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How so easy for those all everywhere local state federal. Each one of us I was talking about western France for our rhetoric reduce that deficit each and every one of you know as elected officials as people who serve in government. Every action has a reaction. I think one of the the great damage is done and it certainly isn't solely done by President Reagan but he certainly contributed greatly to it. One of the greatest damage is done over the last six years was the suggestion that asking people to pay for the government that they think they need and want is some kind of a sin. For some reason or other Congress seems to have forgotten that the right to a roof and the right to a home is a basic American right. Just like the right to freedom the right to eat and the right to medical care. So we're going to have to do is come up with some pretty innovative new ideas which will cajole my colleagues back into the housing market.
Connecticut lawmakers a special edition working together for Connecticut. Highlights of a recent federal state and local assembly dealing with issues of the family and workplace and revenues at the three levels of government. Now for Connecticut public television here is Bob Douglas. Welcome to this special edition of Connecticut lawmakers. It is not a common occurrence when representatives and office holders at the federal state and local level gather together to discuss issues that impact on all of us who work and live here in Connecticut. Recently at the University of Hartford. Representatives of the state legislature the Connecticut congressional delegation and local officials gathered together to discuss issues of mutual interest. And during the next hour we will listen as they discuss issues involving family and the workplace at the University of Hartford. A conference federal state and local officials.
Local officials will often had meetings with both state legislators and without congressional delegation. But this is the first meeting of elected representatives at all three levels of government to address what we feel are important and mutual issues. The two issues to be taken up today the family in the workplace and revenues are both significant for cities and towns under the traditional view. Local governments have not been their principal providers of services for the family or the workplace. Increasingly however cities and towns have had to provide a greater role involving such issues as Youth Services daycare welfare training and jobs. We have to deal with the consequences of inadequate attention to conditions in the workplace as they affect the family. Therefore it is crucial to us the federal government and state government deal adequately with these issues. As an example federal welfare reform concerns state welfare rather than local welfare. But the way state welfare is restructured is restructured will affect all schools social services housing
jobs and so on. On a local level. The second of today's issues enter government into governmental finance is at the heart of this in the scope of services that cities and towns can provide for residents. Federal state local finances one unitary system. What happens with federal finance affects state and local governments. What happens with state finance affects federal and local governments. Government spending is a perfect example of a domino effect on the American citizen as somebody has to pay the cost to keep programs going. Here in Connecticut the effect of federal and state action on local governments is particularly telling. All the cities in towns have very few options to raise the revenue we need. So the amount of federal and state aid we get do not get. And the number of mandates which are passed or not passed have an effect on us. Significant effect on us. Harry Truman nearly 40 years ago indicated
that the buck stops here. With domestic programs I think there's been a reversal and that the buck is stopping at the local level and we're having a difficult time of providing those necessary services at that local level. Connecticut cities and towns cannot do the job alone. To meet the needs and expectations of our residents. All three levels of government must do the proper shit. I speak to you all this morning at a time in which being the governor of Connecticut is a great challenge and it's as great a challenge as it's ever been. In no other period as I as governor felt so much in the center of things. At no other time a state government so and so relied upon to answer to many problems of our citizens that they all face across the board at all levels. The reason for this of course is not a mystery. As you know the past six years have brought a sea of change to the relationship between federal government and state government. The deficit ridden federal government has I believe wrongly
spurned its traditional valuable commitment to address many of the basic human needs of its people. State government to put it bluntly has had to pick up the slack. Humanists of all officials gathered here today in Hartford. I've seen the effects of the federal pullback. You have watched for instance more than 54 million in annual revenue sharing. Vanish from your coffers. You've watched as tens of millions of dollars in federal direct housing grants have dried up at a time when such grants are more needed than ever before in recent memory. You've seen the federal government's once brilliant commitment to education fade more and more with each passing year such severe changes have a direct effect upon the relationship between state and municipal government. At the same time the federal government is withdrawing its support. The voices of local government have grown louder and more insistent because of necessity. These developments have forced the state into a new role with awesome new responsibilities. We accept those
responsibilities willingly but not necessarily happily. But we also ask for renewed efforts of cooperation and understanding between all levels of government. While the policies of the federal government have set a message of cool indifference to our states and cities I have tried to make my commitment and the commitment of the state of Connecticut especially clear and consistent. My stated commitment to local property tax relief remains firm. My stated concern with the present housing crisis is not wavering and it has been backed up with increased funding and fresh leadership. My stated concern for equity in education has been followed by an enhancement package that's enjoyed remarkable success and popularity across the state. These represent only a few of the many areas in which our state government has a direct and it's reacted smartly. To the shifts in federal funding. These are sometimes costly measures but I don't believe they can be withdrawn from the citizens of this state. I will always
