Chris Powell: More and more taxes to fund Conn.'s 'pension and benefit society'; roommate hate wasn't racial


What if half the effort being made by Connecticut Gov. Dannel  Malloy and the General Assembly to raise revenue for state government was put into trying to economize? For that matter, what if any effort was? 

But that is mere dreaming. The agenda of the governor and the legislature’s Democratic majority is not just to impose highway tolls, raise the gasoline tax, the sales tax, and the cigarette tax and authorize municipalities to impose their own sales tax, but also to expand casino gambling and authorize sports betting, the latter initiatives being regressive taxes, taxes that fall disproportionately on the poor, whom Democrats always profess to be serving. 

Advancing these plans last week, the Democrats overlooked the latest scandal of their administration. The University of Connecticut announced that a department head at its medical school was being demoted for not noticing that a professor had disappeared for months while still being paid his $200,000 annual salary. Police say he had been murdered by his wife. 

So the department head will lose her title and the $30,000 annual stipend that goes with it but still will be paid $300,000 in salary and another $83,000 per year in fringe benefits -- even more than is paid to the university’s “chief diversity officer,” who, at $220,000 per year, recently warned students that they might need mental health treatment if they encountered conservative political views. She was not demoted. 

It seems that the more state government raises revenue, the more oblivious it becomes to its failure to accomplish its nominal objectives, the more it functions mainly as a pension and benefit society. There is an election this year but it already seems too late.
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DUE PROCESS PREVAILS: Hartford Superior Court last week refused to let racial politics interfere with justice. A white former student at the University of Hartford was granted probation for her disgusting abuse of her former roommate, who is black, though the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People clamored to have the perpetrator charged with a hate crime. 

The former roommates plainly did hate each other but, as Hartford State’s Attorney Gail Hardy, who is black, told the court, there was no evidence that racial animus was behind the crime. The victim then concurred with the probation. 

A legal precedent that white and black college students can hate each other for reasons other than race is modest progress. That a black prosecutor refused to be demagogued by other black people into denying due process of law for a white person was heroic. 

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A SETBACK FOR BOUGHTON: Among the candidates for governor, Danbury’s nine-term Republican mayor, Mark Boughton, may be the best prepared, having also been a teacher, state legislator, and municipal association official and possessing a calm demeanor and sense of humor. 

But a few months ago Boughton had surgery for a benign tumor on the brain and at a political event last week he suffered a seizure he attributes to poor diet and failure to take medication to prevent seizures. He says he will do better on those accounts while resuming his campaign. 

Will the incident hurt his candidacy or just make more people eager to run with him as lieutenant governor? Politics can be like that. 

Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn., and a frequent contributor to New England Diary.