Gov. Jodi Rell will preside over her final meeting of the State Bond Commission Friday and from hearing what’s on the agenda, there will be no shortage of new borrowing. Rell has always made state borrowing one of her biggest criticisms of the Democratic-controlled legislature but she controls what’s on the agenda and there are some big ticket items.
Some of the grants scheduled for approval:
• $81million for new rail cars for Metro North and Shoreline East commuter rails line
• $15 million in aid to cities and towns for local road repair
• $3 million to build 100 new rental cabins for the 100th anniversary of the state park system in 2013 (would it have been 150 cabins if the system was 150 years old?)
• $2.7 million for renovations to Connecticut Valley Hospital
• $500,000 to the town of Middlefield for the Powder Ridge ski area
• $400,000 for playground improvements in Hartford’s Blue Hills neighborhood
• $250,000 for a “traffic calming” program in Hartford. I humbly suggest some “shooting calming”
• $150,000 for improvements to the state police firing range
Without passing judgment on any of these projects—they are all worthy and in some cases, revenue-producing expenditures—one cannot be blamed for wondering whether this is the same state that has a budget deficit that is fast approaching $4 billion.
In January, the Bond Commission will be chaired by Gov. Dan Malloy and will consist of different members. Malloy is already inheriting a budget mess of biblical proportions. More borrowing can’t help.