Yankee Institute Blog

Public hearing on the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities draws angry property owners

A public hearing about the practices of the Commission of Human Rights and Opportunity before the General Assembly’s investigation committee was packed with visibly angry Connecticut property owners wearing neon green stickers that read “Fair Housing Lacks Due Process.”

Bob De Cosmo, manager of Tenant Tracks, a Waterbury based tenant screening company, says Connecticut rental property owners have a legitimate grievance and a right to fair treatment by the CHRO. “We’re trying to get some fairness back into this process in housing,” De Cosmo said. “When you’re accused of violating any of the fair housing laws, you’re up against a stiff challenge to clear your name and get out.”

Connecticut labelled ‘sinkhole state’ in report on state finances

Connecticut was labelled a “sinkhole state” and placed 49th in the nation based on its financial issues and taxpayer burden in the annual Financial State of the States report by Truth in Accounting, a government accounting think tank.

The unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities were the largest factors of debt in determining Connecticut’s ranking.

Town of Fairfield receives “cease and desist” order from U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission censured the town of Fairfield last month for failing to file timely financial reports and disclose that information in their bond offering documents.

Fairfield told investors that it had only been late on its 2009 and 2010 reports. According to the SEC, “this was materially misleading because Respondent filed its fiscal 2006, 2007, and 2008 audited financial statements by 1,384, 1,017, and 652 days late, respectively.” The SEC goes on to say that the Town of Fairfield “knew or should have known that this statement was untrue.”

Employers are afraid to hire in Connecticut

Joe volunteers to run a youth soccer club. He wants kids outside and on the field. But the Connecticut Department of Labor is getting in the way. The Department of Labor has audited Joe’s nonprofit in Guilford plus 93 other youth leagues. Now, Joe is afraid to pay people who work with his club.

If youth sports leagues are afraid to pay workers in Connecticut, other employers must be terrified.

University of Connecticut faulted for “excessive compensation,” misuse of repair funds

The University of Connecticut made a number of excessive payments to staff who had either stepped down from management positions or left the university, according to a state audit released yesterday. In one instance a former manager – identified as vice provost for the university libraries, Brinley Franklin – was paid his full management salary of $202,829 to be an off-site, part-time consultant.

The excessive payments were just part of the audit which faulted the public university for allocating $49.1 million of UConn 2000 funds to projects that were not authorized by state statute.

Group of assistant attorneys general cite “immediate threat to their rights,” file petition to force secret ballot

Five assistant attorneys general filed a petition with the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations today in an effort to force a vote on unionization by secret ballot before the board recognizes a new union in the Attorney General’s Office.

The AAGs claim that failure to hold a secret ballot would violate their “fundamental and statutory right to oppose unionization.” The petitioners claim that no other group, including their employer, would defend them on their stated issues they face “a substantial and immediate threat” to their rights to oppose unionization.

Connecticut Department of Labor audits youth sports leagues

Over the past three years, the Connecticut Department of Labor has audited 95 youth sports leagues, limiting the programs they can offer or increasing the cost to families.

The DOL audits focus on whether workers paid by the league, including referees, coaches and assistants, are properly classified as independent contractors.

The attempts by the Connecticut DOL to change the classification of referees and clinicians for youth sports organizations has the potential to affect business throughout Connecticut. By changing the definitions of who constitutes an employee or contractor, businesses may find themselves having to put new workers on their payroll, even for one-time minor services.

The CEO of Webster Bank speaks frankly about the spending cap

The state’s constitutional spending cap should be “comprehensive” and cover all state spending except for debt service, Webster Bank CEO James C. Smith told members of the Spending Cap Commission this week.

The spending cap is supposed to limit how much state lawmakers can spend – but in recent years money has been moved out from under the cap, weakening it.

Smith powerfully made the argument that the state’s spending cap matters – read the rest of his testimony here.

Connecticut business survey faults taxes, regulations as barriers to growth

The Connecticut Business and Industry Association and BlumShapiro released Friday their annual survey of businesses in Connecticut, showing state taxes and regulations are the biggest roadblocks to business growth and expansion.

The three biggest challenges to growth cited by the businesses surveyed were costs associated with state regulations, taxes and “unpredictability surrounding legislative decision making.”

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