To the Editor
As Norwalk Democrats gather their energies to re-elect Gov. Malloy we might consider Connecticut’s progress on the “List of Lasts” published by the respected Yankee Institute. The comparisons are awesome.
A few appetizers: CT was the only state with a shrinking economy in 2012 (BEA June 6, 2013). A year earlier we had 4 cousins. CT had the highest debt per taxpayer of any state in the nation in 2013 (and 2012 — Institute for Truth in Accounting 2013). CT had the worst debt situation of any state in the nation (Baron’s Oct. 14, 2013). And, also in 2012.
Now Gov. Malloy is boasting that CT has a $506 million surplus. But he borrowed $560 million, spent $54 million and calls the remainder $506 million a “surplus.” The governor understands finance! Nice hat trick. And the governor understands economics, too, claiming that CT actually generated new jobs in 2013. But he left out that CT lost far more jobs than were created so we had a large net job lost. Some five years into the national economic expansion, CT remains the only state with a shrinking economy.
But actually Norwalk does even better! On a per capita basis, city spending/taxes has increased 55 percent over the past two decades even though city income has been just about flat – up about only 10 percent as renters move in and property owners move out. Not even CT can match that record. Nor can any other CT city. It’s called the “Great Norwalk Migration.”
And we know the solution. Keep raising property taxes and union salaries. Our newly hired Personnel Director (from Gov. Malloy’s Stamford) has it right on the nose, claiming that union contracts have to be “fair” and we should avoid “arbitration.” Be friendly! Raising city taxes 55 percent while incomes rise just 10 percent is certainly “fair.” Our teachers are the 5th highest paid in the state. That’s certainly “fair.” Especially for a city ranking down the income list to about number 30. Not even the NFT claims our teachers are the fifth most competent. After all, NFT members went to college.
In his first major appointment, Mayor Rilling has shown us that he, too, like Gov. Malloy, understands both economics and finance. And, if there are any doubts, well the new personnel director has removed them. Norwalk is the City of “fairness for its union employees.” And stagnant home values, Grand Lists and legions of new renters.
So before questioning Gov. Malloy’s financial record, Norwalk voters, especially Democrats, ought to look in the mirror. CT’s economy ranks last. But Norwalk is the state’s “fairest” city. Just look in the mirror. You have my word on it. Norwalk, this year, under its new Personnel Director, will become even a “fairer city.” Just ask our new personnel director. He likes “fairness” and reportedly doesn’t live in Norwalk or plan to do so. That just wouldn’t be “fair” either. But it is smart. Lucky us.
Peter I. Berman