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Oh. Connecticut lawmakers the governor addresses business leaders on business day at the state capitol. Lloyd wimpish reports on the company's offer to run Hartford schools. From Washington more health care debate. And crime and done. That another state capitol here. I'm Bob Douglas welcome to this week's edition of Connecticut lawmakers speaking to business leaders at the state capitol this week. Governor Weicker urged them to urge their state lawmakers to pass legislation that he has supported that would reduce their business taxes. Here are excerpts from the governor's address. Where does the state sit in regards to its recovery and very solid shape as you heard me say in the last couple of months. The corner has been turned. That's very clear from the revenues in terms of sales taxes corporate taxes income taxes.
It's very clear that the recovery has been under way for some time now. It's also clear in terms of new job creation and the declining unemployment statistics. What is important now since you're here on the Hill and I call the Hill is that we you and I make sure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated and that probably is my greatest concern. The fact is that all the good principles that guide you to success in your own businesses have to certainly also apply to a government. And by that the money that you put into research and development into maintaining your equipment is State of the art all the things that bring about a solidly growing business they also apply to the state of Connecticut
and you can go ahead and you know run in the red for very long before obviously you have no business at all and neither can the state of Connecticut. So I don't really have to go over all the principles to use take what applies to you and what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. And I know what the temptations out there are. We still live in a generation nationally that thinks there is such a thing as a free lunch and there's not. It's just as simple as that. We in New England especially have prided ourselves on holding on to the old values when it comes to fiscal responsibility and yet we could very well still get swept along in this tide of feeling that there is some easy answer and some meaningful solution that carries no price with it. I would hope for example that we will continue in the years ahead to understand that the basis of our prosperity is the private sector and
go ahead and continue to work on those matters as effects the tax policies of the state of Connecticut. Other policies of the state that will encourage business to come to Connecticut and to stay in Connecticut and to grown Connecticut. I know that we all read some dire stories about you know this outfit leaving without leaving the fact is that by the actions that you and I have taken in the past three years you have an entirely new economic base being built in the state. All the old buildings which we saw throughout our state that were left over from an era of prosperity back in in the 20s in the 30s and right after World War Two very much represented what was wrong also in terms of the structure of the state. I know I've told you the story many times before but it's again worth repeating here. In a in a physical sense
because it makes the point come home that that the intellectual structures of the state have declined as to when. If you recall in my first year in office. Pardon the repetition but I don't know a better stories is when we had to threaten to close several of the state parks and U.S. Surgical came along and offered to supply the money. To keep several of them open we had the ceremony down at the head of meadows and I got there about a half hour earlier and there was a young man had medals hadn't been tended to as it had expected to be close. He was a young man and on a gang more blowing mowing the grass and I went up to him was 1991 and asked him you know I said boy I haven't seen one of these since my grandfather's day I said you know could you tell me when it was made 1936 1936 where mow the grass with Morris in 1936. And then the other stories I loved to tell of the governor's residence was not immune from you know disregard of the infrastructure of standing there and telling Senator in a
way how great our submarines submarines that we made in Connecticut were extolling the values of the sea Wolf. And right in the middle of the word Sea Wolf a great three foot section of the ceiling fell right on his head. So you know the physical just to just to look at it physically really should have told us something even if we didn't understand the eating away process that had taken place. Both as far as governmental fiscal policy was concerned and how it tried to make up for a bankrupt policy by placing the price on those segments of the economy that eventually would come to show the wear and tear and and lose the jobs in our state of Connecticut. So you know let's not go back let's keep on pushing for those changes that make sense. I mean for example I'm I was excited when we enacted the R&D tax credit
because I know where we want to go in terms of high tech. And I've got to say to you I'm really excited I obviously hasn't been passed yet but the idea of eliminating the personal property tax on computers etc. and that's actually essential to our state. And all this type of activity that's going on that is going to try to restructure Connecticut in terms of its private sector and it's been going on it will continue to go on I know this legislature is going to produce some very good results I don't obviously they're in the middle of their deliberations right now but I get a very good sense that that they're still on this track but I suppose my request of you is to make sure we stay on that track as it applies to fiscal responsibility both the practice of government and fiscal responsibility as applies to our tax policies and our our other policies that impact on business in the state that our economy and our strength is based on the private sector and not government employment.
After thanking the business leaders for their support the governor turned to one program not just the legislature that he hopes will pass with the urging of the business community a program to help educate young people and as much as we can talk about policies and tax policies and business policies and all the rest. The fact is the human factor is still the most important. And here in the state of Connecticut we are in the process of doing a terrible disservice to our young people. Now this is pure and simple is that we are not educating all of them. We're not giving opportunity to all of them. We're not assuring that they have the basic elements. All of them of life such as health care and decent roof over that were not doing their job. And that's our future.