maintain however. The jobs of the greatest buffer we can have against diversity such as federal cutbacks or any other kinds and I will continue to do all I can to keep those jobs in the state of Connecticut. If people are working they rely less on governmental assistance. Consequently we must do what we can to continue to improve our job plan. Whether it be done through economic development increased funding for child daycare or our battle against illiteracy. These are some of the things that the state can do and is doing. But as I indicated earlier I also believe that we have to state federal and municipal levels need to examine together the shifts that have occurred in the past six years as this assembly is doing here today. We need eventually to discuss our relative roles such as the critical areas of welfare reform housing issues environmental standards and other areas that cross the boundaries of funding. In short we must re-explore our world of government funding. Now that it has been turned upside down the state of Connecticut remains an eager
and active participant in such discussions. I applaud your efforts today. Members of the legislature and members of municipal government as you begin this process and I'm sure this is the beginning of dialogue not the end. And as we work together not only today but on in the future I feel confident that the state of Connecticut and the municipalities within it with our great congressional delegations will make sure that this state continues to prosper. It's important today that we review a little bit about the program that we're about to present to you. We've. Met earlier this year and had an opportunity to discuss with several miscible heads the notion of getting together at the state level with the municipal leaders and state leaders to discuss many of our varied concerns and upon adjourning that particular meeting. We recognize that of course there was a specific element that was missing and so therefore the genesis of the notion of an idea of putting together a federal state and local gathering of this
nature where we would have the opportunity to share dialogue and concerns and lay the groundwork for future sessions of this nature. This is the family in the workplace as you know the Senate has quite an agenda. I think there are about 30 bills dealing with this subject in the state legislature. John Larson went to Washington and testified on the subject. We've been working on it for about six months now. So it is quite a full plate. And it'll be interesting to hear the national perspective on this subject. As always there's a great deal that can be done at the state level in areas such as this. But of course we've got to be careful because the great danger that states run up against when and acting. Large scale
legislation such as this. Is what does it do for US Visa V New York or Massachusetts or Rhode Island or indeed states all across the nation. The argument will be made that if Connecticut goes too far. Our industry and business will feel that they're under pressure in some areas perhaps and will be in competition with other states. So from that one small slice of it. All of these issues take on a national perspective. And Connecticut of course being a leader in many areas as we are. We're also interested in keeping a competitive edge over other states. And therefore we look to the national government to catch up in some instances with Connecticut Sometimes we have to catch up with them but oftentimes we're looking to them to push other states in our direction so that we can do what's right for our people and at the same time remain economically viable. We now have men we have women we have children living in street corners and in hovels we have a country where the federal government's responsibility for
taking care of the funding made fundamental basic human needs has retrenched to a point where I think there is now some universal agreement that we need to take action. I'm going to spend a couple seconds to go over chairman Ford's proposal for welfare reform. But I think it's important to understand that there is one terrible ingredient that most politicians want to avoid in this problem and that is additional revenue that you can move the programs around as much as you like but without additional revenue from either the state federal or local governments. There will be no improvement in the lot of most of these Americans. That we have a situation today where we're going to have to make choices between a 62 percent increase in the Star Wars budget and an increase in housing in education and food programs. And there are no miracle formulas. There are very few opportunities for budgetary maneuvering to rescue us from this confrontation. The United States Congress which me and my two colleagues here sit in have sold Conrail. I think it is three times now in order to get the budget in
balance. We may be able to do it a fourth and a fifth time but the reality is that we have to address these problems. Under the new proposal I think there is another danger that what starts out as reform simply becomes change and that is part of what my problem was frankly with the tax bill. And I fear that all of us agree that something needs to be done. But six months or a year down the road is there's pressure for a legislative response prior to the elections that rather than real reform any improvement in the system for delivering services. We will drop back to take the short term gain of a change in the program. And that frankly will not be enough. We cannot simply move the players around on the table or as many say we cannot simply move the deck chairs around the Titanic. We need a new policy. There's no question that the workplace has changed. I happen to be one of the younger members of the Congress and and I've seen many of my peers and many of my colleagues out there in the workplace going
through tremendous changes. It's a matter of fact about 55 percent of the entire workforce has both spouses in the workforce. Mom and Dad 51 percent of all women with children under three are now in the workforce. Tremendous changes over the last 20 and 30 years and I think we need to address some of those issues. I know that in our discussions the question of daycare childcare will be coming up. There are some 40 proposals pending in the Congress addressing those issues. And I think we need to weed out and find the best proposals you're going to hear a lot of talk I think about paternal and maternal leave. There is pro and con arguments that I think need to be aired. And it's certainly a more flexible workplace. I've heard some of the discussions in the legislative process in the hearings about changes that are going to take place and as Kon mentioned as a state legislator for four years I saw many changes taking place. The good news I believe with the Connecticut General Assembly as well as the delegation is that we're always able to find some middle
ground. And I've seen in the past six or so years that when the unions and or the industry representatives come forward with suggestions or proposals. Usually through the process we work something out in the middle the parentally bill in the Senate very simply says that at the time of the birth adoption or the serious illness of a child that parents fathers and mothers ought to be able to take some time off unpaid leave where their job security is protected in the benefits. That they have accrued will also be protected and that is considered a radical idea in this country. The irony is is that we're one of the few nations left on the face of this earth that doesn't have a parental leave policy. Even third world nations as Haiti and the Philippines have parental leave policies all the NATO countries the Soviet Union all our major trading partners Japan and others have parental leave policies and have had them for years and years. In fact some of our own businesses in this country it's not going Conn. Is that a parental leave policy for 10
