Legislators Take Victory Lap

Paul Bass PhotoNew Haven’s state legislators did a great job for New Haven.

So said New Haven’s state legislators.

They said that about themselves at a press conference held at City Hall Monday afternoon to tout the results of their legislating in the state legislative session that ended May 7.

Mayor Toni Harp, who until this year served as a state senator, said she invited “these conscientious officials” to City Hall so the public can find out how much they accomplished. She credited them with obtaining an extra $2.3 million for the city on top of money that had already been approved for the coming fiscal year. The legislature met in a short session in part to tinker with the second year of a previously approved two-year budget.

The legislators enabled New Haven to receive $1.9 million in extra Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) money than had been previously budgeted, to reimburse the city for revenue lost on tax-exempt properties. They also secured an additional $1 million in municipal aid. (That netted to $2.3 million because the city lost out on $600,000 because of cuts to a separate municipal grant program, Harp said.) Harp said the extra money helped limit New Haven’s tax increase in the coming fiscal year.

“We can’t bring it all home. But we brought a lot home,” said state Rep. Toni Walker, co-chair of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee. She called it “a very tough year” to obtain extra money in Hartford, not just because the two-year budget had already been set, but because a state surplus suddenly vanished during the course of the session. She singled out the restoration of a rent rebate program for seniors as a signal achievement for people in New Haven.

“There was no way to know in the middle of session that the economy was contracting,” said state Rep. Pat Dillon (pictured).

State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney said that in addition to bringing home the extra $2.3 million, legislators worked successfully to pass a minimum wage increase (to $10.10 an hour in 2017), give New Haven greater tools to tackle problem bars by requiring the local chiefs be informed of pending nightclub license renewals, and take a “historic step toward universal pre-K” with the launch of the Smart Start program.

Click here for a previous interview with Looney with more details about the session’s results.

One New Haven elected official, Prospect Hill Alder Michael Stratton, was highly critical of how Looney and the state delegation performed in this session. Click here and here to read his critiques.

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posted by: LookOut on June 2, 2014  5:44pm

Hooray for us!  We’re great! 

Measured by what standard?

Do they really think that the people of New Haven are that gullible?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 2, 2014  5:49pm

Black and Latino Folks Wake up.Black and Latino Judas Goat leaders are part of the misleadership class. Notice who is in the Back ground.White Liberals.Like MALCOLM X said.The white liberal differs from the white conservative only in one way. The liberal is more deceitful than the conservative. The liberal is more hypocritical than the conservative. Both want power, but the white liberal is the one who has perfected the art of posing as the Negro’s friend and benefactor, and by winning the friendship and support of the Negro, the white liberal is able to use the Negro as a pawn or tool in this political football game. Politically the American Negro is nothing but a football, and the white liberals control this mentally dead ball. Through tricks of tokenism and false promises, and they have the willing cooperation of Negro leaders. These leaders sell out our people for just a few crumbs of token recognition and token gains.

Mark my words.They will soon be bring Dan Malloy to the hood for you vote.

posted by: robn on June 2, 2014  7:54pm

BS! A reduced tax increase is still an increase on top of an already bloated budget.

posted by: Billy on June 2, 2014  10:58pm

Wish I’d known about this. I see both of my elected officials there…and they both have my email address.  I might have had a few questions, if the pep rally had a Q&A portion.

posted by: Noteworthy on June 3, 2014  8:41am

The Naked Truth Notes:

1. If you have to trumpet your own praise, you are not nearly as good as you think you are.

2. This reminds me of a fairy tale written by the famous Hans Christian Anderson.

It was about the Emporer’s New Clothes.

“Many years ago there lived an emperor who cared only about his clothes and about showing them off. One day he heard from two swindlers that they could make the finest suit of clothes from the most beautiful cloth. This cloth, they said, also had the special capability that it was invisible to anyone who was either stupid or not fit for his position.

Being a bit nervous about whether he himself would be able to see the cloth, the emperor first sent two of his trusted men to see it. Of course, neither would admit that they could not see the cloth and so praised it. All the townspeople had also heard of the cloth and were interested to learn how stupid their neighbors were.

The emperor then allowed himself to be dressed in the clothes for a procession through town, never admitting that he was too unfit and stupid to see what he was wearing. For he was afraid that the other people would think that he was stupid.

Of course, all the townspeople wildly praised the magnificent clothes of the emperor, afraid to admit that they could not see them, until a small child said:

“But he has nothing on”!

This was whispered from person to person until everyone in the crowd was shouting that the emperor had nothing on. The emperor heard it and felt that they were correct, but held his head high and finished the procession.”

posted by: Noteworthy on June 3, 2014  9:04am

What They Really Did Notes:

1. Failed to roll back attacks on freedom of information, embracing again, the suppression of government information.

2. Failed to reign in outrageous retirement benefits for state judges - people like the connected Tony Avallone who will only serve a piddly 4 years before collecting more than $100K a year in a guaranteed state pension for the rest of his life. Plus free lifetime medical.

