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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

CT Awaits Obama’s Take on Familiar Topic: Inequality

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

President Obama’s expected call tonight in his State of the Union address for the nation to confront economic inequality should have a special resonance in Connecticut, a state dotted with pockets of extreme wealth, deep poverty and the nation’s worst gap in education achievement.

“Depending on your metric, Connecticut is either most unequal or one of the most unequal states in America,” said Wade Gibson, a senior fellow on fiscal issues for Connecticut Voices for Children, a nonprofit research and advocacy group. “No state in the country has grown more unequal faster.”

The political left hopes the president’s message energizes an early effort to lobby the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the General Assembly to consider novel legislation that would pressure Walmart and other major retailers to pay sharply higher wages or face state sanctions.

But the lobbying effort by the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, the Working Families Party and other members of a coalition that helped pass a first-in-the-nation state law requiring paid sick days in 2011 faces the hurdles of a short legislative session and cautious election-year politics.

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