SENATOR EQUATES BEING REPUBLICAN WITH BEING A “MINORITY”

Earlier this week during the legislature’s Judiciary committee hearings on Gov. Rell’s judicial nominees, some committee members—particularly members of the Black and Hispanic Caucus—expressed concern about the lack of diversity in the group of would-be Superior Court judges (they are all white).

In curious if not outright insensitive remarks, Ranking Member Sen. John Kissel (R-Enfield) said, in essence, that he knew what it was like to be a “minority” because he is a Republican (in a General Assembly with strong Democratic majorities).

Kissel, not known as a bomb-thrower and in fact gets plenty of political cover from his caucus in election years, stuck his foot in his mouth big time. The Shad is not usually super-sensitive to these types of things. But such a comparison he made about an issue as important as diversity is out of line. Kissel and his party can do something about it if they don’t like being “minorities”—win some more elections. And it’s highly doubtful Republicans have had to deal with issues similar to those of true minorities in the state. Kissel owes minorities in Connecticut an apology.

The remarks can be seen via CT-N’s “On Demand” at: http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/ondemand.asp

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Efforts to address the state’s budget deficit have hit a major snag. And not surprisingly, the hang-up is between the Rell administration and the state employee unions. Just what happened is in serious dispute but it centers around Rell’s proposed early retirement incentive program (ERIP).

Union leaders say they simply asked for some fiscal analysis of this new ERIP to see how the workforce would be affected and how much money would be saved. They claim the administration couldn’t or wouldn’t provide the information and that Rell’s representatives stormed out of the meeting. The administration claims the unions made it clear they were not interested in the new ERIP.

Whatever happened does not bode well for the process although it should be noted that it would be completely out of character for Rell budget chief Bob Genuario to “storm out of” anything.

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Legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle are still reviewing Gov. Rell’s rather novel plan to address the rest of the budget deficit. The state is in the red to the tune of more than $700 million in 2011 and $3 billion in 2012.

The governor’s plan would allow the state to reject securitization—the selling off of revenue streams for an up-front payment. Rell wants to create a quasi-public agency to oversee Bradley International Airport. That would generate an additional $25 million per year for the state. Bradley would essentially be run like a port authority.

Rell is also calling for borrowing money at 3 percent, rather than 4 percent. In addition, the borrowed money would be repaid in 7 years instead of 10 years, saving the state money.

Money is also coming from a charge on electric bills, the Energy Conservation and Load Management Fund, and the Renewable Energy Investment Fund all of which has clean energy advocates very unhappy.

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Former Congressman Sam Gejdenson has endorsed Ned Lamont for governor. And no one cares.

In all seriousness, is there any Democrat in the state who will vote for Lamont because Gejdenson is backing him? Of course not. And that’s true of most endorsements and this one in particular because Gejdenson has an ax to grind with top-tier candidate Dan Malloy. See: http://blogs.courant.com/capitol_watch/2010/04/former-us-rep-sam-gejdenson.html