RELL: NO MORE BORROWING; EXCEPT FOR BOND COMMISSION

Governor Rell has been very direct and very clear about what she will accept as far as how to plug the hole in the current state budget: no more taxes and no more borrowing. Yet on Friday, the State Bond Commission is expected to approve tens of millions of dollars for new projects. Selling bonds is basically borrowing.

The agenda for Friday’s Bond Commission meeting is not yet available but the governor, in news reports and press avails has made it clear that two well-publicized projects will be on it.

One is the $15 million for a juvenile treatment center for girls. There’s no place for troubled girls in the state since the closing of the Long Lane School. Nearly everyone agrees such a facility is needed. But neighbors and Bridgeport elected officials object to the location. Back in October, the money for the new facility was tabled at the last minute. But it’s back on Friday. Opponents from Bridgeport are expected to protest at the Bond Commission meeting.

The governor also says she is committed to borrowing $26 million to go toward the proposed New Haven-to-Springfield commuter rail line. Borrowing the money is also designed to convince the Federal Railroad Administration to dole out some of the seed money it has to Connecticut. The agency has $8 billion in seed money for new high-speed passenger rail lines.

So while the governor may tell the Democrats they may not borrow, the same does not apply to her administration.
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Republican US Senate candidate Rob Simmons continues to pick up endorsements in his effort to face Chris Dodd. This time, Simmons is crowing about getting the backing of three former GOP party chairmen—George Gallo, Chris Depino and Bob Poliner. Former chairman Bill Hamzy has already announced he backs Simmons. There is a question as to whether these and other endorsements mean Simmons is the favorite of the establishment (which hasn’t exactly knocked anything out of the park over the years) and validates Linda McMahon’s effort to be the “outsider” candidate. Either way, when it comes to filling out those little dots on election day, Simmons is the favorite.
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The conservative “tea party” movement has freshman Congressman Jim Himes in their sights in their efforts to defeat the Health Care Reform bill in Washington. “We are one vote away from killing this bill,” the Connecticut Tea Party Patriots newsletter states. “For Connecticut’s part, the only realistic chance we have of flipping a vote is Jim Himes. He is in serious trouble, with his district being rated as ‘toss up’ or ‘leans republican’ and don’t think he doesn’t know it” the Tea Party group says according to the Hartford Courant.

Activists believe they can sway Himes if they keep the pressure on. “We need you to go to his office and tell him to vote no,” the newsletter states. “It’s crunch time folks, we’ve managed to stall this thing, kill the public option and severely damage tax and spend liberal reelection chances, but it’s not over. Keep at it.’’ The Courant’s “Capitol Watch” blog reprinted part of the activists’ newsletter
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When it comes to finding a replacement for legendary US Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Republicans in Massachusetts are not just mailing it in, in the bluest of blue states. GOP candidate state Senator Scott Brown has picked up the endorsement of Republican heavyweight and former presidential candidate John McCain. Brown is a decided underdog to the Democratic candidate Attorney General Martha Coakley.