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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bipartisan Budget Would Tax Teachers, Working Poor and Smokers

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokas


Republican leaders have agreed to raise taxes as part of the bipartisan budget framework announced Wednesday, sources say, with several of the levies hitting what typically are seen as Democratic constituencies: public school teachers, the working poor and smokers.

Sources close to the state budget talks told CT Mirror that Republicans, who relented last month on their no-tax stance to vote for a budget that raised taxes on hospitals and hit the working poor by reducing the earned income tax credit, are being asked to also raise cigarette taxes and impose a special levy on teachers.

Both parties also have discussed raising income taxes on the middle class by reducing the property tax credit. And sources said the deal would restrict access to that $200 credit, making it available only to the elderly and to households with dependents.

Whose constituencies will pay more taxes or give up more services to help end Connecticut’s 16-week budget impasse is certain to be part of the closed-door discussions that will begin today when House leaders present the details to the Democratic and Republican caucuses. The two Senate caucuses are to meet Monday, with the hope of voting a budget later in the week.

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10/19/17 11:06 AM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gallery: Candidates Meet & Mingle

Scenes from tonight’s Candidates Meet and Mingle at the barn at the Westport Country Playhouse sponsored by Facebook groups Front Porch and WestportMoms. J.C. Martin for WestportNow.com


10/18/17 10:24 PM Comments () • Permalink

Legislators Announce Tentative, Bipartisan Budget Deal

By Keith M. Phaneuf, Mark Pazniokas, and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas


State legislative leaders declared today they had crafted the framework of a bipartisan deal to end Connecticut’s 110-day budget impasse, while conceding some key details, including distribution of town aid, remained to be resolved.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who was not a party to the talks, expressed skepticism that the talks had produced a deal that would survive close scrutiny of rank-and-file lawmakers or his administration.

Anticipating the skepticism by Malloy and others in light of the dearth of details released by the lawmakers, Senate Republican leader Len Fasano of North Haven said the story of the day was how far the bipartisan talks had come, not what work remains.

“A lot of people said, ‘You won’t get there.’ And we did,” Fasano said.

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10/18/17 06:00 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

GOP Pension Reforms Dropped as CT Leaders Aim for Budget Deal Wednesday

By Keith M. Phaneuf


State legislative leaders say they need a tentative, bipartisan deal by midafternoon Wednesday to keep alive their hopes of adopting a new state budget next week.

And if there is a bipartisan deal, it won’t include a hotly contested GOP proposal to cut state employee pension benefits in 2027 and reap big savings now.

Leaders were cautious not to predict success or failure, but lawmakers from both parties said that, while some key issues remain to be resolved, much progress has been made.

“I think the last week has been the most productive in this building that we’ve had all year long,” said House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby. “And the conclusion will be the conclusion. I think we all have hope that we can come to an agreement on something that’s best for the state.”

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10/17/17 07:55 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, October 16, 2017

Malloy Counters With Lean, No-Frills, No-Nonsense’ Budget

By Keith M. Phaneuf, Mark Pazniokas, and Jacqueline Rabe Thomas


In a bid to end Connecticut’s budget stalemate and persuade legislators to abandon a legally questionable deferral of contributions to the state’s underfunded pension system, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today unveiled his fourth budget proposal for the new biennium. It asks lawmakers to reduce tax increases by accepting deeper cuts to town aid, education and social services.

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy outlines his budget revisions. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Pazniokas for CTMirror.org

The governor’s new plan would reduce spending by an additional $144 million, over this fiscal year and next combined, compared to a budget endorsed by Malloy and Democratic legislative leaders that fell short of passage when a three Democrats in the Senate and five in the House balked and voted for a GOP version.

Malloy’s revisions to the September plan maintain emergency relief for distressed municipalities by including a revised formula for redistributing education aid. It still shifts funding from wealthy communities to poorer ones, but not to the degree originally sought by the governor.

“This is a lean, no-frills, no-nonsense budget,” Malloy said. “Our goals were simple in putting this plan together: eliminate unpopular tax increases, incorporate ideas from both parties, and shrink the budget and its accompanying legislation down to their essential parts. It is my sincere hope this document will aid the General Assembly in passing a budget that I can sign into law.”