years and works very very well for 14000 people in this state and they have not suffered economically because why are we suggesting this at these particular times birth adoption and serious illness of a child. Well obviously there is nothing more profound or cataclysmic if you will in the life of a family then the arrival of a newborn and any child psychologist will tell you that that bonding period is essential for not only the family but obviously that newly arrived in minimum periods of time minimum periods of time where just the health of the mother is involved. A four to five weeks minimum just for her. And yet when you start talking about the ability to readjust the plan for the family to take care of the special needs that will occur you need a little more time than that. The point is that too often we're asking people to make choices between their jobs and their families. Ask anybody at all in this country is going to employ. What the most important consideration or concern of theirs is in their lives and to their families. They
worry most about that certainly their employees are no different. And yet because of the tremendous constraints people are forced to make those choices they're forced to lie they're forced to do all sorts of things in order to try and accommodate those two events. And yet we know as well that with that kind of strain and pressure is placed on a family a whole host of other problems that arise drug abuse alcohol abuse child abuse create tremendous problems in the and the numbers go right off the chart where you create that kind of tension. This is a very important term for women and families in America. The workforce is being asked to respond to the fact that most employees male and female. Have important family responsibilities not just breadwinner responsibilities. And so for the first time we are trying to force the workplace to respond to that reality in the lives of their employees as
in years past we did force the workplace to respond to new knowledge and new awareness on our part of safety issues in the workplace of environmental issues in the workplace. We are now really following on in that tradition and trying to require the workplace to be conscious of family responsibilities of their employees and how those responsibilities impact on the workplace and how work responsibilities constrain and disadvantage the rearing of our children in America. I believe everything that we can do to encourage businesses to be more flexible in their requirements of their employees is advantageous. I don't see how we can legislate how we can mandate that all companies have alternate work schedules. We have a long tradition of public law that prevents people from working for longer work days so that they don't
have to work five shorter work days. And I think we ought to review that policy because if both parents can work four days instead of five the need for childcare is diminished from a five day requirement to a three day requirement which is enormously better for children and yet out of collective bargaining tradition an organized labor tradition we have built into our laws. Very hostile opposition. To the very flexibility that our families now. Me in the workplace. So I think we ought to look at our role in structuring the workday and we ought to step back on that role looking rather at the role the relationship between employer and employee in the context of a week or of a month. And I'm concerned and I hear all of these wonderful programs they're being projected what ramifications will they have on the municipality and in the town of Weathersfield when our property revenues our property tax
revenues now equal almost 75 percent of our total revenues. Where will listen for the the local taxpayers in terms of property tax support versus other programs that have those ramifications. I think you know part of that will provide a cost to you. Hopefully the new welfare proposals will recognize the federal government's role to a greater degree than we have in the last six years. But when it comes to issues like parental leave I think you know there are times when society takes a step forward that used to be that workers would have to sit down and negotiate with management for safety considerations and they'd be a negotiating process that would lead to you know covers on flywheels electrical boards and what have you. We got to state in society we said no not any more. No more negotiations on that issue. Everybody deserves a certain level of safety I think we're coming to a point where unlike the 1950s and 40s when major portions of our population lived on the farm virtually all families had at least one person home. We're in a different stage in society if we want to hold the
society together. There are going to be some cost to society we're not going to be able to give you easy answers from Washington but without any question the damage that's being done is a cost to you directly. That may be far greater than the cost of trying to hold families together and giving parents an opportunity to rear those children so you don't deal with them dropping out of high school so you don't end up having them with vandalism problems or less of those things. So you have less you know of the problems that we face today in a society. So I guess the choice is short term. Short term I guess avoiding that responsibility is cheaper long term. I think the senator's proposal and the one that's in the House will strengthen communities around this country. In that sense make your job easier. In our discussions now for the past hour or so we've not raised some of the concerns of a maternal paternal leave policy and I think we need to know what the consequences are number one yes it's a mandated benefit. The costs are going to be passed down is going to cost incurred both by industry businesses and by municipalities. I think you also
have to look at the discrimination factors. And this is a legitimate concern that I think we all need to have. If we mandate these benefits and we can argue whether it's going to be 15 employees more alas and we can argue some of the other particulars of whether to have parents involved or not. The point is that once we mandate those benefits you're then going to be in a situation where employers somewhere along the line to be making some tough decisions they're going to decide what the cost of having a young woman is or the potential costs of having a young woman in their workforce. And I'm very concerned that those young women could indeed be discriminated against. Those young women as they step forward and a potential employer says well she's just gotten married there's a potential for having one to five kids that could have a devastating effect. You know let me get let me just. Just to give a mandated program then a sort of NEA level playing field. Well let me let me just finish the point. We're going to have probably another another seminar here next year and it's going to be about competitiveness. And the reason I say that is that each and every one of us
