Every other week, John J. Ryan, Darien’s former Republican state representative, and Joshua Fisher, former Darien Times editor, share their back-and-forth about news going on around the state. Links to all the articles and other items mentioned in the column can be found in the Opinion section of DarienTimes.com.
Ryan: Has the editor settled in to his new spot in New Canaan? I assume that between the extensive “going away parties” in Darien and making the arrangements for the luxurious new executive office suite that you have been pretty busy.
Fisher: After seven years of running The Darien Times, I’m quickly settling into my new role just up Route 124 (Mansfield Avenue in Darien and South Avenue in New Canaan). So while I’ve been busy trying to learn the players on my new beat and find the perfect spot for my Mr. Reds bobble head, I’ve fallen a bit behind on what’s going on in Connecticut this week.
Ryan: One of the oft-repeated themes of this column, which I’ve been writing for nearly 20 years, is to note where your tax dollars go. If you had plans to visit Sherwood Island Park in Westport on Monday, you were no doubt disappointed, and you might not have noticed who is paying for the inconvenience that was caused, see “Sherwood Island shutdown linked to Obama visit” (GreenwichTime.com, Aug. 3) and “Who’s picking up the tab?” (StamfordAdvocate.com, Aug. 6)
Fisher: Imagine that! Politicians flocking to the Gold Coast for campaign donations.
Ryan: And as you are well aware, our state government is one of the best (if you have paid attention to the annual Tax Freedom Day announcement every year) at getting your money. Note “Connecticut’s Gift Tax Loophole” (Forbes.com, Aug. 6) with the helpful phrase early in the article that “if you live in Connecticut — the only state left with a gift tax…” (Forbes also links its informative piece from last year, “Connecticut Tax Hikes Target Rich In Death, Too” (Forbes.com, May 19, 2011).
Fisher: As you have noted in recent weeks, some of our elected officials not only travel to visit us…
Ryan: But they pile up the frequent flyer miles for us in the name of “tourism” and “economic development,” see the news about the latest Gov. Malloy junket in “Malloy to China: ‘To Put Connecticut On The Map’” (Courant.com’s CapitolWatch, Aug. 2), where “taxpayers will fund the trip.”
Fisher: Was there other economic development news we might have missed in the past week?
Ryan: You’re certainly on your toes! Most of your tax dollars are being spent on “Deloitte nabs $16M ‘First Five’ deal to add CT jobs” (HartfordBusiness.com, Aug. 1). I can’t understand why the state wouldn’t give at least a few million to our premier local weekly newspaper chain.
Fisher: Speaking of media money. The Connecticut television stations are really making out on next week’s U.S. Senate primary. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to stop hearing “I have a plan” over and over again — when I know that there is not much of a plan to be had.
Ryan: Once the commercials fade — if they do —The media will be saturated next week with post-primary “analysis.” And at this point, I regret to opine that I will be surprised if there are not record low primary turnout numbers.
Fisher: And part of the post-primary analysis will be what effect, if any the various “political controversies” had on the assorted primary results.
Ryan: Indeed; will convicted felon State Sen. Ernie Newton reclaim his former seat in the state capitol? Will the investigation into doings in State House Speaker Donovan’s office affect his run in Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District? See “Start the Inquiry: How Far Did Capitol Influence-Buying Reach?” (Courant.com, Aug. 2).
Fisher: The real question remains, again, are taxpayers in lower Fairfield County, who fund a big chunk of what happens in Hartford, paying any attention — especially in August — to how the state is spending our money?
John J. Ryan is of counsel to the Darien law firm Tibbetts, Keating & Butler, and served 14 years as Darien and Rowayton’s state representative. Joshua Fisher is editor of the New Canaan Advertiser, a Hersam Acorn Newspaper. A former Darien resident, he was Darien Times editor for seven years.