Jim Shea: CT's 1 Percenters Step Up To The Collection Plate

Contributions To Estate Tax Above And Beyond

Normally, The Weak tries to avoid anything that has to do with state or local budgets because they generally involve leaps of logic, magical thinking, and computations in which the numbers add up to whatever the people doing the figuring want them to.

That said, there was good news on the state budget front this past week, I think. We are going to end the fiscal year with a $400 million surplus, I guess.

Why?

As near at The Weak can figure, it has something to do with residents of Fairfield County, and Wall Street's rally, and some kind of accounting sleight of hand involving the aristocracy and their federal capital gains taxes.

Whatever the reason, it should be noted that this isn't the first time the state's super rich have stepped up to the collection plate.

Earlier this year, particularly civic-minded one percenters boosted state revenues by dying in larger than anticipated numbers, thus swelling the coffers with their estate tax contributions.

Although it would be great for the state's shaky financial situation if these folks could ante up in this manner on a regular basis, it probably is asking too much.

Still, speaking on behalf of the other 99 percent, The Weak extends a heartfelt thanks to our Gold Coast cousins for their efforts.

John Larson's Excellent European Vacation

U.S. Rep. John Larson and his son went on an all-expenses paid, $15,300, 5-star hotel, trip to Ireland during the congressional break. They were accompanied by 30 other Congress members, of whom 24 were Republicans. So it sounds like it was a real fun group. The trip was paid for by something called the Ripon Society and the Franklin Center for Global Policy Exchange. Larson justified the freebie noting it was not paid for with taxpayer money, and promoted trade and an exchange of Guinness, oops, I mean ideas. This was good to hear because usually when private groups spend this kind of dough squiring around influential politicians they are looking for something in return down the line.

Top State Retirees Squeaking By

There are state pensions, and then there are state pensions, and when it comes to state pensions Connecticut leads the nation. According to a recent U. S. Census report, the average annual payment to state retirees in Connecticut in 2011 was $35,079, and 469 former state workers received annual pensions in excess of $100,000.

It gets better.

In a story on state pensions, Christine Stuart of the website ct.newsjunkie, compiled a list of Connecticut's top 10 pensioners in 2012, based on date provided by state Comptroller Kevin Lembo.

And the winners are:

John Viega, UConn professor, ($276,364).

Jack Blechner, UConn Health Center, ($270,234).

Dr. Edward Blanchette, Department of Correction, ($226,658).

Harry Hartley, UConn professor and former president, ($211,652).

Richard Judd, president of Central Connecticut State University, ($208,335).

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2013 YEAR IN REVIEW
Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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