Hear Governor Dannel Malloy’s State of the State Address”

Click here to read the speech.

By SUSAN HAIGH,  Associated Press
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Gov. Dannel P. Malloy unveiled a revised budget Thursday that proposes a gas and sales tax refund to taxpayers, provides more funding for homeless veterans and puts Connecticut on the path to providing universal pre-kindergarten; a legislative package that observers said positions the one-term Democrat for a re-election bid in November.

While Malloy has yet to announce his re-election plans for the 2014 election, he touted his record over the past three years. He stressed how the state is beginning to see “real progress” as it recovers from the recession, citing new private sector jobs, a lower unemployment rate, rising home values and lower crime rate. And he urged people not to listen to naysayers, who discount the state’s progress.

“We should not listen,” he said. “Connecticut is moving forward.”

“That’s what I want to talk to you about today,” Malloy told a joint session of the General Assembly on the opening day of the new legislative session. “How together we’re making positive changes, and seeing real progress. How we must ensure that hardworking families share in that progress, and share in Connecticut’s recovery.”

Malloy presented a revised $19 billion budget, for the fiscal year that begins July 1, for the General Assembly to consider over the next several months. It calls for dividing a projected $500 million surplus –which comes on the heels of a $3.5 billion deficit two years ago– between the state’s Rainy Day Fund, reducing pension debt and providing tax relief. That includes a gas tax and sales tax refund and a partial exemption of teachers’ pensions from the personal income tax.

Malloy’s potential Republican foes have accused him of offering certain budget proposals to secure votes in November.

“The governor has clearly come out with a series of policy initiatives this year, the purpose of which is to help him get elected,” said Senate Minority John McKinney, R-Fairfield, a GOP gubernatorial candidate. “The only other explanation is that this year, he’s realized everything he’s done the last three years was wrong.”

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Some Connecticut cities and towns struggling with low property values and foreclosures will get an opportunity to postpone their tax revaluation for two years under a proposal being offered by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Under the plan unveiled Thursday, the delay would be available to municipalities scheduled to implement revaluation in fiscal year 2015.

Bridgeport Mayor William Finch welcomed the move, saying the “brief time out” would give time for the real estate market in his city to stabilize.

He said his city has an “extraordinary situation,” with two- and three-times more home foreclosures than any other Connecticut city that is due to revalue its tax base. While homes have been purchased for a fraction of what they used to be worth, he said the market starting to rebound.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)  

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is pushing to expand access to pre-kindergarten in Connecticut, proposing more than 1,000 slots be made available.

The Democrat’s budget, released Thursday, includes $11.5 million to fund the 1,020 new slots, and $2.3 million in startup costs. The goal to have universal access to pre-K by the end of fiscal year 2019. Access will be means-tested, with low-income children receiving priority.

Last year, Malloy’s budget included funding to create 1,000 new pre-K slots for the neediest school districts.

The administration estimates there are unmet needs for pre-K slots for more than 4,000 low-income three- and four-year olds living in those needy school districts.
According to the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, low-income children often are more likely to enter kindergarten significantly behind their more affluent peers.
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)  

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Reactions to Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s State of the State address Thursday, when the Democratic governor unveiled his revised $19 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1:  

_ “At the end of the day, great political speech with a lot of political stunts. But the numbers aren’t adding up.”– Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2014.  

 _ “As the governor says all the time, there is more work to be done, but today’s State of the State address was another clear indication that Connecticut is on the right path under Governor Malloy’s leadership.”– Nancy DiNardo, chairman of Connecticut Democratic Party.  

_ “This is a Christmas story given in February. Unfortunately, his story is fantasy.”– House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk.  

_ “I think the governor set the right tone for this session. He’s building on the successes that we’ve achieved.”– Senate President Donald Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn.  

_ “He said he’d have an honest, balanced budget and this budget is neither.”– Greenwich businessman Tom Foley, a Republican gubernatorial candidate.  

 _ “Those proposals show the state is on a better financial footing than it has been.”– Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven.  

 _ “Today’s State of the State was a reminder of just how far we have come since our economy tanked in 2009. His remarks today are a beacon of hope that next year’s Address will show the many rewards all of us will reap if we can just work together for progress.”– Lori Pelletier, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO.  

 _ “Our parents and students have worked hard to get the message to the governor and to lawmakers that for too long, charter school funding has been unfairly lower than that of traditional public schools. In these difficult times, we are pleased that the long term effort to right that wrong has the governor’s support.”– Lashawn Robinson, Hartford parent and organizer, Families for Excellent Schools.  
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)   

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Business lobbyists at the state Capitol are panning parts of Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s 2014 legislative agenda.

The National Federation of Independent Business said Thursday the governor’s State of the State speech to the legislature describes a state economy that most small businesses don’t recognize.

Andrew Markowski, director of the small business group, says Malloy could help business more with lower taxes than with his small business assistance program.

Malloy cited his administration’s Small Business Express program that he says has helped create and maintain more than 13,800 jobs.

The small business group and Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the state’s largest business organization, also criticized Malloy’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017.

The two groups say a higher minimum wage would reduce employment.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)  


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