McMAHON’S WWE CASHES IN ON STATE TAX CREDIT PROGRAM

Republican US Senate candidate Linda McMahon has positioned herself a staunch opponent of government bailouts and as a candidate who has experience creating jobs without the helping hand of government. Further, she has laid job losses in Connecticut squarely at the feet of Sen. Chris Dodd who supported President Obama’s stimulus plan.

But a closer look shows McMahon may in fact have some government help tucked away in her tights—some foreign objects, if you will— as she enters the squared circle to do [political] battle. A report in the Journal Inquirer of Manchester says WWE Inc., is in line to collect $10.4 million in state film tax credits, or millions more than previously reported.

Records provided to the Journal Inquirer under the state’s freedom of information law reveal that “WWE has submitted 13 applications under the three-year-old Connecticut Production Tax Credit Program, which allows applicants to recover 30 percent of production costs incurred here.
The company cited a total of $34.6 million in expenditures made in the state in 2007 and 2008, including $7.7 million in the first year and more than three times that amount, $26.9 million, in the second.”

The J-I says the documents show that the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism already has issued WWE $2.3 million in vouchers in connection with four of its productions in 2007.

Those credits, which were awarded eight weeks before McMahon entered the Senate race covered costs incurred by two TV shows, “Smackdown!” and “Raw,” the interactive “24/7 Videos on Demand,” and the company’s interactive Web site.

This latest report “led both Republican and Democratic opponents to pillory McMahon — who has taken a hard line against government bailouts and made much of her experience building a business ‘without the help of big government’ — for what they called her ‘stimulus package’ and ‘taxpayer-funded bailout.’” reported the J-I.

The campaign of former US Rep. Rib Simmons, the leader is the race for the nomination, seized on the new numbers and said in a new release said, “Mrs. McMahon needs to answer why she was cutting jobs at WWE within months of receiving millions in taxpayer subsidies, how much taxpayer money ultimately ended up in her pocket as a result of this windfall, if any taxpayer money is being used to fund her U.S. Senate campaign, can she assure us the programming these funds subsidized was appropriate, and finally, has she received any corporate bonuses during the period of time that WWE was receiving taxpayer funds but cutting jobs?”

Stay tuned for the “ladder match.”
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The Hanging Shad does not normally call its readers’ attention to other opinion pieces but when it goes to the very core of a potential candidate for governor’s thought process, it’s worth checking out. Noted attorney Norm Pattis in the Connecticut Law Tribune: http://www.ctlawtribune.com/getarticle.aspx?ID=35519 If Ned Lamont cannot adjust his thinking in the face or overwhelming logical reasons to so, what might that mean for the state if he’s governor?
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There are some new twists and turns—or flips and flops—on a key issue in the race to succeed Ted Kennedy as US Senator from Massachusetts. The two leading contenders, state Attorney General Martha Coakley and US Rep. Michael Capuano, both Democrats, are having at it over the Health Care Reform bill recently passed in the House.

The first salvo came from Coakley, the presumptive leader in the race who is trying to become the first female US Senator from Massachusetts. She came out against President Obama’s Health Care Reform plan because of the amendment that prohibited the expenditure of federal funds for abortion procedures. The bill passed with the votes of many pro-choice Democrats who figured either the anti-abortion portion of the bill could be fixed later or that the bill was simply too important to defeat due to that one section.

Capuano jumped on Coakley immediately and railed against her stance opposing the bill. He went so far as to say Coakley’s position was “manna from heaven” for his campaign. He did in fact vote for the bill in the House. He then did a flip-flop a line cook at IHOP would be proud of. He announced that if the bill came back from the Senate the way it passed the House, would vote against it. In effect, he channeled John Kerry by “voting for before before voting against it.”

As way of explanation, Capuano said that his first vote was merely to advance the legislation so it could be amended later, not an indication of his final political judgment. If that’s the case, why the harsh criticism of Coakley who ostensibly has the same political judgment? “If the bill comes back the same way as it left the House, I would vote against it,’’ Capuano said in an interview. “I am a pro-choice person, and I do believe this is [necessary] to provide health care for everyone.’’

Coakley’s response to Capuano’s change of heart was predictable. “We are heartened to see that Congressman Capuano has reversed his position to follow Martha Coakley’s lead and no longer will vote for health care legislation that further restricts a woman’s right to choose,’’ a campaign spokesman, Corey Welford, said in a statement.
One wonders what Ted Kennedy would think of all of this.

NOTE: The author of The Hanging Shad will be a guest this weekend on FOX 61’s “The Real Story” with host Laurie Pereze. We’ll discuss the political issues of the day. “The Real Story” airs on FOX 61 (channel 6 on most cable systems) Sunday at 10:30 am. Tune in if you can!