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10/16/17 03:23 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Shut Out of Budget Talks, Malloy Takes a Stroll — to Visit the Press

By Mark Pazniokas and Keith M. Phaneuf


The languid pace of Connecticut’s bipartisan legislative budget talks prompted Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to stretch his legs today. Trailed by staff and security, Malloy strode from his second floor office to a fourth floor landing outside the press room at the other end of the State Capitol. It was his second visit in as many days.

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It was all smiles after the budget talks ended for Democratic Sen. Martin Looney (l) and Republican Sen. Len Fasano. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Keith M. Phaneuf for CTMirror.org.

Shut out of the negotiations for a week, the governor is doing his talking through the press, simultaneously reminding public and politicians of his parameters for a deal to end the impasse that has left the state without a budget since July 1. Malloy praised legislators for working and chided them for not coming to a deal.

He noted they talked for more than two hours.

“These are good people. I’m not casting aspersions on any leader. I suppose what I’m doing is taking a moment to address some frustrations people must be feeling in their homes around Connecticut tonight,” said Malloy, a Democrat trying to pass his fourth and final two-year budget. “I’m not scolding anyone; I’m stating the obvious.”

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10/12/17 09:34 PM Comments () • Permalink

First Selectman Candidates Square Off at Library Debate

By James Lomuscio

How to keep Westport’s retail and overall business community vibrant in the wake of local and state fiscal challenges was the thrust of today’s first selectman candidates’ debate at the Westport Library.

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Taking part in the debate were (l-r) Unaffiliated candidate T. J. Elgin, Democrat Melissa Kane,  moderator Jay Sandak, Republican incumbent Jim Marpe, and independent John F. Suggs. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC) the forum drew more than 100 persons to the library’s large reading room at midday to hear solutions offered by each of the four candidates.

They were: First Selectman Jim Marpe, the Republican incumbent seeking a second term; Democratic challenger Melissa Kane, a member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM); RTM member John F. Suggs, who is running as an independent; and unaffiliated candidate Timothy J. Elgin.

Attorney Jay Sandak of the New Haven-based firm Carmody, Torrance, Sandak & Hennessey, was moderator, serving up WWCC and audience questions on how to maintain a healthy business climate in Westport.

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10/12/17 07:22 PM Comments () • Permalink

Keeping Track of Absentee Ballots

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The Westport Town Clerk’s office has received 108 absentee ballots to date in advance of the Tuesday, Nov. 7 election, according to Deputy Town Clerk Ruth Cavayero (above). Town Clerk Patricia Strauss said absentee ballots would be accepted until 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6 with a special office opening on Saturday, Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. to noon. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


10/12/17 12:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Campaign Donations for Selectman Candidates Filed with State

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE The monies raised by each of the four Westport candidates for first selectman over the past three months ranged from 0 to more than $67,000 in total receipts.

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The major party selectman candidates got together at a recent League of Women Voters of Westport lunch. They are (l-r) Democrats Rob Simmelkjaer and Melissa Kane, and Republicans Jim Marpe and Jennifer Tooker. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Democrat Melissa Kane and running mate Rob Simmelkjaer’s contributions were more than double that of incumbent Republican Jim Marpe and running mate Jennifer Tooker.

The amounts tallied from July 1 to Sept. 30 were posted Tuesday, the deadline for each candidates to submit his or her itemized campaign finance disclosure statements to the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC).

Kane, a Representative Town Meeting (RTM) member, had the lion’s share of donations with $61,559 in contributions from individuals, $5,416 from committees and $67,035.27 in total receipts.

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10/11/17 08:39 PM Comments () • Permalink

Malloy Warns He Would Veto a Budget That Defers Pension Contributions

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokas


Gov. Dannel P. Malloy warned legislators today that he would veto any state budget — even one enacted with bipartisan support — if it is riddled with the same gimmicks he rejected two weeks ago.

“I think that people would be making a mistake if they totally ignored my veto message,” Malloy told reporters. “But on the other hand, a veto can be overridden, and I’m well aware of that. But I can assure you that threat won’t cause me to change my values or the like.”

