New Taxes”, probably made most in the Constitution State sigh with relief. But not me and not because I’m just a negative cranky Yankee either. Because as Dan Haar (bless you Dan Haar) points out this morning … there’s nothing balanced about it. All the legislators did was rob from your Federal pocket full of change to pay the bills in the state pocket. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! (Emphasis mine)
In a $19 billion budget, we had a $1.7 billion gap to fill for the fiscal year that starts July 1. We did it by assuming we’ll get another $366 million in federal stimulus money; shirking on a $100 million payment to the state employees’ pension fund; inventing a $140 million surplus in the current fiscal year, mostly by shifting money around; and the big nut, selling $996 million in bonds.
To pay back those bonds, we’ll have to steal $136 million a year from electric ratepayers, including $28 million a year from a fund designed to help residents and businesses improve energy efficiency.
Oh yes, there was a grand total of $31 million in real cuts — “tough spending cuts,” as a triumphant press release Wednesday evening called them.
Read the whole doggone thing, cause it’s the only truth you will hear today. Let’s take these points one at a time. The Federal stimulus money IS your money, and Georgia’s, Tennesee’s, Flordia’s and the other 56 states.
Delaying pension payments is a time bomb in itself. The pension bubble will burst someday. Someday these payments which clearly we can’t afford as taxpayers, will come due, and that’s when the real weeping and gnashing of teeth by state workers will begin. In California its the underpinning of its impending bankruptcy. We, a well as most other states and municipalities, are facing a similar fiscal calamity.
The “rate payer” tax is disgusting. Democrats say “Hey, your utility bill will still drop … just not as much as otherwise.” But in reality it’s one of those “don’t worry, the dumb ass people of Connecticut will never notice they are actually footing the bill” taxes. Abominable.
The stranded costs had been scheduled to expire, but now 33 percent of the costs will be paid by ratepayers to the state. As such, ratepayers will see a reduction in that portion of their cost of 67 percent, rather than the full 100 percent reduction that would have occurred otherwise.
For example, the average homeowner who uses 700 kilowatt hours per month and who currently pays $7.50 for the “stranded cost” portion of the bill will now pay $2.47 per month – rather than saving the full $7.50 when it expired.
Dan Haar gets it. So why don’t state legislators. Oh, and by the way, thank you America for helping Connecticut balance its budget because we can’t do it ourselves.