Spammers

While people seem to read this blog they do not often post replies directly here (I tend to receive feedback via the MyLeftNutmeg site, facebok, and twitter). Spammers however seem to enjoy registering and posting. I’ve added the step of requiring registration if you actually wish to make a comment to reduce the amount of spam that has to get filtered through on this. I apologize if it causes any inconvenience.

UConn Tuition Town Hall This Friday

I received the following e-mail today:

TO: University Community FROM: Richard Gray, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Barry Feldman, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Nicholls, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs SUBJ: Town Hall Meeting – March 18, 2011 The University community is invited to attend a Town Hall Meeting on Friday, March 18th at 3:00 p.m. in Konover Auditorium in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. The purpose of the Town Hall meeting is to provide an update on tuition and fees. There will also be an opportunity for question and answer dialogue. Regional campuses, please note: The meeting will be delivered using one-way video and audio from the following locations: Avery Point – Academic Bldg, Rm 309 Law School – Starr 204 Stamford – Room 312 Torrington – Lecture Hall Waterbury – Room 324 West Harford – HITC Bldg, Rm 104 UCHC – Keller Auditorium We hope that you are able to join us on March 18th. ************************************* Richard D. Gray Vice President and Chief Financial Officer University of Connecticut 352 Mansfield Road, Unit 2122 Storrs, CT 06269-2122 (860) 486-3455

Connecticut State Budget

A few days ago Governor Malloy unveiled his budget. Reaction has been mixed. At the heart of his plan are two separate proposals: $1.8 billion in new revenue and $2 billion in concessions from state employees. The budget also includes $758 million in spending reductions.

One good thing Gov. Malloy is doing is plugging the exemptions for various special interests in the state sales tax. These “tax expenditures” unfairly subsidize specific products and industries that were lucky enough to have lobbyists fight for them.

Criticisms largely stem from individuals that believe there should be greater revenue increases or greater spending cuts. Gov. Malloy has struck a careful balance by increasing tax rates to be comparable but competitive with neighboring states. Following the suggestion of Jon Olson and others advocating for tax increases may cause the rich to flee the state. This contention is supported by a report from Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy. A report from Princeton suggests that the impact of new taxation on migration is negligible. Taxes and money are not the only factor that individuals consider when choosing a place to live but it is reasonable to presume we are competing for individuals in the tri-state area that work in New York City. Rational rich people will choose the locale with the lower taxes and absent conclusive data it is better to be safe than sorry.

Rep. Cafero and other Republicans have criticized the budget for not cutting spending enough. The CT Mirror explains that this is due the structure of Gov. Malloy’s budget cuts:

The biggest cut in the Malloy budget technically involves a "lapse" or relatively undefined savings still to be achieved. The governor announced this week that it would come from state employee wage and benefit concessions as well as other savings tied to rank-and-file labor and management.

The Mirror article does a great job articulating the hurdles faced by the administration in obtaining these concessions and suggests that they may not get it all.

Overall the Malloy budget is a good one but it is not the final budget. We will likely see tweaks especially to deal with an inability to obtain the entire $2 billion in concessions from the unions. Connecticut already runs a fairly lean governmental operation and there is little room to make major structural changes without impacting a safety net or causing local property taxes to rise.

Campaign Finance Debate Continues After Citizens United - NYTimes.com

An interesting article and perspective on Citizens’ United from the New York Times…

In the year since the Supreme Court handed down its 183-page decision in Citizens United, the liberal objection to it has gradually boiled down to a single sentence: The majority was wrong to grant First Amendment rights to corporations.

via Campaign Finance Debate Continues After Citizens United - NYTimes.com.

New Traditions

I won a gift certificate to one of the local gyms at our law school’s annual Public Interest Law Group auction last November. In college I enjoyed going to the gym on a daily basis but stopped after I moved home. I finally turned in the gift certificate over my winter break and started going. Working out is relaxing but can also get boring so I have been bringing my iPod and exploring podcasts. My current favorite is MSNBC’s Morning Joe. I have a love-hate relationship with news programming and usually prefer reading my news but Mika and Joe do a great job of summarizing the stories of the day and providing witty banter.

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