Malloy also expressed doubt that legislative leaders were close to a bipartisan deal, even though House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, expressed optimism Tuesday at a news conference with Republican and Senate Democratic leaders. The governor smiled and said the body language didn’t signal agreement to him.

Aresimowicz indicated that any bipartisan deal probably would include several Republican proposals that the governor and his fellow Democrats in the legislature decried just a few weeks ago.

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10/11/17 04:07 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, October 09, 2017

Chamber Hosts First Selectman Candidates’ Debate Thursday

Westport business issues will be the thrust of a first selectman candidates’ debate set for Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at in the Westport Library’s McManus room.

Sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC), the debate will feature four candidates for the top job: First Selectman Jim Marpe, the Republican incumbent; Democratic challenger Melissa Kane, a Representative Town Meeting (RTM) member; RTM member John Suggs, who is running as an Independent; and Timothy J. Elgin, who is unaffiliated.

Attorney Jay Sandak of the New Haven-based firm Carmody, Torrance, Sandak & Hennessey is set to serve as moderator, according to Matthew Mandell, WWCC executive director.

“These debates give both our business community and our residents a chance to hear specific answers to issues that concern them,” said Mandell. “We look to create a clash of positions in these debates and work to bring out fresh ideas from those who expect to lead us over the next few years.”

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10/09/17 02:46 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Absentee Ballots Available

Town Clerk Patricia Strauss has announced that absentee ballots for the municipal election to be held Nov 7, are available at the Town Clerk’s office,

Office hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed Monday, Columbus Day.)

Registered electors may qualify for the following reasons: active service in the armed forces of the United States; illness or physical disability; religious tenets, which forbid secular activity on the day of the election; duties as an election official at the polling place other than their own during all of the hours of voting, and absence from the town during all of the hours of voting.

Application for a ballot can be requested in person at the Town Clerk’s office located in Room 105 at the Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Ave, or by calling (203)341-1110.  The application is also available online by downloading the form at http://www.westportct.gov/index.aspx?page=1052.


10/07/17 01:26 PM Comments () • Permalink

Friday, October 06, 2017

An Unlikely Postscript to Two Expensive, Bitter Campaigns

By Mark Pazniokas


The oversized black SUV glided to a stop today outside Express Kitchens, a cabinet maker off I-91 in Hartford’s industrial North Meadows. Out popped Linda McMahon. Waiting was a smiling Richard Blumenthal, a man she branded a liar in a $50 million campaign for U.S. Senate in 2010.

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Linda McMahon and her erstwhile enemies, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, touring a factory in Hartford today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) CTMirror.org photo

“Nice to see you!” McMahon said. “Where is Sen. Murphy?”

That would be Chris Murphy, the man McMahon opposed two years later, also at a cost of $50 million. In that campaign, McMahon questioned Murphy’s ethics.

“He is coming,” replied Blumenthal.

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10/06/17 08:16 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Malloy: Budget Standoff is Putting New CT Jobs at Risk

By Keith M. Phaneuf


The state’s 14-week budget impasse is taking a toll on Connecticut’s economic development efforts, putting thousands of potential new jobs at risk, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said today.

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy addresses reporters today. Keith M. Phaneuf for CTMirror.org

The governor also gave a sobering update on budget talks, saying Democratic and Republican legislators remain “hundreds of millions of dollars” apart in their competing visions of how to close huge projected deficits.

“We’re going to lose thousands of jobs” if legislators cannot agree on a new budget for this fiscal year and next, Malloy told Capitol reporters during a midafternoon briefing.

The governor said his administration is in discussions with “a number” of companies “that want to enlarge their footprint or move to our state.”

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10/05/17 07:02 PM Comments () • Permalink

Westport’s Obsitnik Announces Run for Governor

Promising to turn around moving vans leaving Connecticut, Westporter Steve Obsitnik officially announced his campaign for governor today.

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Steve Obsitnik: “My approach will be far different.” Contributed photo

He also assailed Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget veto as “creating another manufactured budget crisis for Connecticut families and small businesses.”

