Yankee Institute Blog

Spending cap commission fails to define “general budget expenditures”

The Connecticut Spending Cap Commission concluded its last meeting on Monday unable to reach agreement on a definition of “general budget expenditures,” which would be subject to Connecticut’s constitutional spending cap.

The commission voted 11-12 against a proposal by William Cibes, which recommended gradually phasing in increases to the cost of the unfunded liabilities the following year. The year long delay would continue until 2022, at which point all the unfunded liabilities would be subject to the cap.

Connecticut borrows to pay state employees

In 2016 Connecticut borrowed $327.4 million for public projects, which included $4 million in fees for Connecticut agencies to oversee the projects, essentially borrowing to pay the cost of its employees.

Those fees have added up to more than $61 million since 1999. Each year the state pays interest on these costs.

Mercatus Center ranks Connecticut 48th in nation for healthcare openness and access

Although Connecticut often ranks very low in the nation for taxation, debt, regulatory burden and cost of living, a new research project from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranked Connecticut 48th in the nation for healthcare access and openness.

Although Connecticut ranked highest for access to e-cigarettes, naxalone – to prevent opioid overdoses – and good samaritan protections, state insurance restrictions and regulatory burdens were ranked as some of the worst in the nation.

Bridgeport ranks highest in nation for “family flight” to avoid failing schools

Bridgeport ranked highest in the nation for “family flight” as middle income families flee urban areas with failing schools, according to research done by Dr. Bartley Danielson, associate professor of finance and real estate at North Carolina State University.

Danielsen examined 100 metropolitan areas across the United States and compared census data for families with children aged 0-4 and 5-9. His findings showed that families whose children reach school age relocate out of areas with poor performing schools.

Federal investigation reveals millions in food stamp fraud

Waterbury grocer Raul Marcos Monarca-Gonazalez pled guilty in federal court on Tuesday to unlawful use of food stamps and conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud. Investigators estimate the amount of fraud to be in the millions.

According to the press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Monarca’s store, WB Trade Fair Grocery, only stocked enough eligible food items for a maximum of $240,000 in food stamp purchases per year.

Are hostile work environment claims contributing to Connecticut’s hostile business environment?

An employee can voluntarily separate from their employer and still receive unemployment benefits if the cause of separation was due to, among other things, a “hostile work environment.” So what constitutes a hostile work environment and what does the Connecticut Department of Labor use to determine whether or not such an environment exists?

Legally, a hostile work environment must be “permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment,” according to precedent set by the decision Brittel v. Department of Correction.

Union schedules “planned arrest” at Fight for 15 Strike

An email sent from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees asked for 25 people willing to be arrested as part of a “fight for $15” strike at McDonalds on Washington Avenue in Hartford on Tuesday, November 29.

The email, sent by retired state employee Win Heimer, states “This is a planned arrest – with a promise to appear in court for community service. Police will have your Social Security number and do a background check in advance in coordination with Fight for 15 strike planners.”

Connecticut public-sector labor union laws get a “D”

Connecticut earned a “D” grade for its public-sector labor laws from the Commonwealth Foundation, a free-market think tank based in Pennsylvania.

Connecticut was one of 22 states in the country that earned a grade lower than a C. The study cited Connecticut’s binding arbitration laws, lack of paycheck protection and closed-door union contract negotiations as contributing to its poor grade.

Long waits for licenses at the Department of Public Health

When Liz Wilson submitted her final test results to become a marriage and family therapist in early September, she thought she would be able to receive her license from the Department of Public Health within a couple weeks and move forward opening her own private practice.

Six weeks later on October 21 she finally received notification that she was now officially licensed by the state but there was one last hold up – the DPH only prints licenses once a month.

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