The 90s brought a lot of changes to the small State of Connecticut. Lowell Weicker ushered in the decade with the income tax. Hartford saw one of its largest protests with over 40 thousand citizens standing against its passage. Even though the majority of citizens did not want the income tax, and Lowell Weicker campaigned on a third party ticket, and promised he would not institute an income tax, shortly after taking office, Weicker rescinded his promise saying, “the fiscal reality” meant Connecticut would have an income tax.
Weicker would later be awarded the, John F. Kennedy Profile In Courage Award. There was no positive impact for the people of Connecticut by adding a tax to hard earned wages. To add insult to injury Weicker lowered the corporate tax at the same time. It was a slap in the face. Connecticut is in worse fiscal shape than in the 90s. There is a temporary bubble now from the federal government wrapped up nice and pretty as COVID relief being used to fund current pet projects, that will more than likely become another tax on the people. The income tax was not the only change in Connecticut that would reek fiscal harm on the people and feed the giant bureaucratic monster the state government has become.
In 1989 Connecticut Innovations became the State of Connecticut’s venture capital arm via Chapter 579*. Not quite a state agency, Connecticut Innovations is a quasi government agency. As a quasi government agency Connecticut Innovations has all the protections of a private business and the power of government. CI has access to public funds, special tax breaks and credits. CI has its fingers in driving public policy, and the windfall of riches from venture capital that benefits it.
All state and quasi-public agencies are required to post checkbook-level expenditure data related to contracts, grants, payroll, and pensions, except for data protected by law from disclosure, to the state comptroller’s Open Connecticut database.
In my last article I discussed the First Lady Annie Huntress Lamont and her venture capital firm Oak HC/FT. You can find that article here. Annie is known for her ability to make mad cash via private investors who provide seed money for promising companies. In today’s world that is bio-tech, fintech, and green energy. The fusion of our biological world with our digital world, is the future of big business, and venture capital. Venture capital is behind the major successes of Silicon Valley, from Apple and Microsoft to FB and Twitter, venture capital made these giants possible.
The State of Connecticut has 17 Quasi government agencies and it is expanding. Connecticut Innovations attracted my attention while investigating Annie Lamont and Oak HC/FT. It’s really surprising how our state government has a venture capital firm of its own. It’s the perfect storm for corruption. Venture capital became very popular in the 1990s nationwide, it’s been around for decades before that, with recent clarification in the law, venture capital has been given a free pass. I was stunned while reviewing the public financial documents on Oak HC/FT, where they claimed exemptions that honestly surprised me. Aside from the usual tricks a businesses can play with registering in Delaware to avoid taxes, and off shore accounts in the Cayman Islands, venture capitalists enjoy even more privacy and protection. Why? Innovation of course. Sounds fabulous on paper.
Venture capital money drives the technology that will save the world, end poverty, and make everyone equally wonderful. It’s a great marketing campaign full of jingos and pretty people smiling. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion! Meanwhile it is more like vulture capital. It dominates innovation, kills the market place of free ideas, purchases its competitors, and monopolizes the innovation. Venture capital is private equity that provides strategy, and resources to start up companies while being able to by pass regulations. The VC has a lot of power over how the companies they invest in are run. By holding the money and resources the entrepreneur is just a commodity with all the technology and fresh ideas, the venture money gets to control.
How does private investor money shape our laws and our culture? How can it be ethical that Connecticut Innovations can gamble with tax payer money and invest in companies that do not always benefit the people, but rather the investors? How did Annie Lamont’s holding, Sema4, affect testing policies? Remember those mandated tests? It was Sema4 providing them to state institutions where people were mandated to test. Do the people have a say? How can this be legal? The people pay Shipman and Goodwin to represent Connecticut Innovations. Our House Speaker, Matthew Ritter, and his sister Melissa, are partners at Shipman and Goodwin. Melissa Ritter specializes in education and law. She represents the government run schools and some private schools as well. It’s a big club, that we pay for, but seem not to care about. When will the public become outraged enough to stop this tide of overt and growing corruption?
