The Capitol Beat: September 29 – October 3

October 3, 2014

Quote of the Week:

I didn’t want to do it out of anger…I stood there and took his best.

Governor Malloy responds to reporters Thursday night after a debate with Republican candidate Tom Foley, which featured many two-way personal recriminations.

Here’s a Question for the Sociologists: Do Debates Make a Difference?

Arguably, it remains an open question whether the gubernatorial debates we’ve witnessed this election cycle between Governor Malloy and Republican candidate Tom Foley have served to sway voters. At times, it feels more like an exercise in shoring up the base than in enlightening those watching at home who may be on the fence. After all, we know these two individuals, and there is a level of predictability to their oratory.

So what does move the needle for still-undecided voters? It seems more likely, when you get right down to it, that people will vote based on their personal experiences and interactions with state government –– i.e. how they were treated when calling a state agency to inquire about a permit or license renewal, obtaining tax forms, or health insurance applications or to resolve a problem. Sometimes it’s as basic as this.
All that said, we still follow the debates. Why? Maybe because we are a hopeful bunch, and we hope to come away enlightened after sacrificing an hour of Homeland.

Feds Release Half of State’s 1Q Medicaid Payments; Slim 2015 Surplus Anticipated

Assuming the state succeeds in collecting $75 million in yet-to-be identified “enhanced revenue collections” (e.g. proceeds from the tax amnesty program), State Comptroller Kevin Lembo this week the state can expect to end the 2015 fiscal year $300,000 in the red – all of which would be deposited in the Rainy Day Fund.

Lembo said state spending is expected to grow by 2-percent in 2015, while revenue growth is projected to be 2.6 percent. He added that changes in economic conditions could alter these predictions. Therein lies the potential powder keg.
Meanwhile, Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, Ben Barnes, this week said the federal government had agreed to release half of the state’s 1Q Medicaid payments, totaling $125 million. He said the state expects to receive the remaining payment in October once the state’s claim methodology is resolved to the feds’ satisfaction. Because the Medicaid program was moved “off budget,” any lag in payments won’t affect the General Fund’s bottom line and Treasure Denise Nappier said the state’s current cash balance — $1.2 billion –is adequate to meet its obligations.

DOT Seeks Input from Business Community on Transportation Infrastructure Investment

The CT Department of Transportation (DOT) has been traversing the state seeking public input and ideas about transportation investment strategies that can best support economic growth as it develops a long-term, 50-year vision and strategic transportation plan known as TransformCT.

Now Hartford area businesses will get their turn to offer guidance and suggestions for future transportation investments and improvements. Tom Mazierz, chief of DOT’s Bureau of Policy and Planning, will be attending a luncheon on October 15 from noon till 2 p.m. at Carbone’s Restaurant, 588 Franklin Avenue, Hartford, where he will field questions and discuss ideas. The event is being sponsored by Hartford Area Business Economists and CBIA. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m.

Upcoming Political Debates/Discussions

Congressional

ESTY & GREENBERG (5th Congressional District) will debate on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Portuguese Cultural Center, 65 Sand Pit Road, Danbury.

HIMES & DEBICELLA (4th Congressional District) will participate on three debates on October 19 in Wilton, October 20 in Stamford and on October 28 in Norwalk.

JOE COURTNEY & HOPKINS-CAVANAGH (2nd Congressional District) on Oct. 20 at Eastern Connecticut State University hosted by the Norwich Bulletin and moderated by Ray Hackett.

Gubernatorial

CT BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION will host a debate on Thursday, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. at the Hartford Hilton, 315 Trumbull Street, Hartford.

THE DAY, CPTV & WNPR will host a debate on Thursday, October 16 at 7 p.m. at the Garde Arts Center, 325 State Street, New London.

WNPR’s John Dankosky will host a debate on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 6:30 p.m. with light refreshments at 6 p.m. at the Career High School, 140 Legion Avenue, New Haven.

NBC CONNECTICUT will host a debate on Thursday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. at their studio in West Hartford.

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