“For years, our state has been ill-served by the career politicians in Hartford,” said Obsitnik, a Republican. “Even now, we have an ineffective, incapable governor unwilling to lead or work toward real solutions.

“The people I’ve met with all say, ‘Enough is enough,’” added Obsitnik, a Navy veteran and high-tech business entrepreneur. “Families and job creators are crying out for bold new leadership with fresh ideas and solutions, not the same warmed over policies that protect the status quo in Hartford, while we foot the bill.”

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10/05/17 05:41 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

No Budget Progress Amid a Day of Political Theater

By Mark Pazniokas and Keith M. Phaneuf


Connecticut’s budget drama continued today with two plot twists: the failure of the House to override the veto of a Republican-authored budget, followed by a Democratic challenge for the GOP to accept a legally suspect measure to temporarily stabilize public services while continuing negotiations.

The first was preordained, the second unexpected. Neither substantially advanced the slowly unfolding story of a state in fiscal chaos, where a Democratic lame-duck governor and a closely divided General Assembly have failed to agree on a budget for a fiscal year that opened July 1 and is now one-quarter gone.

After a brief meeting with legislative leaders at day’s end, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told reporters the search for middle ground on the budget would continue. He said, “I think everyone in the room realizes that we need to get a budget and we need to get it sooner rather than later.”

The governor added there is a recognition that the chances of getting any new budget enacted this month grow slim after Oct. 13 because of legislative scheduling challenges.

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10/03/17 07:50 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, October 02, 2017

Murphy Calls Fellow Lawmakers ‘Cowards’ on Gun Control After Las Vegas Shooting

By Ana Radelat


WashingtonUPDATE Connecticut Democrats today were among the first to renew calls for Congress to act on gun control after a mass shooting in Las Vegas late Sunday left at least 58 dead and more than 500 wounded.

The attack by a lone suspect, Stephen Paddock, 64, considered the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, fueled a new round of calls for stricter federal gun control measures, pitting those who want more restrictions in place against staunch defenders of Americans’ right to carry firearms.

“It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren’t public policy responses to this epidemic,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., in a statement. “There are, and the thoughts and prayers of politicians are cruelly hollow if they are paired with continued legislative indifference. It’s time for Congress to get off its ass and do something.”

Murphy also tweeted, “To my colleagues: your cowardice to act cannot be whitewashed by thoughts and prayers.”

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10/02/17 01:37 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Westport Republicans Hold Open House

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The Westport Republican Town Committee’s held an open house today at its campaign headquarters at 170 Post Road West. Among those in attendance were First Selectman Jim Marpe, Selectman candidate Jen Tooker, Board of Finance candidates Andrea Moore and Vik Muktavaram, Board of Education members Karen Kleine and Jeannie Smith, and Zoning Board of Appeals candidate Tom Hood. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo


10/01/17 07:17 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Malloy Vetoes Budget, Seeks ‘Honest Dialogue’

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokas


Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today delivered on his vow to veto the Republican budget unexpectedly passed with a handful of Democratic votes.

He called it a gimmick-laden measure that would consign Hartford to bankruptcy, devastate public higher education, invite certain lawsuits from state employees and add to Connecticut’s pension liabilities.

“In sum, this budget is unbalanced, unsustainable and unwise,” Malloy wrote in his message.

The veto came as the state was wrapping its 13th week without a budget, continuing an impasse that Malloy says could continue indefinitely if not resolved in the next two weeks.

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09/28/17 12:18 PM Comments () • Permalink

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Selectman Candidates Talk Taxes, Traffic, Affordable Housing, and State’s Woes

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Candidates (l-r)  Timothy Elgin, Melissa Kane, Jim Marpe and John Suggs at tonight’s event. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) James Lomuscio for WestportNow.com

By James Lomuscio

The four candidates for Westport first selectman – incumbent Republican First Selectman Jim Marpe, Democratic challenger Melissa Kane, Independent John Suggs and unaffiliated Timothy J. Elgin – didn’t square off tonight at Temple Israel.

