John J. Ryan, a former Republican state representative who is now of counsel to Russo & Associates law firm, and Joshua Fisher, Hersam Acorn’s audience engagement director (whatever that means), share their back-and-forth about news going on around Connecticut, among other things.
Ryan: We know that many of you are off enjoying out-of-Connecticut venues before the start of school and that fall traffic returns to Connecticut’s crumbling roads. Fortunately, the state government calendar is also dormant as the legislature is not in session, and the governor is off on junkets.
Fisher: So it’s one of the safest times to be a Connecticut taxpayer.
Ryan: Speaking of taxes, do not forget that you have a few days left for one of the few remaining perks left in the Nutmeg State: the (downsized, but still alive) late summer tax holiday. See: “Tax-Free Week has new price cap starting Sunday” (DarienTimes.com).
And in the ‘amazing-but-true’ category, there is actually a company that wants to bring jobs here, see “Sharkey fires back at Fasano after news of Amazon coming to Wallingford” (myrecordjournal.com).
Fisher: See, John, you can find good news about Connecticut; the problem is there is so little of it. (Did you read that Sunday New York Times piece on what it’s like to work for Amazon? The General Assembly could use some of that toughness.) Unlike Connecticut’s economy, the Internet giant keeps getting bigger and better. Amazon is opening sorting centers all over the country. So this good news says less about Connecticut’s business policy than it does about Amazon’s needs.
The good news is much rarer. Every week we could cite stories such as “3 New Haven-area companies propose 145 layoffs” (nhregister.com) and “Keiler & Company, Longtime Ad Agency, Closed” (courant.com) and “Colt Owner Says Company Could Run Out Of Cash Next Month” (courant.com).
Ryan: Not to worry — even though there is much more “bad news” than we have room — our politicians will continue to tout tourism as another means of fiscal salvation. See: “Hartford Mayoral Hopefuls Focus on Boosting Tourism” (courant.com).
Fisher: Tourism to what? Failed economic policies, empty streets and police chalk lines?
Ryan: Well Mr. Audience Engagement Director (whatever that means), you have been visiting venues all around the Northeast the last few weeks, we have no end of tourism options here, correct?
Fisher: Despite Connecticut’s continued crash this is still a great state live in. Particularly if you work for the state. With so many people leaving moving out of the Nutmeg State, we’re going to have to expand state government even more just to hold on to our seven Electoral Votes.
Ryan: It seems particularly good these days to work for the state. See: “1445 State Employees Failed To File State Tax Returns Despite ‘Special Duty’ To Do So” (courant.com)? And even though they are “off duty,” your elected officials are hard at work pondering innovative new ways to take more of your money; have you heard of the “mileage tax”? See “Even transportation panel’s ‘homework’ sets off a partisan furor” (CTMirror.org); or how about “Auditors criticize UConn’s award of $93K in bonuses without criteria” (ctmittor.org).
Fisher: How many of us in the real world get such cushy bonuses?
The Yankee Institute is once again pointing out why the best job to have in Connecticut is working for the state. See: “2014 Pension Data Now on CTSunlight.org: 6,301 Retired State Employees Get Millionaire-Sized Pensions” (yankeeinstitute.org). on 7.27.15 and “A Grand Renovation With A Taxpayer Cost To Match” (courant.com) — a mere $254 million to redo an old Hartford government building. So you know every single dime is going to be well spent.
Ryan: You know, if you keep up the good work, maybe we could get Hersam Acorn to get you a new chair?
Fisher: A new chair? I don’t even have an old one. Maybe we should all take a lesson from nature. Because even lobsters are leaving Connecticut. See: “As Lobster Population Shifts North, Connecticut Industry Struggles” (courant.com).
John J. Ryan is of counsel to the Fairfield County law firm Russo & Assoc., he served 14 years as Darien and Rowayton’s state representative. Joshua Fisher is a former newspaper editor.