Letter: Republican ‘facts’ are selective

To the Editors:

While we appreciate the “blunt facts” presented by Republican representatives about the financial crisis in Hartford, we feel the need to add a couple.

Based on their partisan comments, one might conclude that our fiscal mess is entirely this Democratic administration’s doing and that Gov. Dan Malloy is responsible, for example, for GE choosing to move its headquarters elsewhere.

Fact No. 1. It was Gov. John Rowland, a Republican, who re-negotiated pension payments to state employees in the mid-1990s and, in order to avoid confrontation of the imminent crisis himself, instituted a payment plan to the pension fund that included balloon payments years off, payments which will make our present mess even messier when they come due. This schedule of payments was seen as unrealistic and fiscally irresponsible at the time, and still is.

Fact No. 2. Between 2009 and 2011, Gov. Jodi Rell deferred $315 million in payments to the fund, knowing that it was grossly underfunded, and that putting off payments would make the situation worse. The Wall Street Journal called it delaying the "day of reckoning."

To think that General Electric, which had other, internal reasons to leave — a desire to break from its “manufacturing” past and the lure of a Boston-area technology expertise, among others — was not aware of the coming crisis, is naive. GE knew exactly what was coming.

So now the burden of cleaning up after these and other ill-advised decisions — on both sides of the aisle — falls to the Malloy administration. The governor has refused to kick the can further down the road. He has renegotiated pension benefits. He is attempting to balance to the budget.

To treat GE's departure and Malloy's attempts to balance the budget as an opportunity to make political points, as our Republican representatives are doing, is disingenuous and cynical.
Bob Carney
Chair, Communications Committee
Democratic Town Committee
Wilton, July 14