Instead, they introduced themselves, trying to convince the approximate 60 persons in attendance at the forum how they would navigate the town through the challenging times ahead—fiscal uncertainty from Hartford, promoting the town’s business vitality, solving traffic congestion, the need for affordable housing, maintaining a stellar school system and keeping taxes down.

The event was cosponsored by the Saugatuck Congregational Church, the Conservative Synagogue and the United Methodist, as well as Temple Israel.

“I think it’s important for religious institutions in town to play a role in the political process, to have people of faith come together to hear the candidates and be part of the conversation during this election process,” Temple Israel’s Rabbi Michael Friedman said before the forum started. “Absolutely we should be involved in the principles that define our community and the nation.”

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09/27/17 10:48 PM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

In-Person Voter Registration Set for Oct. 3

UPDATE An in-person, voter registration session designed to add new voters to the official voter list and to complete a preliminary one is set for Tuesday, Oct. 3.

The session will take place at Town Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Registrars of Voters announced today.

Kevin White, Republican Registrar of Voters, and Marla Cowden, Democratic Registrar of Voters, also listed the following voting places open on Election Day, Nov. 7, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

They are: Saugatuck Elementary School for Representative Town Meeting (RTM) Districts 1 and 2; Coleytown Middle School for RTM Districts 3 and 8; Greens Farms Elementary School for RTM Districts 4 and 5; Long Lots Elementary School for RTM Districts 6 and 7; and Town Hall auditorium for RTM District 9, a temporary change from previous years due to construction at the Westport Library.

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09/26/17 02:25 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, September 24, 2017

LWV Hosts Fall Brunch

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Sheila Ward (r), president of the League of Women Voters of Westport, today addresses candidates and guests at the group’s annual fall brunch. Many of those running for office showed up for the event at a private residence in the Coleytown area. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


09/24/17 02:02 PM Comments () • Permalink

Thursday, September 21, 2017

GOP, Dems Both Lack Solution to CT’s Cycle of Budget Deficits

By Keith M. Phaneuf


Despite their many disagreements over how the next state budget should look, Republican and Democratic legislators have one key element in common.

Neither of their respective plans would spare Connecticut from grappling with another massive budget deficit two years from now.

The legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis says the two-year budget crafted by Republican legislators and passed in the House and Senate late last week would balance the state’s books this fiscal year and next — wiping out a $3.5 billion deficit in the process.

But that same plan, unless adjusted, would run $3.31 billion in the red between 2019 and 2021.

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09/21/17 10:40 AM Comments () • Permalink

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Westport Democrats Open Election HQ

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Melissa Kane (l) Democratic candidate for first selectman, with other candidates at her side, addresses supporters tonight at the official opening of the Westport Democratic Town Committee (DTC) election headquarters at 1757 Post Road East opposite Stop & Shop. She and other party leaders said the key to a Democratic victory in November is turning out Democratic voters who normally do not vote in municipal elections.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo


09/19/17 09:16 PM Comments () • Permalink

Himes: ‘My Head Buzzing’ Over Trump U.N. Speech

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U.S. Rep. Jim Himes today told a meeting of the Westport Rotary Club that “the political environment in Washington today is utter upheaval, confusion, and unpredictability.” Referring to President Trump’s U.N. speech today, he said, “I’m walking around my head buzzing a little bit because going in front of the General Assembly and threatening to destroy a country indicates an absence of prudence in the enormous (war-making) power the president has.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com


09/19/17 02:45 PM Comments () • Permalink

Monday, September 18, 2017

Malloy: It’s Time for ‘the Courage to Compromise’ on Connecticut’s Budget

By Keith M. Phaneuf


Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today reaffirmed his opposition to the new state budget, arguing it would raid the pension funds, decimate higher education and leave the City of Hartford vulnerable to fiscal insolvency.

And while the Democratic governor urged all sides to compromise — and said he probably would have to accept some GOP proposals he opposes — Malloy also said he would not accept a plan to scale back scheduled payments into the state employees’ pension fund.

“This is serious hard work to put the state back in balance with respect to its unfunded, long-term obligations,” Malloy told reporters. “And what do we get? We get an invitation to make it worse.”

