Hartford CPRB Vote / Trump & Malloy Agree on Austerity

by David Samuels

This column appears in the March 16 – 23 edition of the Hartford News.

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in!

http://www.sometroradio.com/

Next show: March 21. Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/…/12/20/community-party-medi…/
Community Party Radio Podcasts

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/…/podcast-community-party-ra…/
Action Alert: Support the Meagen Hockaday and Trayvon Martin Acts!

The Meagen Hockaday Act has been officially filed: S.B. No. 440

https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp…

Visit our No Sellout blog for details on how you can support this police reform legislation.
https://hendu39.wordpress.com/…/action-alert-support-the-m…/

Trayvon Martin Act

The Judiciary Committee has raised H.B. 7258 introduced by House Majority Leader Matt Ritter.

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/…/action-alert-support-the-t…/

Safe Work Environment Act

The Safe Work Environment Act would eliminate legal barriers that people currently face when they file a lawsuit against their employer.

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/…/real-protection-against-wo…/
UPDATE: Hartford Civilian Police Review Board
Hartford Civilian Police Review Board appointments were discussed Monday by the city council. Council President Thomas Clarke announced that the council members can amend the current city ordinance, allowing the council to appoint Board members along with Mayor Bronin, and increase the number of Board members from the current number of 11. Council member Wildaliz Bermudez pointed out that Ricardo Torres has had perfect attendance during his tenure as a Board volunteer, and is the only Board member with law enforcement training. The Board voted for Torres to be replaced by a Bronin appointee; he could be added back to the Board by the city council.

Policy Watch: The Cost of Neoliberalism

Last month 2-year-old Lavontay White became a casualty of gun violence in Chicago. Long before people on the outside looking in were parroting President Donald Trump’s call to send “the feds” into the city (a pretext to increase police repression), Jill Stein visited Chicago while she was running for president as the Green Party candidate. She walked the streets and talked to the people who actually live there. Residents told Dr. Stein that their communities are being deprived of jobs and resources, and that money should also be put into education. They added that law enforcement efforts should be focused on the gun traffickers who are providing weapons to gang members. Poverty = violence.

Zaida Berrios got a response from Chicago activist Ja’Mal Green, who commented on his Facebook post about the gang related shooting death of Lavontay. Activists are raising money to open a youth center, because urban areas like Chicago are deprived of jobs and resources. Black people in Chicago don’t need your hand wringing and judgmental social media posts. They need money for their communities. Put your money where your mouth is.
https://www.gofundme.com/MajosteeAllstars/donat

The Shadow Proof website reported on Dr. Stein’s Chicago visit. https://shadowproof.com/…/jill-stein-green-party-campaign-…/ “Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein wrapped up a day of campaigning in Chicago on September 8 with a rally that brought several hundred supporters to their feet multiple times. Earlier in the day, she was in the South Austin neighborhood to talk to residents.
Community activists and a few residents joined Stein for a ‘reality walk’ through the neighborhood. The community has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the city, but it also suffers from residential segregation, loss of industrial jobs, disinvestment, and exceptionally high unemployment.
Stein shared after her walk that South Austin residents had told her ‘they need jobs. They need an answer to the violence and the guns that they believe are being supplied to the community, that these guns are being made available through illegal means and that should be a highest priority for investigating.’
Residents in communities like South Austin also ‘need good schools. They need after school programs. They need youth programs. They need job training. They need housing and an end to the foreclosures. They need to reuse the housing that is just lying waste, empty now, to rehab that housing and create jobs.’
Elijah Sims, a young black teen who was about a day away from his 17th birthday, was shot and killed in South Austin on August 29. Stein was asked about the shooting and what she would recommend to white residents, who may be afraid to organize in the west side because they fear violence in the community.