have had to address the issue of competitiveness that industry is getting socked out there by foreign competition. All the arguments that we have. We complain and scream that other governments subsidize their businesses subsidize their industries help them with their exports. They're dumping in our area our response has been the action the absolute reverse. We don't support any export subsidies we don't get involved. As a matter of fact with all of our mandates whether it's parental maternal leave whether it's some of the other health mandates we've talked about by doing that I think we're hurting much of our industry. But John and I. Let me just a resource officer thought I was ready that I get was made on the minimum wage in the 40 hour work week and child labor laws you go back in every single situation where we try to improve the condition of employees and business and industry cons. make the same arguments we've suggested we look at the issue. We ask the geo to come up with some cost factors. We're being told that it's anti-competitive it's outrageously costly and that there's no data yet to support that conclusion. I would suggest that business might demonstrate a little more willingness to look at the bill if they
devaluate the impact before deciding what the impact is. We've had four women in the last 18 months take their time off. You hire someone else to come in for a year and then the young lady comes back how are you going to address that in your bill. Well a couple of ways one is you can you can leave it flexible enough that you talking about a like job doesn't have to be the same job. They've been some suggestions some good one from businesses that have been at least when I look at the bill that maybe there ought to be a a a period of time in which you're an employee as well maybe six months or something so that you're not confronted with someone who's coming into it could come in Prag you in effect and have a problem that way. I'm willing to look at those kinds of things certainly that are legitimate questions that could be raised in which to to accommodate the interest you have highly specialized people that are very difficult to replace. You've got to. Be sensitive about that I'm not insensitive to those things that's a question looking at and trying to draft an intelligent bill. I just get a little irate when I hear about the conclusions drawn on these things about how violent it's going to be to the competitive spirit of America how costly it's going to be when no one knows that.
You know you can be proud of the delegation that you see up here and the answers they gave you they're not like W.C. Fields on WC Fields was playing the role of a senator during the Depression. The reporters all flocked up to him the light bulbs were popping they stuck the microphones in there his face they said. Senator Fields. Senator Fields what's the solution to this depression. And Senator Fields said money. We need money. Well the answers that you heard today were a little more complex than that. We've got a delegation that knows their business. They do their homework. And I'm very proud of the people at this table. Thank you very much. Thank you. We had some very stimulating proposals put before us this morning and some very interesting discussion. I think we all know that proposals without money don't really accomplish very much. So we're going to be looking at this next period at how we're going to pay for some of these proposals how we
share the costs at the various levels of government reduce that deficit each and every one of you know as elected officials as people who serve in government. Every action has a reaction. And when you're talking about reducing that deficit you know and I know we're talking about some very very serious questions and some things we have to take very seriously in how because we're going to do it we're going to do it. And I know it's been a week in Virginia doing demographics for health care where the numbers are the future and we're going to start writing that bill on welfare reform in ways it means Thursday. So we were doing our demographics of where we're going. The only good news of the three day conference with some of the best minds in the United States was a Social Security program is in good shape. As a matter of fact even with the baby boom it works I think those people who started Social Security are going to go down in history like our constitutional fathers having done something and done it right not like the 86 tax bill. And I read in the car as I get home yesterday they can do that
deficit. They can look at Social Security. Now I hate to say it because I'm always accused of being a politician but it is one of the most politically popular programs that we have and it's working and it's becoming a subsidy down the line because more people are being vested more people having pensions. So I don't think that's the direction we're going. We are going to look at the right plan and the right plan means taking 36 billion dollars and having half of it in new. Revenues and half of it in cuts and that's where we're going in. I mean one of the the great damage is done and it certainly isn't solely done by President Reagan but he certainly contributed greatly to it. One of the greatest damage is done over the last six years was the suggestion that asking people to pay for the government that they think they need and want is some kind of a sin. Who should be heard to talk about taxes. What a terrible thing to talk about. Can anybody be elected to office in America who suggests that
if you want things to be done by government they ought not to be paid for. Magically the money will come from lotteries and and the cities and God knows what taxes. Let's stay away from it. This is a pretty great country we live in as a great state that we live in. We're all pretty glad about it we're not looking to go somewhere else and there's a price to be paid for that. And I think it's about time that the leaders in this country stood up and said straight to the American people not that we should waste money and tax people to death but that if you want a great democratic society to function in the long run you better be ready to pay the price in the short run and our failure to do that is really a serious problem and we need we need to speak out against that for some reason or other Congress seems to have forgotten that the right to a roof and the right to a home is a basic American right just like the right to freedom the right to eat and the right to medical care. So we're going to have to do is come up with some pretty innovative new ideas which will
cajole my colleagues back into the housing market. They will never come back into the housing market in southwestern Connecticut because of land prices. So what can we do. Every city and every town has got to inventory its land. Figure out what it's got. And I don't ask any mayor to give it away I don't ask any mayor to throw away the future of the town. To take that land that they have that hasn't paid taxes. We can no longer afford for instance to not condemn a piece of property that doesn't pay its real estate taxes in two years instantaneously and to take those pieces of land and make that the town's contribution along with sidewalks. Streets street lights and far hydrants.