3. Failed to balance the budget without gimmicks and untested theories.

4. While increasing programmatic spending, failed to consider more than a billion in red ink beginning next year.

5. Failed to reign in Yale New Haven’s aggressive purchase of non-profit hospitals and turn them into for profit centers.

6. Failed to address “facility fees” which Yale New Haven has irrationally expanded to cover all the medical practices it is pilfering from the private healthcare space.

7. Failed miserably, because of political infighting among top Dem leadership, to force major non-profits to pay appropriate property taxes.

8. Failed to fully fund PILOT because it sold PILOT out for other state programs they wanted but for which there was limited or no funding. This is the ugly truth about PILOT.

9. Failed to include a projected $50 million increase in pension liability to corrections officers which leaves great uncertainty on how those benefits will be paid and what impact that will have on the state’s pension fund.

10. You don’t get an “A” for having a pulse nor do you you crassly claim to be fit when you reflect a bloated, overweight state budget that remains heavy on taxes, gimmicks and borrowing. It’s good that Toni Harp is in the picture. Her budget reflects all the same old, same old she endorsed as a colleague in this family portrait.

posted by: webblog on June 3, 2014  9:41am

if the legislators want to pat themselves on the back for taking money out of my left pocket and putting it into Harp’s back pocket, at least take full credit.

The legislator’s also maneuvered an additional $4.3M for education cost sharing, and an additional $3.2M for colleges & hospitals- pilot(Yale). I wonder why they did not include these amounts in their announcement.

On second thought maybe that’s why Harp is looking down, Candelera looking up,looney whispering down, and winfield looking down and disgusted.

And Pat Dillon at the mike…looking bewildered for something more to say?

posted by: Rep. Pat Dillon on June 4, 2014  12:23pm

Wow. Tough crowd.
1. Mayor Harp scheduled that event to thank us, as Mayor DeStefano did in other years. Her remarks were very gracious.
2. In our remarks we listed specific policies enacted this year. Sen Looney began with a comprehensive overview, then we added what we had done in our own committees. That wasn’t reported here.
3. The legislature sets policy statewide, not just for New Haven; it requires support of two chambers and many towns. Most desperately want their hospitals to survive, notably Waterbury, which wanted a ‘for profit’ component. On PILOT, the ‘full funding’  demand benefits towns statewide - most wealthier than we - 70 in one PILOT alone. That deserves full discussion;  I’ll check the numbers but we’d have to discuss the tradeoffs.
4. I said a lot; see #2 above. Hope that helps.

posted by: webblog on June 4, 2014  2:29pm

@ Rep Pat Dillon, thank you for your remarks, you are the only current legislator who communicates with the public in this forum.

In your comments you refered us to bullet #2 in an attempt to magnify what you said the NHI did not print in this story.

From #2:

2. “In our remarks we listed specific policies enacted this year. Sen. Looney began with a comprehensive overview, and then we added what we had done in our own committees. That wasn’t reported here’.

On June 2 the NHR wrote a more complete coverage of statements made by legislators, 90% of the statements were attributed to Looney with a small segment attributed to Winfield and Walker both echoing Looney’s “hugely successful financial piece”.

The NHR added two points that the NHI did not.

1. Pilot program giving police statement input on liquor license renewal.

2. Retaining the rent rebate program for elderly and disabled.

3. Saving the earned income tax credit, which was never really under elimination?

Nevertheless, these are all valuable programs that benefit New Haven residents. Your references to these actions could have been stated in your post, you chose not to, referring us instead to bullet #2 which falls far short of the legislative accomplishments.

I repeat as I said above @webblog on June 3, 2014 9:41am:

The legislator’s also maneuvered an additional $4.3M for education cost sharing, and an additional $3.2M for colleges & hospitals- pilot(Yale). I wonder why they did not include these amounts in their announcement.

That you for your interest.

posted by: Rep. Pat Dillon on June 4, 2014  4:16pm

In referring to #2 I meant ’ That wasn’t reported here.’ The presser included a lot of information - maybe too much - so it’s difficult to do justice, and much was omitted.

I serve on Higher Ed , Judiciary, and Appropriations; chair Health subcommittee on Appropriations (public health, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, veterans);  serve on the Conservation and Development subcommittee (arts, agriculture, development) and Human Services subcommittee (DSS/ Medicaid, DCF mostly).

That covers a lot so I highlighted a few things -  Higher Ed’s sexual assault law,  health initiatives such as (modest) expansion of rape crisis dollars, and (modest) expansion of Hispanic Behavioral Health Network.
I omitted much I did do and won’t mention that now but hope that helps.

posted by: robn on June 4, 2014  4:48pm

Rep Dillon,

A million small good deeds won’t make up for New Haven’s PILOT funding being reduced to almost nothing in return for the funding of Sen Looney, Rep. Harp and Rep Walker’s pet project’s (as has been described by Alderman Stratton.)