‘We are a divided nation,’ Stein answered. ‘We are a nation that’s locked into fear, and we’re an armed nation because we’re afraid of each other.’ ‘There is a living legacy of the institution of slavery because it kind of went from slavery to lynchings to Jim Crow to the red lining of communities to mass incarceration to the war on drugs, which is a war on black and brown communities, and then to police violence. We have this history of really entrenched racism and the flip side of that being white privilege and white supremacy.’

(Vice presidential nominee Ajamu) Baraka had assertive words for those who ignore the poverty and only rail against the violence in communities, like west and south neighborhoods of Chicago. ‘People talk about [how] we need to deal with the issue of violence in the city. We understand that. But I say if you’re not talking about how we deal with these social and economic grinding conditions, I don’t want to talk about the violence,’ Baraka said.”

Conditions in Chicago, Hartford and other urban areas nationwide will worsen, due to the bipartisan attack on the working class, the poor and human services providers. Gov. Dan Malloy’s state budget proposal and Trump’s federal budget plan both include reductions to the estate and gift tax, while slashing funding for human services. Connecticut Voices for Children issued a statement on other proposed legislation at the State Capitol.

*****

Several proposals will reduce or eliminate estate and gift taxes and decrease taxes on retiree income… Connecticut needs a balanced budget approach that includes adequate revenue raised through a transparent and equitable tax structure. There is no evidence that tax policy causes residents to flee the state… Exempting retirement income from state income taxes not only reduces revenue in the short term, but given the state’s aging population, will have a bigger impact in the coming years.
Our Position: Should the legislature choose to adopt retiree income tax exemptions, we recommend that lawmakers target relief to residents earning less than $150,000 to reduce the fiscal impact of the measure and make it more equitable. Should the legislature choose to reduce gift or estate taxes, which help to reduce existing income and wealth disparity across the state, we encourage lawmakers to cover the cost of any cuts with income tax or capital gains tax increases for high earners.

Estate tax changes:

S.B. 5 An act increasing the estate tax exemption
S.B. 58 An act repealing the estate tax
S.B. 62 An act repealing the gift tax
H.B. 6358 An act exempting family-owned farm land from the estate and gift taxes

Retirement and social security exemptions:

S.B. 6 An act exempting social security income from the personal income tax
S.B. 272 An act phasing in an exemption from the personal income tax for certain pension income
H.B. 6558 An act exempting social security benefits from the personal income tax
H.B. 5587 An act concerning a tax exemption for senior´s social security benefits

Property tax and local finance:

S.B.7 An act concerning property tax relief for business
S.B.8 An act authorizing municipalities to levy a local sales tax
S.B.415 An act increasing the property tax credit under the personal income tax for a primary residence or motor vehicle

From AFSCME and AFT CT:

The state legislature’s Appropriations Committee will hear testimony on a dangerous new batch of proposed bills that attack our pay, our benefits, our rights and our futures.

We need to raise our voice in opposition to these continued assaults.
WHEN: Friday, March 24, beginning at 10:00 AM. (The hearing will run into the evening and there will be actions to take part in, so come when you can).
WHERE: The Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Ave., Hartford (located next to the State Capitol). Free and paid parking available.
The legislature’s budget-writing committee has raised dozens of anti-worker bills for public hearing, including proposals to:

Kill binding arbitration awards and agreements (SB 158, SB 268, HB 5013);
Destroy retirement security for state employees (HB 5695, HB 5696, HB 5780);
Force state employees to pay higher benefit co-pays and fees (SB 348, SB 578); &
Forbid retirement and healthcare benefit negotiations for all public employees (SB 368).
We must come together to resist all legislation attacking working people, whether they are union members or not.
*****

Activists in Hartford’s North End, an area plagued by opioid addiction, have organized against the plan by Malloy and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to close Blue Hills Substance Abuse Services. Many Connecticut liberals are railing against Trump, while remaining silent on the bipartisan attack on the working class, the poor and human services providers by the Democrats and Republicans in their own backyard.

Resources

Taxing the Rich Fuels Budget Success in Minnesota:

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/…/taxing-the-rich-raising-th…/

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm and So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/ Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/). Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com

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