John J. Ryan, a former Republican state representative, and Joshua Fisher, Hersam Acorn’s audience engagement director, share their back-and-forth about news going on around Connecticut, among other items of interest.
Ryan: The mercury is rising like Connecticut’s deficit as the new state budget starts to take effect across the Nutmeg State. And our intrepid editor (or properly “audience engagement director” — whatever that means) chose Detroit as the place to visit on his summer vacation. Has Connecticut gotten that bad?
Fisher: Detroit is an amazing city — that has seen what bad governing, a bad economy and a lot of other problems can combine to cause a catastrophe — making a comeback. It’s a place with a lot of hope right now.
Can you remember the last time you drove through Bridgeport and felt hope? Or the last time you read a story about Connecticut that made you feel optimistic?
There are better reasons to move to Detroit than to Bridgeport or Hartford these days — despite the new Hartford Yard Goats hats. One of them is cost of living continues to increase here — along with the taxes as the governor cares more about the state unions than he does about you. The “real value of $100” in Connecticut is worth $92.17; the same $100 is worth $106.16 in Michigan. See: “The Real Value of $100 in Each State” (taxfoundation.org).
Detroit is now out of bankruptcy, which was the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Connecticut continues to balance its cities’ budgets on the backs of its suburban taxpayers — those who are left. And while Motown still has a far way to go. It appears it can only go up. Back here in Connecticut, you can’t even see how far the Nutmeg State and its struggling cities still have to fall before the state figures out another way to do things.
While I was away, I saw that Hartford’s homicide rate continued to climb. See: “Man Shot and Killed in Hartford’s 19th Homicide of 2015” (courant.com).
Maybe Hartford and state officials, who have backed the boondoggle that is a new minor league baseball stadium for those Yard Goats think that will encourage the murderers to move to New Britain — the Connecticut city they stole the team from.
Ryan: Keep in mind that Hartford (and each of Connecticut’s “big cities”) got more than $200 million this year (and every year) in the recently passed budget, and they have “sold most of the city’s assets to cover (their) budget needs, and there is still a projected shortfall next year.” See: “Luke Bronin Wins Hartford Democrats’ Endorsement For Mayor After Pedro Segarra Walks Out” (courant.com).
And we’ll always have Bridgeport! See: “Malloy won’t comment on felon Ganim’s candidacy for mayor” — who lost at the city caucus but is planning a primary run — (journalinquirer.com). And Ken Dixon’s “An engine of the state stuck in neutral” at CTPost.com, which notes that whether you like it or not, thanks to the state’s new sales tax, we are all “business partners” with the Park City.
Fisher: Of course, such interesting details are not limited to Bridgeport and Hartford. Have you noticed what is happening in my city? “The City that Works” has been losing workers. See: “Stamford: the shadow of a corporate giant” (StamfordAdvocate.com). It could have something to do with this data story the Advocate picked up: “Bloomberg News: Connecticut residents are fleeing.”
Ryan: Of course, we (and this publications’ parent company, Hersam Acorn) are still here, bravely trudging on for some reason.
Don’t forget we told you so (a while ago): “Toll fight on the horizon” (ctpost.com); and are you surprised at “Unnoticed Legislation Converts 32 Merit-System Employees Into Political Appointees” (courant.com).
Fisher: All of this ugliness could make Connecticut the star of a bad reality show.It’s tough to make up the absurdity that is the Connecticut state budget and its “revenue enhancements.” There’s now “A state tax on a state fee? Seriously?” (theday.com).
Ryan: There are no such things as good reality shows. But don’t die yet. Because “Connecticut Is Most Expensive Place To Die In U.S.” (AP.org).
Have you called your friendly local lawyer to review your estate planning lately?
Fisher: Forget a lawyer, I’m looking for a Realtor.
John J. Ryan is of counsel to the Fairfield County law firm Russo & Assoc., and served 14 years as Darien and Rowayton’s state representative — and has been writing this column for Hersam Acorn even longer. Joshua Fisher was an editor with Hersam Acorn for 12 years. He is now the company’s audience engagement director.