In the annual illusory pageant called the opening day of the Connecticut State Legislative session, it is surprising to see the wan and pale King Ned Lamont (aka “the Unaccountable”), wearing a tie. But, he was. For some strange reason be it is an election year and/or to give himself a break from his usual disheveled and unkempt appearance, Lamont gave an incredible and unbelievable Utopian cure-all to the peons, alluding (but not limited to), affordable housing, electric car mandates, climate change control, and fiscal stability. However, if you think this projection of governmental Nirvana was to continue unabated, it turns out that the standard political theater was in effect. Side bets were made as to when the planned and confused “Pro- Palestinian” protesters would come in to disrupt the speech, and they did, crying "Cease Fire!" Ensuring they would be heard and to be shown on all the local state-run newscasts later, the planned cries worked wonders to help hide the Unaccountable’s trips to Israel and/or to Gaza on at least three occasions over two years for whatever reason he went there for. (And he was indeed wiser since his horrific performance during New Haven’s protest a month ago, as he made no mention of the same).
Lamont’s speech was a tall tale to everyone and anyone who was willing to listen. It highlighted most, (if not all) of the failed Democrat Party policies that have brought America to its knees both socially and economically. The speech was heavy on giving away Connecticut Taxpayers’ monies to the Democrat Party constituency via programs such as affordable housing that will be controlled by profit making Lamont type companies and will eventually push electric vehicle mandates to combat the incredible global warming/climate change naturally occurring since the beginning of time. Of course, climate change will now be successfully controlled by profit making Lamont type companies. The speech was huge on feel good programs and vote-buying while being noticeably short on the specifics on how everything will be paid for. But what difference does any of this make? This is the usual rhetoric that Connecticut Taxpayers hear year in and year out. They will pay in the final summary as they do each year while many delusional legislators and simpatico nonprofits claim taxes are too low, and taxpayers must pay more to support the government charade.
Affordable housing is really big in Connecticut now. It is so big, that there is now a war against the evil, racist Connecticut homeowner. Even though you may have worked extra jobs and saved up enough money to purchase a home and paid your mortgage and property taxes consistently, you are now the problem and evil equivalent of pond-scum in Connecticut. But in the happy delusional world of The Unaccountable and the legislature, there are no real issues in this vein and Connecticut is a desirable jewel that people cannot wait to move to. Lamont stated: "And people are noticing. Unlike our neighboring states which are losing population, Connecticut has gained population over the last few years. Today we have more people working, more people starting businesses, more people joining labor unions with better pay and better benefits, more of our graduates staying in Connecticut, and more out-of-staters wanting to move here. One warning sign: we have too many people who cannot find a place to live – it is not available, or it is not affordable. Our biennial budget doubles our investment in housing – workforce housing, affordable housing, supportive housing, elder housing, and downtown apartments." He further stated: "If you already own a home, you may be doing great, but a lack of housing drives up costs for everybody else and increases the risk of homelessness." As an economist reviewing this delusional diatribe, I wonder why the actual laws of supply and demand are not at work in Connecticut's housing market? Who (or what) controls "affordable housing"? Why do Lamont and his political operatives want to control zoning in all towns and cities while offering their preferred crony developers to get the work to create this new and somehow affordable housing?
Always bear in mind that Connecticut Raised Bill H.B. No. 6890. "(i)s a scary and hideous eight-page law proposal, whereby any clear-thinking person can quickly perceive its mission to remove local cities and towns from oversight of their zoning laws and regulations. It should alarm most local taxpayers as to what they will have to look forward to in their communities. This Bill, also known as "Work, Live, Ride" will give incentives for what is known as “transit-oriented development” within a half mile of bus and train stations. This horrific plan would be executed under the auspices of an autonomous new "Coordinator "working in the new "Office of Responsible Growth" within the Intergovernmental Policy Division of the Office of Policy and Management. This position creates a non-elected state bureaucrat "Zoning Czar" to override local zoning laws within the areas of bus and train stations for the purpose of promoting grant-subsidized housing".
“Desegregate Connecticut" being a suspect organization that still backs this type of illogical development, has a main financial source backed by several large corporate interests that would profit from this type of development near these locations, and also will be subsidized by Connecticut Taxpayers. Is this then the type of "affordable housing" Lamont is pushing for in 2024? To strip local zoning laws from towns and cities and further destroy what once were excellent communities?
However, despite all of the platitudes of the “fiscal guardrails” that we hear bandied about state media, there was no mention in The Unaccountable’s speech as to the brutal realities of Connecticut being one of the highest taxed states in the country, a bottom five state in most business categories, and still having between $100 to $150 billion dollars in short and long term debt along with unfunded liabilities. However, Lamont stated: "okay, in addition to making our regular payments to the pension fund we have paid down an extra $8 billion, saving taxpayers about $800 million every year for the next 25 years that can be dedicated to critical services, and we have added thousands of new taxpayers, which further strengthens our budget and our future." How Lamont magically saved over $20 billion dollars in 25 years should astound any finance/accounting/economist in Connecticut as to the inner-workings of this magical transformation.
However, according to members of his own party such as State Senate President Martin Looney the Lamont speech fell short: "Looney, a New Haven Democrat, believes the state must do more to provide for the middle and working classes. He has floated possible changes to the current “guardrails” regime to fund increased state investment in childcare, mental health services, higher education, and other social welfare programs..." How much more investment is needed is unknown and since Looney has been in office for a mere 30 plus years, it seems that no amount of money can solve these issues. Moreover, is not Looney a large part of the problem as he has overseen a massive decline in Connecticut since he assumed office back in 1992?
Thus, the State of the State speech in 2024 is no different than since Dan Malloy bellowed his rhetoric in 2011.
These days, Connecticut has enormous social and economic problems with unchecked crime, unaddressed in the speech. Sadly, it is the same chorus of more money solves all problems, more and larger state government solves all problems, and one must follow the path of giving up personal freedoms for the sake of an omnipotent state Democrat Party that rules by force and decree, and now, legalized robbery of taxpayers.
Nothing really changes in the sad state of Connecticut.