We live in the Coke and Pepsi world of Build, Back, Better. Where the press is merged with the state, and fails to report on venture capital and quasi government agencies driving policy. VC can yield mega bucks for the private investors and the general managers who run them. In fact, during COVID venture capital investment was at its highest ever with $130 billion dollars. While the average American was locked down and told to shut their business, only allowed to leave their homes or open their business with restrictions and mandates dictated by government, venture capital was thriving. Investing in the technology to track and trace, bio metrics, and the age of the digital meetings, and legislative ZOOM hearings. Gee? Wonder what venture capital money funded ZOOM?
“What we’re seeing is a ‘rich get richer’ phenomenon where successful, high momentum technology companies are vacuuming up most of the financing,”
Venture capital was working in Connecticut long before Annie Lamont became First Lady. Lamont was no stranger to venture capital. She is still a partner with Oak Partners another VC firm with billions in invested funds. For decades the government in Connecticut and nationwide, especially in Washington D.C., venture money and quasi government agencies are like peanut butter and jelly. Connecticut is the leader in both venture capital, bio-tech (it’s tax free to invest in bio-tech in CT!) The citizen does not have a seat at this table. You gotta have the big bucks and social connections for that seat.
Governor Lamont made a seven fold increase in capital gains while being governor, bumping his earnings that we can see to $54 million, according to his taxes for 2021. That’s quite remarkable? Nah, that’s Annies VC investments paying back! This article isn’t about Annie though, it’s about Connecticut Innovation, but birds of a feather, well they flock together. I am not a financial expert. I can only tell you where the money trail leads. There is a lot to investigate. It is a tangled web of corruption by very powerful people and has been developing for decades. Public office has become a joke. Lamont isn’t a representative of the people. He is a profit seeking vulture making a lot of money on the suffering incurred by the COVID mandates and lockdowns, that benefited Oak HC/FT, and Connecticut Innovations.
I haven’t even gotten into the quasi bank agency, the Green Bank! The Green Bank was established in 2011 and is the first bank of its kind as a quasi government agency. Leave it to Connecticut to trail blaze a quasi government bank! It makes its money by charging citizens a mill per hour kilowatt on their electric bills, it feeds on green regulations and taxes. It is why the people of Connecticut pay the highest electricity rates in the country! Follow the money, it demonstrates this fiscally. You can paint the rosiest picture with linguistics, green energy, safety, renewables, equity, but it is all a gimmick when you look at the money. The citizens are left with higher and higher taxes as the government bureaucracy grows into a powerful dictatorship enjoyed by kings and queens of old. Anyone that has ever lobbied the State of Connecticut as a private citizen knows how hostile Hartford is when you oppose their policies. You are downgraded and treated like a peasant.
From climate change, mandated vaccines, affordable housing, SEL, DEI, there is no end to the virtuous lingo driving us into perpetual debt, and into a digital prison run by venture capitalists. Is this the Connecticut that you want to live in?
Links and References:
General Statutes, CI is a public instrumentality and political subdivision of the state. CI is a quasi-public agency of the state under Chapter 12 of the General Statutes and is subject to the related requirements. As a quasi-public agency, the CI financial information is included as a component unit in the State of Connecticut’s Annual Comprehensive Financial Report
Quasi official agencies, like other elements of the quasi government, may exist in what has been called “the twilight zone” between the governmental and private sectors.23 This status, while presumably permitting considerable autonomy from regular lines of accountability to managerial agencies (e.g., the Government Accountability Office) is not, as is often argued in their defense, protection from “political influences.” Quasi-official agencies, like other forms of quasi governmental institutions, may sometimes be highly “political,” and subject to pressures not dissimilar to that encountered by regular executive agencies.24
Quasi Open CheckBook