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Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy Makes His Case

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

WNYC

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's a Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on The Brian Lehrer Show, Dan Malloy, Connecticut's new governor—and the first Democratic governor of the state in 20 years—discussed his budget proposals.

Newly seated Dan Malloy has a 3.2 billion budget gap to close (a whopping 20 percent of the state budget) and is planning to do it by reducing spending, raising taxes, and demanding more from state employees.

Raise taxes you say? That approach singles Malloy out from his neighbors Cuomo and Christie in New York and New Jersey, respectively. But Malloy maintains that the decision is part of his broader plan to shore up the state's pension fund (into which he's committed to paying $877 million, something which has not been done in a number of years) and to avoid borrowing money to cover the state's operating expenses. Malloy doesn't fear that his wealthy residents will flee to other states even if he taxes the rich, because his top tax rates would still only be 6.7 percent.

We will maintain a substantial competitive advantage against our neighboring states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and just a few miles further from our borders, New Jersey.

Malloy's budget proposal also includes the creation of a state Earned Income Tax Credit at 30 percent of the federal level, which most other states in the northeast employ. This would mean compensation for low-income working families. Malloy portrays himself as a governor who is friendly to middle and low-income earners, and he refuses to paint public employees as public enemy number one (unlike some other newly elected governors).

Defined benefit plans in and of themselves should not be considered the enemy. They can work but they require sacrifice, by the state or municipal entity, making sure it pays its money and by employees who, if they want better benefits, have to contribute more and more and more money.

Defined benefit plans can work, Malloy said, as long as both workers and their government employers are responsible and set up a sustainable system. Analogous entities exist in the private sector, he said—they're called annuities, and no one is calling for the end of those.

Malloy is confident that he can convince his constituents of the value of his budget. He's traveling around all of Connecticut spreading his message in town hall meetings. He distinguished his approach from that of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie,  "I'm rather invested in developing a consensus," Malloy said. But success is defined by both governors similarly—passing a budget of their liking on time.

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Governor Dan Malloy

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Comments [7]

smhaig from Deep River, Ct.

I am from Deep River, Ct. The legislature just passed a bill that would swap state land in Haddam, Ct. that overlooks the Connecticut River, a beautiful view, and sold to the state for the purpose of public recreation for a piece of forest land (not as desirable) that developers own so they can put up a hotel, shops and a theatre. There was an article in the WSJ and several editorials against this by the Hartford Courant. Numerous environmental groups across the state are furious at this precedent setting vote and blame the Governor and his new DEP commissioner for allowing this to go thru.

Jun. 15 2011 10:19 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Brian, did you just say some people are calling Gov. Malloy the Anti-Christie?

Actually, it's the lack of name-calling I'm glad to hear from any politician in today's political climate. It's good to hear anyone can get elected governor having taken these positions.

Mar. 08 2011 10:26 AM
Ann Hall Every, CCP from Forest Hills, NY

CT is not unique - Hawaii, now has a D. Governor and 2 D. Senators

Mar. 08 2011 10:24 AM
Ann Hall Every, CCP from Forest Hills, NY

CT is not unique - Hawaii, now has a D. Governor and 2 D. Senators

Mar. 08 2011 10:23 AM
Kitty Graves from Westport

After he was elected, the new governor of CT announced that he likes to be called Dannel

Mar. 08 2011 10:19 AM
Jeff Pappas from Ct.

Welcome Gov Malloy,
Last year the state of Ct Repaved parts of rt 2 between Colchester and Norwich, this Highway was fine, no major holes etc, All that happened was it was new Black tarmac over older good conditioned gray tarmac
A huge waste of $ it was part of the America recovery act !
Seems like some contractors made some $ but we did not need it !

Mar. 08 2011 10:16 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

As a New Yorker, I respectfully say "Thank you Governor! With your tax increases, you are making Connecticut less attractive to potential escapees from our state, both for businesses and taxpayers."

Dan Malloy (promoted in the election as a "different kind of Democrat") may have been elected Governor of Connecticut, but with his unwise decision to play the usual Democratic melody of raising taxes toward the level of his bankrupt neighbors in New York and New Jersey.....he is eliminating the advantage that was the basis for so many relocations in the past. I remember when Connecticut had no state income tax and much lower ancillary taxes. What's next.... lavish lifetime public union retirement benefits starting at age 40?
Thank you, Gov...keep working hard for the people of New York!!!!!!

Mar. 08 2011 08:56 AM

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