With zero cost of land there's almost no limit to what you can do and how you can control the price of the finished product. And in fact the zero cost of land is one of the strongest spurs to the linkage I was talking about before it. Gets the businessman to get involved. But the government will never again ever ever ever will never see it pay forty thousand to build a new townhouse on a $70000 building. I hope to come up here today and listen to some congressman who had the guts to stand up and say I agree with Speaker Wright we should hold that tax rate at 38 percent so we can take care of our deficit sewing send some money to our states and to our municipalities. And help get the job done I haven't heard any of that today I'm very disappointed I hope to hear some of it before we leave. Barbara mentioned it I guess I didn't give Bill the answer he wanted though because all I said
and you know Bill I don't tell you how to be mayor and I know you've done those things and I salute you. I tried to tell you. Here is a 435 members of Congress with the president adamantly against that rate being frozen at thirty eight point five. Knowing that the Ways and Means Committee will be voting very soon on these 18 billion dollars of revenues knowing where the votes are there knowing where the votes are on the floor. I just got to tell you the votes are not there for the thirty point thirty eight point five and the only one so far publicly out for it is Mr. Right. I salute him for being a leader. Putting that on the table the very next week he put on the table to have taxes on every stock transaction. And I understand this week he is coming out with a new tax. His position is let's find the votes that we can pass because we're going to have those revenues. I'm sorry about your disappointment but I think I have found a least support for that particular venture where in fact as I was a member the Ways and Means Committee and doing the tax 86 reform
bill and voted for that very number as the top rate. So you and I are in the same position of disappointment. However facts of facts and realism is realism and is right now one vote for that particular proposal. We can. He ideological and say this is lovely Let's do this but we're now it's not going to happen and so I agree with Barbara what we're trying to do is count I mean I passed in an almost record time with a lot of thanks to to my good friend the majority leader of the house. Tom Foley a homeless bill of five hundred million dollars which was a lot of money which isn't even in the budget but it's been passed and the Senate's going to pass the same thing. And yet I still have said less than one apt a noun for about 45 minutes to people from other parts of the country who well-intentioned and everything else just think this homeless is a bunch of a crock Why don't you people in our at the state care your citizens and leave us poor people who'd take care of our people all right.
I tell you that I wouldn't mind voting for the thirty eight point five but my colleagues are correct that we're never going to get to the point. Those of us who are not on ways and means at least of ever voting on that. I think that the more important commitment I think you've heard it from all three members and that's why I think your question's a little misplaced is all three members up here have said they are for revenue. They're for a tax that can be passed in order to do something reasonable with respect to the budget that tries to maintain a commitment. We're not going to restore the kind of commitment that you would like to see and that I would like to see. In one year. The first step that we're going to have to get over is the willingness to bring revenue into the picture of dealing with the deficit and whether that's a gasoline tax or whether that's liquor taxes. We should try to make it as fair and as broad based as possible but we should not say there's only one kind of tax whether it be the income tax or only an excise tax where there's only one kind of tax that we're
willing to vote for. And any other taxes out. Because the basic hurdle that we have to get over is the willingness that part of the solution of the deficit problem is on the revenue side. And if we can make that leap and I think you'll hear at least the three people on this panel saying they all want to do that and we're ready to do that and I think you should consider that a step in the right direction alone think you ever had to convince the three of us that that was something that needed doing. The problem. And everyone he has here is involved in politics the problem is that people don't want to vote for taxes and see them veto. Do you either of you anticipate any. Chance that we're going to see a reduction in strategic defense initiative in the in the military budget in general and put some of that money toward housing welfare reform which I know Barbara you've been out front on although Time magazine gave Bill Clinton the credit for it. Do either you see any reshift ing of that priority to domestic after 88.
