BYSIEWICZ GRILLED BUT IT’S STILL UP TO THE JUDGE

She’s never tried a case (except in small claims), rarely has even set foot in a courthouse, does not do any legal research and when she did advise in anything of a legal nature as secretary of state, she did not identify herself as a lawyer.

All of this was contained in transcripts released by the attorney general’s office under the freedom of information statute. It was part of a videotaped deposition given by Susan Bysiewicz in her effort of get a judge to rule she is qualified to run for and serve as attorney general. State statue requires the attorney general be a lawyer with at least 10 years of “active practice.” It gives no definition of “active practice.” Absent a ruling that she did have the 10 years, she’d like the statute to be declared unconstitutional.

At first blush, the deposition may seem embarrassing to Bysiewicz, but in the long run it may prove valuable. She was being peppered while under oath, by a lawyer for the state Republican party. One needs to see the actual video, not just the transcripts, to see how it actually all played out. But if Bysiewicz can weather this storm and somehow get into the general election for AG, she is set up nicely for an “I took on the good ol’ boys network trying to keep me, a woman, down anyway they can—and I won” strategy. Keep in mind the public seems to care very little about this right now. She still had a healthy lead in the last Q-poll.

The Shad’s read on this (while not a lawyer) is that the judge finds the statute requiring the 10 years of “active practice” to be unconstitutional. It’s arbitrary (why not five years? Or eleven? Or nine?) And it’s incredibly vague. What exactly constitutes “active practice?” Not to mention it’s inconsistent. One doesn’t have to be a CPA to be comptroller or treasurer. In fact, one doesn’t even have to be a lawyer to be a probate judge in Connecticut (that changes soon).

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The legislature’s tax-writing Finance Committee has come up with what are sure to be unpopular ways to raise revenue to address current and future budget deficits. First is a new hospital gross receipts tax of 5.5 %. The tax would be temporary and would supposedly end in 2014.

All hospitals would be pay the tax, but they would also get money back for patients who can’t pay. City hospitals with large numbers of non-paying patients would receive more money back than suburban hospitals where more people are covered by insurance.

The bill also increases the estate tax to the point where the state would have the unfortunate distinction of having the highest estate tax in the nation. The tax is currently paid only by the heirs of estates worth more than $3.5 million. The committee called for a rate increase above that level, with the maximum rate reaching 20% above $10 million. Currently, the estate tax has nine rates, and the maximum rate is 12 percent. The new plan would increase all nine rates.