Monday, April 22, 2024



Comings & Goings: PPG Paint Store Closing Image
The PPG Paint Store, 413 Post Road East in the Compo Shopping Center, will close at the end of the month according to store manager Bill Hagan (above). He said the location has been the site of a series of paint stores for more than 20 years, starting as Brandman Paints in 1994 followed by Painter’s Supply in 2003 and then PPG three or four years ago. Longtime Westporter Katie J. Phillis, who shares space and rent with PPG, said she would now have to move her wallpaper/design business to her Westport home. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Ray Dalios’s ‘Principles’ in Bookstores Image
The book “Principles: Life and Work,” authored by Ray Dalio, founder of Westport-based Bridgewater Associates, was released today to bookstores, including Barnes & Noble, 1076 Post Road East. Dalio is one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs.  According to the book flyer, “the book shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined, and used over the past 40 years to create unique results in both life and business—and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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.

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. Image
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) 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.

MGM Announces Plan for Bridgeport Casino Complex Image
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.

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.

Democratic Budget Fails in Dramatic Senate Vote

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokas

Connecticut’s state budget grew exponentially more complicated today as three moderate Senate Democrats bolted their caucus and teamed with 18 Republicans to pass a GOP budget plan that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has vowed to veto as unbalanced and gimmick-ridden.

Not only did the vote derail what Democrats saw in their best chance in months to end the budget impasse, but it raised questions about whether Democrats still have a working majority in the upper chamber. A chastened Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, said, “That remains to be seen.”

With the Senate evenly divided, Democrats’ only edge has been ability of the presiding officer, Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, to break 18-18 votes in favor of the Democrats. Today, that advantage failed in the stunning defection of Democrats Paul Doyle of Wethersfield, Gayle Slossberg of Milford and Joan Hartley of Waterbury.

Bolstered by the defections, the Senate voted 21-15 to adopt the Republican plan, which now heads to the House of Representatives, where House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, is unlikely to place it before the House for a vote.

Census Says CT Still Rich, But Wage Gap Persists and Population Stagnant

By Ana Radelat

Washington – Connecticut continues to be one of the highest-income states in the nation, but its population is stagnant and may even be on the downturn, and there’s a huge gap between the incomes of white state residents and minorities.

Those were some of the latest findings of the U.S. Census Bureau, which released its latest American Community Survey today. Unlike the nationwide census conducted every 10 years, which aims to seek information from every household, the ACS is an ongoing study of demographic trends that surveys about 3.5 million Americans a year.

It showed that median income in Connecticut continues to grow and was at $73,433, the fifth highest in the nation, in 2016.

Maryland had the nation’s highest median income, $78,945, followed by Alaska, New Jersey and Hawaii.

Talking Business Image
More than 50 persons today attended the inaugural Chamber Morning Meet, a breakfast networking session conducted by the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC) at the Terrain Garden Cafe, 561 Post Road East. Matthew Mandell, WWCC executive director said, “We’re trying to give business people an opportunity to find synergies and an outlet to discuss what’s up with their company, the business climate, the town and even the state … the goal is to find how to make our town even better for business and foster new collaborations while doing so.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Bipartisan CT Budget Talks Run Out of Steam Again

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Sputtering bipartisan state budget talks, which hadn’t produced any unified plan over the past four months, appeared to have broken down for good — around the same issues that have plagued them in recent years.

Republican legislative leaders said today that their Democratic counterparts effectively ended any bipartisan talks by meeting Sunday with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy — a meeting to which the GOP wasn’t invited.

But Democratic leaders have questioned openly for months whether Republicans ever would support the hard choices needed to close major deficits in the next two-year budget. And the GOP had sharp criticism for the compromise proposal Malloy, a Democrat, unveiled on Friday.

“If you don’t invite somebody to a room to have negotiations, you can’t have negotiations,” Senate Republican leader Len Fasano of North Haven said during a mid-day press conference. “It seems to both of us they’re not interested in having those conversations anymore.”