That “invitation,” according to the governor, was included in the two-year budget that the Senate and House approved on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

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09/18/17 07:33 PM Comments () • Permalink

MGM Pitches Bridgeport Casino as Feds Delay Tribes’ Expansion

By Mark Pazniokas


Bridgeport UPDATE MGM Resorts International launched a glitzy new campaign today to expand into Connecticut, an effort that curiously coincides with the Trump administration, at least temporarily, halting the state’s two federally recognized tribes’ from building a casino in East Windsor to compete with a new MGM resort in Springfield, Massachusetts.

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Mayors Toni Harp of New Haven and Joseph Ganim of Bridgeport talk to MGM CEO James Murren. At left, Uri Clinton of MGM.(CLICK TO ENLARGE) CtMirror.org photo

The Nevada-based gaming giant, after telling legislators for two years they would be foolish to approve the tribes’ plan without an open competition, now is seeking legislation in special session granting it exclusive rights to build a waterfront casino resort in Bridgeport, a gateway to the lucrative New York City gambling market.

“We’ve spent time, we’ve invested money, and we’ve come up with partners that will give them the best project, a project that really is shovel-ready, a project that really is already funded, a project that really already has partners and momentum,” said Uri Clinton, a counsel and senior vice president at MGM.

Led by James Murren, the Bridgeport-born chairman and chief executive of MGM, the company demonstrated its political support at a waterside news conference attended by legislators, Mayors Joseph P. Ganim of Bridgeport and Toni Harp of New Haven, union members and a local partner who owns the site, Robert W. Christoph.

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09/18/17 07:05 PM Comments () • Permalink

MGM Announces Plan for Bridgeport Casino Complex

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A rendering of the MGM Bridgeport casino complex.Contributed photo

Almost 15 years after former Westport First Selectwoman Diane Farrell led a Fairfield County coalition opposing a casino in Bridgeport, the possibility of gambling in the state’s largest city took on a new life today.

MGM Resorts International announced ambitious plans for a $675 million casino and entertainment complex in Bridgeport’s Steelpointe Harbor area that it said would create thousands of jobs.

The announcement came despite current state law that bars building a casino in Bridgeport as gaming is currently limited to the two federal Indian reservations. However, the General Assembly has approved a plan for a third casino in East Windsor that would be jointly operated by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes.

That did not seem to dissuade MGM Chairman and Chief Executive Office James Murren, a Bridgeport native, from announcing his plan.

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09/18/17 01:34 PM Comments () • Permalink

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Dems’ Solution to Combat Alt-Right: Win Elections

There was a packed Westport Library audience today for a Democratic Women of Westport forum on “How to Fight the Alt-Right” featuring U.S. Rep. Jim Himes and social media political specialist Melissa Ryan.

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U.S. Rep. Jim Himes addresses today’s forum while fellow panelist Melissa Ryan and moderator Rob Simmelkjaer listen. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

With Rob Simmelkjaer, running mate of Melissa Kane for first selectman on the Democratic ticket, moderating the discussion, Himes said the emergence of the alternative right movement “has upturned politics in Washington.”

“President Trump is not a Nazi though he is on the alt-right spectrum,” he said.

The Democrat, who is serving his fifth term and is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the alt-right movement has resulted in the “shunting aside” of the Republican Party, minimizing the influence of leaders such as House Speaker Paul Ryan.

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09/17/17 06:01 PM Comments () • Permalink

Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Surprising Day Ends With GOP Budget Heading to Malloy — For a Veto

By Keith M. Phaneuf


Republican legislators sent their first state budget proposal to the governor’s desk in decades early today, capping a strange day that didn’t move Connecticut any closer to a new fiscal plan, but raised new questions about the balance of power at the Capitol.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy already had pledged to veto the GOP budget hours before it cleared the House by a 77-73 vote shortly before 3:15 a.m.

Meanwhile, leaders from both parties left the Capitol resigned to resume bipartisan talks in hopes of reaching a deal before a series of fiscal calamities strike in two weeks.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said Republican caucuses that have felt overlooked in too many budget debates in recent history, have a key role to play in crafting that final agreement.

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09/16/17 03:48 AM Comments () • Permalink

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