We're going to spend this year hopefully. Cross my fingers five hundred million dollars on the new health care reform. That's a lot of money but you can't do job training you can't do education equivalency you can't put somebody in a position to work if you don't have that daycare and that support service and that means some administration costs that we can't give to you only that we've got to be part of that work. And it's definitely flexible. It means that we sure can provide some money. But you've got to provide the hands on. What you know what you know in these states. Every state is different. I wish we had a living standard locked in there we don't but what we are going to do is attempt to have every state at least spend 15 percent of median income. And that means those states of costly brought the system down and in our national levels where we are with other countries who don't give anything will at least be brought up to a national level and then when we have lack of money like we do that's the hope is through us about SDI in particular. Talk to the defense manufacturers in this state and you will see what's been
done with SDI why they pawn pumps billions and billions of dollars in much more than could be justified for any sensible research program and it was to create a jobs program so that everybody now who's coming around to used to talk about helicopters and jet engines now wants to talk about parts for various parts of the SDI program and that's that's a trend that's going on all over America and that's part of the pork barrel approach to defense which seems to me is agree just but it's out there and it's going to have a long term effect it's going to take years to work that out of the system. One of the things that's beginning to fascinate me and it just absolutely blows my mind is that a lot of my Democratic colleagues are trying to out Reagan Reagan and they from the south the southwest and that really disturbs me because. It seems to me that we're sharing in a period where if you hang conservative there.
And having been in the minority of the minority for so many years just let me tell you it's not fun. We've seen a deterioration obviously in the funding and the partnership between the federal government and local level and I think most of us here recognize at least from municipal point of view that federal funding and is pretty much nonexistent. It's tough to adjust to that and I think the states recognize some of that concern but perhaps what bothers me the most is that we're going through this just meant we've seen all of the housing programs gone and revenue sharing and and literally billions of dollars in other programs. And now we've gone to an extreme in that way. We're now looking at the possibility of being assessed taxes on fuel and so on by the federal government. And as Barbara mentioned the one point for fy for Social Security would doing a survey on a statewide basis to see cme to look at the costs. I think that was considered a few years ago it was eight or nine million dollars for the state of Connecticut the time my time alone it's three hundred thousand dollars. Enough is enough. You know you're backed against the wall. Our property tax rates
for probably everybody in this room on a miserable level have been increasing every year. We don't have the luxury of reducing taxes if we want to maintain the programs. And my real concern now is this is this 1 point 4 5 on the Medicaid program and Barbara maybe you can let us know what is happening at least with that mandates. Frightening to us particularly as we try and Budget. Well I think that's how I began my speech is that when you're talking about reducing the deficit every action has a reaction. Everything that is a revenue source is being looked at to reduce the deficit be to just carry out the budget we had last year plus inflation. And I don't want to you know let's not put it all bad. One of the reasons we can turn now and realize that we have problems with children is that we've done a magnificent job in raising numbers of elderly out of the poverty situation to having subsistence that has dignity. Federal governments have done some things that are good but right now having spent those huge sums in a 1 80 81 82 83 in your military budget it happen. Having cut your taxes a drs Bill and me crazy
what was a cut from the top two to now to where we're going down to 28 percent. Those things cost money they pull the revenues out of the federal government it gives us a deficit. Add to that the trade deficit and you've got a very bad national economic situation where we read every day the editorial say reduce that deficit. You have to reduce it by raising monies in other areas. Every single thing that's a revenue source is being looked at. These are some of the things that are being looked at. And that's what we're trying to be frank with you today. But on the other side of the coin we are doing certain things in the block grant area. We are doing some other things that we are fighting to keep. And that have to be paid for in this deficit situation. So I don't think it's all bad and black and fortunately and let's at least say how wonderful that we do have some money in the state and that we are able to do some things and to fill some gaps. There were times when the federal government had it all and we got none. Now we have none and you have some. And that's the beauty of the system is why the Constitution works in three levels of government
works. It's never been easy let me just tell you quickly. That's weak and I was on demographically why I'm so glad to say Social Security is healthy. The age thing hold what is how it's going to affect our whole national health system you talk about a national health program. What it's going to cost our local communities in our states and our federal government just starting 1091 our whole population is living so much longer we need long term care. Government isn't easy. The what we get paid well I guess we get paid a lot but what people get paid to do the job you're doing isn't easy the answers aren't easy. We probably wouldn't be in the job we were in if it was easy answers but we're wrestling with them and we're trying to solve them and we don't want to hurt the communities. But everyone's going to have to take a piece of we're going to get rid of this deficit. Thank you now for all the questions that you wanted to have answered. I couldn't wait to have answered We have a distinguished group of panelists here
who can bring things together for you. What we didn't hear much of today and which is what's so frightening to municipalities like mine is that you sure didn't hear much about leadership on the revenue side and I don't frankly need a lot of warning as to what the damage will be if all of our municipal employees have to go on Medicare that the municipalities will have to pick up that one point four or five percent. I know what that means or that we might have to another of their revenue raising measures might be as Tony pointed out to you. To make the municipalities pay the sales tax on the things we buy that are presently exempt from sales tax. To me it isn't much leadership and revenue raising to say we're going to raise taxes but who's going to pay the taxes. The municipalities not even to go to the people. I'm pleased that our delegation is least thinking about some of the sin taxes because in actually they
