Originally in The CT Post
The feckless leadership of Hartford insiders is now directly harming the most vulnerable Connecticut residents. Incapable of tackling our crushing unfunded liability crisis due to their blind subservience to big-labor special interests, Governor Malloy and his allies have begun to make catastrophic and poorly conceived cutbacks to some services as they struggle to finalize a budget. In the process, they have shirked their responsibility to pursue long term reform.
For example, our state government has failed to bring real reform to the most dysfunctional state agency — the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. Modernization of existing services and streamlining operations has been put to the back of the line in favor of bloated, inefficient operations that make Connecticut residents wait in line for hours. Rather than taking on the real problems, the governor has instead sought quick savings from furlough days of state disability workers — those that care for of our most vulnerable citizens.
One of the affected facilities is the Kennedy Center in Trumbull, a privately-operated facility that cares for the developmentally and intellectually disabled so their parents and caretakers can earn a living and get the help they need to improve their lives. I have the highest respect for their president and CEO, Martin Schwartz, and all those that work and volunteer for this amazing organization.
Malloy’s order for furloughs, the stop-gap measure to keep the state from total collapse under the weight of Hartford bureaucracy, meant six days without services at this center. That means real pain for some.
The stories and letters of concern I have received from parents and caretakers are heartbreaking.
“My son and all of the other consumers [of public disability services] cannot take ‘furlough’ days from their disabilities,” wrote one concerned father, whose son participates in a state-run disability program.
The Connecticut Post reported on the impact to some families at the Kennedy Center, laying out the effects to daily life this shutdown has caused.
The family interviewed for this story lost wages at work due to the furlough at a center that usually allows them the freedom to hold a job and earn a living.
Their son is 26 years old, but suffers a rare condition that means he operates at the level of a two year-old.
The Kennedy Center lets this family and many others pursue a better life. Without it, they must care full-time for their child.
Democrats often charge Republicans, particularly those committed to reforming state government, with being out to get the little guy through sweeping cuts and large-scale elimination of state programs.
The current budget impasse offers a clear picture of why, in our state, it is actually the opposite. The majority party in Hartford puts the special interests first and, in effect, puts the disabled and vulnerable last on the list.
What I stand for is compassion for our most vulnerable citizens — hardworking, struggling Connecticut residents whose lives are meaningfully changed for the better by programs that offer them a helping hand. These sorts of programs are exactly what the state can do right when its finances are healthy.
The workers and non-profits in our communities that are changing lives for the better are not the problem. They should not be punished. They should be celebrated and supported.
The real problem — which I intend to dismantle — is the culture under the Gold Dome and the big Hartford bureaucracy that the Hartford insiders protect from overhaul. It is the bloated staffs and big egos. It is the crushing unfunded liabilities that they shield from reform so lavish perks can be preserved for the insiders.
Until we end business as usual and elect proven reformers and Hartford outsiders who are dedicated to tackling our state’s fiscal crisis rather than passing the impact along to struggling taxpayers, Connecticut will continue to be saddled with tax-hikes, stagnant wages, lost opportunity and stories like these from the parents and caretakers of the disabled.
Tim Herbst is First Selectman of the Town of Trumbull and a candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2018.
Paid for by Tim for Connecticut 2018, William Jenkins Treasurer
Approved by Timothy M. Herbst. Tim Herbst for Connecticut · United States