As he readies the citizens of Connecticut for his version of “shared sacrifice”, taxing middle class workers to balance a bloated state budget, Dan Malloy can’t resist taking a shot at New Jersey’s Governor who somehow managed to balance a budget in far worse shape than his own. Stay for another great Christie video. Courage!
That’s one of the lines Malloy delivered in his budget message to the Connecticut legislature today … but showed little himself in comparison to the man he called in the New York Times today, “bombastic.”
Mr. Malloy grew up with dyslexia and physical disabilities. He still cannot write or type. And as he closes a 20 percent budget deficit, he spends much of his energy finding ways to spare the most vulnerable.
But what is most striking about Mr. Malloy, a Democrat, is that just six weeks after taking charge of such a mild-mannered state, he is publicly taking shots at his celebrated counterpart in New Jersey, attacking his politics and policies, his intellect, even his personality.
“Being bombastic for the sake of being bombastic,” Mr. Malloy said, “has just never been my take on the world.”
Like Mr. Christie and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, a Democrat, Mr. Malloy, 55, is a former prosecutor: he tried felony cases in the Brooklyn district attorney’s office before moving to Stamford, where he was mayor for 14 years. He has inherited a state hobbled by bad fiscal habits and bills that piled up as hard choices were avoided.
Unlike his counterparts, though, he has set out to prove that even in an age of austerity one can govern as a defender of the social safety net.
So the NY Times makes sure it informs you of the Governor’s disability, it fails to report that a large part of the fiscal mess Malloy inherited was the result of Democrat control of the Connecticut House and Senate, legislators who just could not say know to state workers union demands.
And while Governor Malloy has proposed nearly $3 billion dollars in new taxes over two years to balance a $3.5 billion dollar deficit, Governor Christie has been balancing his state’s budget without increasing taxes.
Last June, Governor Chris Christie got the budget he wanted. Declaring that the state cannot spend money it doesn’t have, Christie pushed through a $28.374 billion budget — the smallest in seven years. Christie also vetoed a Democratic bill to temporarily restore higher income tax rates for those making over $500,000. Instead, he cut state aid to school districts and municipalities, slashed property tax rebates and forced transit fare hikes and tuition increases.
For months, Christie and state Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff have made it clear that they intend to follow the same script with the upcoming FY12 budget. Dismissing better-than-expected income tax collections through November as an aberration, they have repeatedly warned school and municipal officials not to expect any more money this year.
In fact, while Malloy, without any regret increased the income tax rate on middle class workers, Christie vowed to veto a similar request in NJ. And if the the Democrats threaten a shutdown … he’ll go home, have a beer and watch the Mets, until they’re ready to do business. The money line comes at 4:00.
In contrast, Connecticut’s Governor chose to increase revenue sharing to cities and towns, kicking the education bloated budget problem down the road.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy not only spared Connecticut’s cities and towns from the budget axe, but set them up to gain $129 million in new annual revenue by 2013 through increased taxing powers and new shares of the state’s revenue streams.
The governor, who served as Stamford’s mayor for 14 years through 2009, effectively called forstatutory grants to remain constant at $2.8 billion next fiscal year, though his plan actually increases the net total by a marginal $7.9 million.
But Malloy, who frequently charges that Connecticut is too reliant on a regressive property tax system that overburdens the middle class, also would launch two new property tax categories, double the real estate conveyance levy in most communities, and give communities new shares of revenue tied to retail sales, hotel stays, music performances and car rentals.
And while he did ask state unions for a billion dollars in concessions … the operative word is “asked”. He offered nothing concrete because the $2 billion dollars in concessions do not exist, at least not yet … if ever.
Dan Malloy might be better served keeping his mouth zipped for a bit and instead of taking unprovoked whacks at Governor Christie, who actually has a record … taking a fiscal lesson instead.