No matter how successful I make any one of you or your corporations in this room what good is it if there's nobody to leave it to. And I think that's really what concerns me has concerned me throughout a public career certainly concerns me now admittedly I could do much about that fiscal circumstances denied that during the first few years of being governor of the state of Connecticut. But there are no more excuses ladies and gentlemen. The government's in sound shape. The blacks have been will continue to be reported another surplus in the in the state budget Come come June 30th and the time has come now to address this matter of our children. And I don't want to see some sporadic tear roll down your cheeks my cheek when some horrible event takes place in one of our communities as it impacts upon a youngster that's not enough. We know what the problems are. We just have refused over too long a period of time and has not been in the last four years but in the last decade.
To go ahead and give a portion of our great resources here in the state of Connecticut to persons other than ourselves. One of the items which I have in this year's budget to me it's the most important part of the budget. You asked me to pick one thing that budgets important to me outside of the fiscal business or that I touch upon. It is what I call Project Hope. This is the endeavor which sets aside money to guarantee to each child in the state within 130 percent of the poverty level. And if they maintain their attendance in school and their grades and all the qualifications for admission they will be guaranteed a college education. You know the power of the word incentive. If you're a part of this
free market establishment and the private sector it's a powerful word for you and for your customers. And so it is with a child. And I really have to say to all of you that is I deem you know as I as I view the world around us. You know it's the hopelessness that is responsible for so much of what we see. Oh I can certainly introduce tougher gun legislation as Can my friends in the legislature we get all these various symptoms but there's got to be an incentive. There's got to be the word hope and it's so lacking of all the programs I want to see that happen. I want to see somebody in the seventh grade understanding that that that world that we take for granted is available to them. I go down the rest the checklist of the things that impact our children there. They're on the budget but I would hope as the business community you'd go outside the interest of the business community or the
at least those interests that are perceived as as as being objective and get into these matters. Because they will impact us to whether we have the kind of a labor force the human factor. I remember in my first campaign back in for the Senate in 1970 when I was Joe Duffy And. And in that time Dodd myself. And I had been on the house. I'd served one term in the House of Representatives and I was on the House Space committee and I remember Duffy was attacking in the back on the base of why do we want to send a you know manned space missions and then went to the moon. Could it just be done with you know automation unmanned missions. I was so clear in that debate from 1970 I kept on saying there's nothing that you can
manufacture that is better than the human mind and its ability to adjust and comprehend and calculate and resolve nothing. The education agenda continues to be an important one at the state capital and special interests in education and elsewhere have their eyes focused this week on Hartford where a private company has offered to take over the public school system. Lloyd wimpish has details. So hard for a school system has been plagued with financial and other serious problems in recent years. No drastic measures are being considered by the Board of Education. That includes bringing in a private firm to run the city's schools. We're getting ready to go into our budget process and usually the budget process is one of battling and concessions and fighting over money and people have asked us you know to be more creative and to think of some other ways and not to have to go through the same or
budget battles. And so this we just found out information about this farm and asked them to come in to see if perhaps they might be an alternative to some of our budget issues that we faced in the past. The bid to manage the Harvard School system is being made by education alternatives a firm based in Minneapolis. They currently operate schools in Minnesota Florida Arizona and Baltimore. They're going very well in Baltimore we started with nine schools we then got 10. We then had 11 now just a week before last we got our 12th school there so I think it kind of speaks for itself in the sense that the school board the superintendent continues to give us more and more opportunities to work with their children based upon our results. Why did you invite them in exploratory talks. They were offering some things that sounded very appealing and I think we had a responsibility to the children of Hartford to at least examine those proposals and to have a chance to talk
with them. Representatives from educational alternatives were. Hard for this week to meet with members of the Board of Education. City officials and leaders from unions and community groups. The delegation is led by the AI chairman John goalie who some describe as a master salesman. They outline plans to manage the local schools. The Harvard School System has a current budget of 170 million dollars. There are thirty two schools with some 25000 students. Education alternatives wants to run the entire school system. And for the company that would be a first. Yes it is it's the first time that we would attempt to partner with a whole district but we see this actually is easier. Because many of the problems if we had some problems in Baltimore others what they workers dealt singularly around the fact that we weren't working with the whole district. We have to recognize that there is no system that they have handled that they have been in five years. There has been no they have not had a high
school in Baltimore. They have not the test scores results are not there in Baltimore. Educational chairman is believes he can run the schools like a business and make a profit and improve the product. The company says it can offer Harvard better schools more computers improve student performance and make a capital investment of 20 million dollars. If we were to come in we would sign a performance contract that basically says we will invest money up front could be a significant sum of money to improve the facilities bring in technology to staff development training leaving all staff in place under their collective bargaining agreements and driven towards a performance contract. We will guarantee that student approval achievement will go up each and every year. Or you can kick us out at any point in time in 90 days notice. That's kind of their assurance to us that they're going to do the job that we've asked them to do. And one of the things that if we were to invite them in that we'd be looking for would be to improve student performance as well as being able to
have some economies in our in our budget. The legislature is considering a number of major school reform measures this year but nothing like the public private plan being considered in Hartford. It is being monitored very closely by key lawmakers. It could be a positive or a negative if the things that are going to happen is to make sure that they keep the school budget in. At a level place that the city can afford to fund school education and bring in some outside money that would be very helpful to the city but to the state. But I believe it improves the quality of education I think our free school system needs to be revamped. I think its curriculum needs to be revamped their school books are so out of date it 10 11 and 12 and I think the children need to feel that they're important. Officials from educational channels say they will not agree to manage the school system unless there is support from the unions. They say there will be no layoffs or pay cuts. But leaders of the Harvard Federation of Teachers you have some serious concerns.
