Taxpayers/ratepayers Continued

“The last thing we need is more tax increases,” said House GOP leader Lawrence Cafero of Norwalk. “We have a realistic, responsible budget. I didn’t want to stand up here and talk just in terms of charts, rhetoric and one-liners.”

This sort of statement is pretty point blank. It sounds good. But it’s meaningless. We can refer to ourselves in all manner of terms, such as “taxpayer” and “ratepayer.” Recall yesterday’s post on the question–partly–of the color of money and the color of corruption. CT on the current budget wants us to believe that the politicos are worried about tax increases or targeted taxes. But a rate increase for energy either way you color it hues the same: green tossed out the window. CT should take the millions it would use to build generation plants and distribute solar and wind power. I wonder if the Dems’ plan to tax online items would cost more than it would solve.

The Republicans are looking at the budget in a fundamentally different way than Rell and most Democrats.

Republicans say they cannot understand why the state needs tax increases when it has $1.1 billion in the “rainy day fund” for fiscal emergencies. In addition, the state surplus is projected at $628 million – a jump of $92 million from last month’s estimate because collections from corporate taxes have been better than expected. With the economy still relatively strong and the Dow Jones industrial average breaking records recently on Wall Street, Cafero predicted that the state’s surplus this year will reach $800 million.

It’s not STUPID stamped on my forehead, it’s a markered grin.

Just to pursue this a little more:

Blumenthal claims that a Maguire supervisory inspector, William Fritz, was told by a DeFelice worker that DeFelice was doing “substandard work,” some of which involved unacceptable materials, such as unapproved drainage pipe.

“Defendant Fritz, aware of the defects and aware of the use of substandard materials, told the worker to go away and not to advise him any further of any deficient work,” according to the suit.

Fritz, who has resigned from Maguire and is now Clinton’s first selectman, denied participating in such a conversation.

“I don’t remember ever saying that and I wouldn’t,” Fritz said. “Come on, that’s bizarre.”

Fritz also raised questions about the role of state Department of Transportation inspectors and engineers in approving project work and materials, questions that have been raised by several industry sources but which were not addressed in the state suit.

“Any of the pipe that came in on that job was certified by the state (transportation department) lab,” he said. “Any of the metal pipe that came in, the state came out and checked the pipe. And it all gets submitted through the state’s testing process.”

Ray Garcia, an attorney representing DeFelice, criticized the suit for ignoring the state’s role in any construction failures. As did Fritz, he contended that state inspectors were closely involved in the project, signing off on DeFelice work before the state issued the company regular payments for work in progress.

“It is impossible for the alleged defective work to exist at the level described by the state … without the direct current knowledge of direct (state transportation) employees who control every phase of the work all along the work timeline,” Garcia said. “So the state knew about the problems they claim currently exist and they actually approved the work and paid for it. The job wasn’t perfect, but the state approved everything for which payment was received.”

Senior state transportation officials have said repeatedly that the state has no responsibility for the project failures. They have said that since they hired Maguire as their consulting engineer, the state had no inspection responsibilities. State employees were involved, for the most part, in reviewing project paperwork, they said.

The state officials have refused to disclose the identities and responsibilities of employees assigned to the project. The transportation department also has been reluctant to make public copies of quality assurance tests done on project materials, such as pipe.

Come to Connecticut. Start a business and a life here. Stay and grow. Three examples of irony.