are paid for by individuals. But the idea that a portion of this 18 million dollars in revenue will come by throwing more burdens on the municipalities so that we in turn then have to go out and raise our taxes some more to send the money on to the federal government is very depressing. And I have enough depression at home. Trying to run city. And if we're just going to come here and get more depressing news I don't know how many more of these I'm going to come to. It's it's time really to put the pressure on our congressman. I mean these are good people that we had up here today. And if they don't have the nerve to stand up and say I think I think Congressman Wright is on track and maybe that particular one won't. Maybe we can't keep it at 38 1/2 percent. But by golly we got it out there raising taxes I mean if people if they if the congressman from Connecticut aren't willing to to give the speaker of the house a big boost. Boy who would who in the world is going to do it. So I think that we as municipal and
state officials perhaps if anything have to become more militant in going after them. I would like to we have we only heard from the federal delegation. I would like to hear from some of our state officials. What we can expect to be the state's role in filling this gap. I came here honestly this morning. Hoping to hear that hear from one delegation as to how the state and local governments in the federal government might forge a new relationship. As we deal with the problems that many cities in Connecticut are faced with I'm sure that most selectman and and the mayors who were here were hoping to hear some sweet words of how the federal government was going to assist them as they try to grapple with them and the many many problems that many of our municipalities have in terms of more
obviously more aid for for drop job training that's needed in most of our cities. More money for community development in terms of rebuilding some of our own neighborhoods and more monies in terms of ah how are we going to deal with the homeless problems and many of our many of us in our cities. And as a state legislator I also expect to hear how the federal government was going to impact on on Connecticut and provide resources for Connecticut so that we may help. Also assist local government in terms of meeting its responsibility in meeting its needs. Well. I didn't hear that. I think the response what I did here is that Connecticut you're going to have to deal with your problems the best way that you possibly can without expecting any help from the federal government. In my town because of budgetary constraints we don't have a director of social service I function as that person and as a result I'm directly involved with welfare
AFDC and for for the medical welfare that that is carried out by a small staff of one of the problems we face and I think it's got to be addressed is that we haven't faced is that we really are even though we have we aren't letting women go back to work because of the of the discounted payments under there when they go back to work they start paying a penalty and then there's the money that they that they're allowed for daycare really isn't enough after they've been in the back of the workforce for a short period of time they start losing more and more credits and it's almost it's a very tough choice for them because. It's almost just as easy to stay home as it is to go to work even though many of them want to work. They have two or three kids. There are certain minimum is that they can earn their money is reduced and that's something that the General Assembly of the state of Connecticut and perhaps the Congress could be addressing.
They always lag the problem as I've observed it and it's tough for them to to be incentivized to work with two or three kids and no husband. And that's where most of the welfare money is going. I guess I share many people's feeling at least on the revenue panel that some depression hearing from our congressman the massive federal budget deficits extraordinary needs of our society at the state local and federal level. I suppose the one thing that I got out of that is something that I've heard before maybe 10 sunk in and it's an important message I think for all of us. We really are not just entering we entered years ago. A new type of politics and it's a politics of less. Congressman McKinney mentioned that he didn't call it that but he was using terms like we've got to start getting more for less in this country and at all levels of government. The days where we can look to Washington D.C. for massive federal assistance
in many of our areas of need are over. We're certainly not going to see them in the near future. And all of us have to look to a way of achieving our common goals and that was another reaction I suppose I had I heard a lot of consensus on what the problems were but probably not a lot of very specific answers on how we're going to solve those problems. And again I think what Congressman Kennedy said we're going to have to look to new and innovative ways to solve the problems that face our nation our cities our towns our state. And we're going to have to be able to do that with less reliance on federal financial assistance. We're blessed in the state of Connecticut with a budget surplus. But reading between the lines of what Congress and Morrison said he did mention that very popular politically in the short run anyways spend a lot of money when you don't have to raise taxes. I've been there. That is
popular in the short run. We're faced with this in the state of Connecticut. We have the ability with our budget surplus to probably spend more than we can afford to sustain in the in the ensuing years in this state without looking towards tax increases without cutting back assistance to local governments conceivably to balance our state budget our state of Connecticut should get a message from this panel this program today. And that is to have some type of moderate restraint as we start putting our budget together for the state of Connecticut because if we fall into a trap of short term spending when we don't have to raise taxes because this year we have the ability to do so we're going to be signaling a problem for the future. And if we exercise some restraint restraint we can sustain the positive achievements that we've made in this in the state of Connecticut including budget surpluses. We spend it all this year it's probably gone. We heard something about cycles. Maybe somebody is going to be wrong in
88 well cycles eventually do turn down. We really have to start exercising in this state even though we have in the short run the ability to do otherwise some restraint and looking at trying to get. More bang from the buck for every dollar that we spend. Look towards creative and innovative solutions to the problems confronting us and trying to get more. For every dollar that is spent trying to encourage municipalities to do more with every dollar that the state of Connecticut will be sending to the municipal governments and maybe that's a depressing message to have gotten out of it but it really is a challenge that I think all of us can work together on. Local government state government federal government and the private sector I believe that was the whole purpose for this assembly today is we all are in this together all levels of government public and private sectors as well to work together to find those creative and innovative solutions to the
problems that we can all acknowledge Republican-Democrat state local federal really doesn't matter. We all can identify the problems we have to start working together in a creative way to help solve them. Those solutions I'm afraid really didn't come out strongly today. Maybe that's a topic for another one of these but that we're all in this together and we'll have to work together for those solutions to the problems is a very clear message today and I don't think that's a depressing message. I mean that's really a challenge that I think all of us have leaders of various levels of government can rise to the occasion to to work together and solve it. So I you know I leave this forum today rather hopeful that now that we've identified problems and we know the limits to all government levels to solve those problems that we can set our directions in a new area in a new direction anyways set our sights towards.