Well I think that the teachers union has an understanding of privatization privatization is a very scary thing. They are telling us that this is not privatization. What we're proposing. If we were to get together here in Hartford is very very different than what we've done elsewhere. We have no intention whatsoever of displacing anyone trying to disrupt your bargaining agreement trying to offer different types of wages or benefits you would stay as public service employees and hopefully would just bring in more benefits such that their job would be easier and quite frankly more fulfilling would specially have questions not only for the sort of Staff. But the announcer had staff i.e. the secretaries and the custodial everybody who works in the system it is going to impact every single person we want to know what the impact is going to be and who is the boy going to answer to. Some members on the hundred Board of Education say bringing in a private firm should receive serious consideration but the plan will not move forward unless there is strong
support from the community. There are series of meetings that are going on now with their staff and our staff and then there would have to be some community involvement is to see whether or not there's a you know genuine interest in bringing them in. This is kind of a really new approach and people would really have to be behind it in order to make it work. A number of school districts across Connecticut are considering the possibility of bringing in private companies to manage some operations. Hartford could be the first in the state to have a private company operate the entire school system. A final decision is several weeks away in Hartford Lloyd Wimbush for Connecticut lawmakers. From Washington state residents and members of the state's congressional delegation revisit the health care issue. Kathleen Koch has this report. They came from across the country 51 older Americans to tell congressional leaders and the first lady how tough it is to get along under the current health care system. If you three year old Ruth Blaney of Weathersfield pays for her sister's care in a convalescent
home five years ago it cost twenty seven hundred dollars a month. Check I'm going to say next week is already eight or five. That does not include medication. It does not include her personal needs. How much longer we can keep this up. I don't know. 61 year old arugula Pino of West Haven has overcome breast and lung cancer and was facing hospitalization for brain cancer when doctors became worried about me. So they sent hospice to me. Thank God for Hospice in the home. I am here to tell you they have given me such support. I have courage now to live and I'm on my way to recovery and I don't have to worry about going in the hospital again. I ask you first lady to keep own care in your package. We need it all men and women. We need it.
Hillary Clinton told the seniors that issues like long term care were high on her agenda too. We have to begin providing options for long term care that include home health care that include community based health care. I thought we believed in family values in America. Well we sure haven't acted like it. We have given too many of our older Americans and their families only one choice. Spend your life savings or spend yourself into poverty and then go into a nursing home. I say it's time we support families being able to take care of their own relatives at home where they deserve to be. Representatives Rosa DeLauro. The only wrong hand to show their support for the older Americans concerns often of many older Americans make a choice during the week of whether or not to fill that prescription or whether or not to eat. That is very real I hear about that all of the time.
So the to have a prescription drug benefit that will bring their will allow them not to lose what they have and also allow them to eat well and to take their medication every day is critical. There's real problems when we're talking about additional services because they cost additional dollars. I am particularly committed to home health care because you can do it much cheaper than having someone in a home or in a hospital. The one that's a very expensive and the one I worry about and I hope people don't know that promises prescriptions but I see no reason if we do a health care bill that is a reform bill that we don't do a home health care because that means we reduce costs. And that's the only way we're going to get this bill through if we can show some reduction in cost. The head of the Connecticut home care businesses recognize the political hesitation over long term care but insists that making the investment now can save money. Generally I think there is skepticism about whether long term care is affordable. From my perspective and from hearing the witnesses today it's not economical to not
consider the alternatives at the expense of institutionalization the need to cover prescription so that people don't go back into the hospital because they can't afford to take their medicines. Sounds like a higher expense. The failure to do it is incredibly costly. Seniors are currently spending 20 percent of their income on health care expenses. Medicare provides a hedge against health care costs but it doesn't go the whole way. So under Americans a powerful lobby here in Washington will be closely eyeing every turn health care reform takes to make sure it carries them down a more secure road and doesn't leave them stranded in Washington Kathleen Koch for Connecticut lawmakers at the state capitol this week it was the turn of the Judiciary Committee to take another look at crime and gun bills. Gun control and crime bills were before the Judiciary Committee again this week where several gun measures are expected to be rewritten before they see any floor debate.
