Sunday, August 03, 2008

More slush funds in Hartford

In the July 22 WRA there was some interesting information on the Amann/Rell/Williams' slush discretionary funds:

The House speaker, Senate president and Gov. M. Jodi Rell gave themselves $6 million in the 2008 budget to spend as they saw fit -- and they spent nearly all of it.

House Speaker James A. Amann, D-Milford, had $33,000 left when the books closed June 30, and Rell still had $129,000. Senate President Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, spent all of his $2 million share....

Continuing on:

The individual grants that the three leaders had the governor's Office of Policy and Mangement distribute in fiscal 2008 ranged from $489 to $300,000.

Which made me wonder about a statement (on the Turf money) I saw the Herald back in January:

The money, $525,000, comes as a result of efforts by State Rep. Mary Fritz (D–Cheshire/Wallingford). Fritz said she approached Speaker of the House James Amman about receiving money for field improvements through discretionary funds.

Obviously, these two statements seem contradictory. But understanding this whole issue has been extremely difficult, since staff in Hartford don't even want to discuss these slush funds. Regardless, the WRA shed new light today:

Gov. M. Jodi Rell, Senate President Pro Tempore Donald Williams and House Speaker James A. Amann bristle at the suggestion the "discretionary funds" they give themselves every year are slush funds.

The way Gov. Rell — Connecticut's patron saint of ethics — tells it, these funds, each with
$2 million in cash and a $10 million credit line, allow them to "contribute" to worthy causes, as if it's their money to give away....

But the issue is not whether the Anna LoPresti School PTA in Seymour or neighborhood associations in Waterbury are worthy causes. They are.

The issue is whether three of the state's highest-ranked elected officials have the right to confiscate, through their own collusion, $36 million a year from the most overtaxed people in America for the purpose of raising their own poll numbers, buying votes and soliciting campaign donations.

So although I had been unable to determine the reason for this apparent discrepancy... the editors at the WRA did discover the likely cause... the turf money went through the bonding commission and therefore would be part of the $10,000,000 slush fund... not the $2,000,000 slush fund.

But learning the slush fund is twelve million, and not two million, comes as no surprise. Based on the feedback I got from staff in Hartford, no one wanted to discuss the $2,000,000 slush funds. So I'm sure they would've been even more uncomfortable offering this additional tidbit... that Amann / Rell / Williams each get $12,000,000 per year in slush funds.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

This is even worse then what we were originally told. I wonder how many people on our TC realized that this money is being borrowed by the state, while we have a huge defecit to deal with. I wonder if they really care?
It is amazing how many people in this town don't understand how the government works. They just think we can keep borrowing and have a wide open wallet to get whatever we want. Someday, this will all catch up to us.

Anonymous said...

With all the supposed important issues to deal with in the town's capital budget, I can't believe the dem majority wants to WASTE $525,000 on a turf field.
You'd think they'd have the smarts to take care of the needs in this town.

Anonymous said...

Going into hock to buy toys. Swell

tim white said...