Finding those solutions that have been rather elusive this morning panel we heard about welfare reform parental leave daycare initiatives long term care proposals catastrophic health health care and I think that there was consensus among the panel members that these are all issues that were extraordinarily important to the economic health and future of the United States. Senator Dodd indicated that the way we really have to look at this issue is look at it in terms of an economy in transition which I subscribe to Connecticut under took about two and a half years ago an effort to take a look at the Connecticut economy in transition which we called jobs for Connecticut's future and through a two year effort we looked at what the jobs of the future are going to look like and what the skill content necessary to engage in those jobs are going to are going to require those kinds of efforts at
being future oriented or the kinds of things that we in the state of Connecticut have been engaged in for a long long time. But I sat here and watched the transformation take place before this morning's panel. Between this morning's panel and this afternoon's panel in which a very bleaker picture was painted it is clear and it has been clear for the last six years that the federal deficit has been driving much of national policy both economic policy and domestic social domestic policy and even defense policy. But I think in part because the record of in fact reducing the size of the federal deficit has been so poor that we have really laid off on the deficit in excuse for sorting out the relationships the appropriate relationships between federal state and local government which I think this form was intended to do and is heading in the right direction. We're going to have to do
more with that with in that regard but it is I think a very important first step. What I think came out from my point of view very clearly this morning is that from the state's perspective what we need as the federal government looks at any change in national policies whether it's on the issue of welfare or on the issue of daycare is some additional administrative flexibility. I think it was recognized by our members of Congress that that is necessary. I think we have to sit down with municipal units of government and talk about what kinds of flexibility we need to build into any future efforts at real reform. We need I think to work much closer and this is I think a fault of the state and perhaps fault of the municipal governments in the state. We need to work much closer with municipal municipal governments in forging a policy or a
perspective that the state of Connecticut has with respect to federal issues. We need to be much clearer in the signals that we send to our congressional delegation about what positions we want them to take on issues before the Congress. And I think that we need to figure out how to begin that dialogue and begin it immediately. I think that Representative J is right that the era of Moore is over and others said it. The federal government. I don't see in the near future re assuming its prominent role on issues such as housing issues such as environmental cleanup. I think that we in the states and local governments are going to be looked towards for the leadership for solutions. And I think it's been true over the last six years that that has been the case. What I've heard from our response up here is that we need a
forum where we can explore innovation where we can explore ideas and more importantly we need a forum that addresses solutions. And collectively we will be. Getting out to a number of you have been here today through the good offices of C CM and also through leadership in the general assembly will be getting out to you critique forums and suggestions for the kind of form that you would like to see. Today as I said was the first step we got started a little late. We ran a little long and parts of our particular program and were looking really for your input so that we can provide the residents of this state of Connecticut with the best kind of representation that they can have and therefore make it a better state. And we conclude this special edition of Connecticut lawmakers beginning a gathering of officials at the federal state and local level as they search for common ground to seek solutions to problems that affect all of Connecticut
at the state capitol. Connecticut public television. I'm Bob Douglas. This has been Connecticut lawmaker special edition working together for Connecticut. It was sponsored by the Connecticut General Assembly in collaboration with Connecticut's congressional delegation and the Connecticut conference of municipalities the Connellsville conference center. At the University of Hartford.
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Connecticut Lawmakers
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Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (Hartford, Connecticut)
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Connecticut Lawmakers is a weekly news show featuring reports about Connecticut state government and politics.
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Family and Workplace
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Politics and Government
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Chicago: “Connecticut Lawmakers,” Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-398-5693257z.
MLA: “Connecticut Lawmakers.” Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-398-5693257z>.
APA: Connecticut Lawmakers. Boston, MA: Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-398-5693257z