One of the things that can be probably the ultimate nightmare to any emergency physician is something called a disaster alert. Disaster alert. By definition means it 10 or more individuals have been hurt in one incident. Obviously trauma by itself when you want to time is a very difficult thing to do in emergency department to muster all of the people and sort of resources that you need to take care of them taking care of 10 or more at one time can sometimes be almost entirely impossible to perform adequately. Passage of the assault weapon the bill last year is going a long way to avoid the possibility of this type of the disaster being caused by assault weapons in Connecticut. I granted up to this point this disaster alerts that I have been aware of and only involve motor vehicle accidents and chemical spills. That does not mean that the potential is not there and that it cannot happen in the future. We don't have to look very far to see it happening in other states and in other countries.
Goal number for 20 contains several provisions which bear no relation to crime or firearm safety but which would have a chilling effect on gun owners. They would I fear foster civil disobedience on the part of gun owners rather than compliance. This bill seeks to mandate registration of privately owned pistols and revolvers by requiring law abiding gun owners to register sales or transfers and subject the recipients to the state's waiting period laws. Such a law has been tried in California with predictable results. No reduction in crime firearms accidents suicides so-called crimes of passion or any other benefit to the law enforcement effort. Connecticut's gun owners object to state wide registration of privately owned guns and this provision is a giant leap in that direction. This bill also proposes to set up gun owners as a special separate class of citizens who would incur extra liability in civil court whenever an unfortunate accident should occur with a pistol or revolver. The creation of a special strict liability class just for gun owners would violate the equal protection of the law as guaranteed in Article 1st of the Connecticut Constitution and bears no rational relation to any compelling state interest since firearms accidents have been declining
steadily for the last 20 20 years especially among children under 15. We oppose the creation of strict liability for gun accidents as it is nothing more than a boon for personal injury lawyers. Well from the start we've had certain central goals of our proposal that is get tough on crime and get tough on irresponsible gun owners and criminals. So there's four basic elements and they still say they're still in place. First of all the three strikes and you're out type legislation Second of all changing the juvenile justice laws so that we can prosecute the violent juvenile offenders as if they were adults. On the gun control issue we're talking still about universal licensing and registration for all handguns. And strict civil and criminal liability for people who own handguns when those guns are used in crimes or if they're used to injure people unless they can prove that they safely stored the guns etc. so the details of how we actually do that are still under discussion and we expect in the next week or so will come up with a preliminary comprehensive recommendation we hope to get that out of the Judiciary Committee and I'm sure as it evolves through the other
committees it gets to the House floor to change somewhat but we're hoping that the integrity of it will still say stay in pack until the very end the four elements of what we think will be the most sweeping gun control legislation anti-violence legislation in the country. Why the crime measures and the gun control measures I gather. Absolutely because you know the criticism from past years is why are we only talking about guns and gun owners and why don't we talk more about getting tough on crime that's why we feel if we do them in tandem we can send a message that it's not just a law abiding gun owners in fact they're not the problem at all. But not to get the irresponsible gun owners and order to get the secondary sales the black market sales of handguns we have to have a universal system just like we have a cars which doesn't affect the legitimate gun owners but allows us a mechanism to catch the irresponsible gun owners and the people who sell the guns to criminals which is perfectly legal today and we're trying to close that loophole too early to tell if you have the votes yet. I think we've got the votes the question is maybe
one of these elements may not be acceptable but I think the basic premis of legislation closing the loophole and secondary sales that that that's going to get passed unanimously almost in the public safety committee seem to do very well in our committee and really what we're proposing is just one step beyond that which is universal licensing and registration. And that's this week's edition of Connecticut lawmakers. I'm Bob Douglas. We do thank you for joining. Us.
Series
Connecticut Lawmakers
Episode Number
307
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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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Chicago: “Connecticut Lawmakers; 307,” 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-398-9995xhkf.
MLA: “Connecticut Lawmakers; 307.” 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-398-9995xhkf>.
APA: Connecticut Lawmakers; 307. 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-398-9995xhkf