Happy New Year! As we plop plop fizz fizz into a new decade, I thought I’d join the Legion of Listmakers and add my own to the fray. But instead of looking back on the year that was, I’m looking forward. Here are some things I’m hoping to see for our state in the coming year:
1. Seeing the legislature and the governor work together to find solutions for our state’s budget deficit. That these solutions are going to be painful is a given, but we simply can’t afford the paralyzing stand-offs of past years. I hope that the folks who think that we can tax our way out of the problem will realize we need some serious cuts in spending too, and likewise those who think we can solve this simply by cutting spending the hole is too massive to be plugged without also raising taxes. Neither one solution works without either causing undue hardship or negative long-term economic damage to the state.
2. That the incoming Malloy Administration will live up to the stated goal of “openness and transparency.” At a time when the State must dig itself out of a $3.4 billion hole, it’s imperative that the “Corrupticut” is a thing of the past. Even now the name of crooked ex-governor Rowland comes back to haunt us, like in the recent Attorney General’s report on the CT DMV’s mishandling of violations by the Academy of Driving (the owners were reportedly “personal friends” of Rowland, and therefore not to be investigated further.) Perhaps it wasn’t surprising then, when certain Democratic supporters of Malloy questioned the wisdom of his appointing the transition team, attorney Ross Garber, who had guided Rowland through the impeachment inquiry in 2004.
Yet despite Malloy’s 2005 campaign manager Chris Cooney, having made a similar criticism when Jodi Rell appointed Garber as her campaign lawyer, Malloy’s Senior Advisor Roy Occhiogrosso came down on the guy who didn’t toe the Administration’s line like a Terminator with a serious case of PMS. (Can we get that guy a Xanax prescription or something?) Not a good way to start out on civilized dialogue, which will be necessary for the Malloy to work with the legislature, nor on transparency.
You’re talking the talk, Governor, which is great. We’d just love to see you walking the walk, too.
3. Watching Senator Joe Lieberman gracefully announce his retirement and ride off into the sunset to spend more time with his family or whatever politicians do. Okay stop laughing. I know it’s a long shot, because according to Himself there are, apparently, some insane Democratic senators urging him to run again. I’d like to know who they are so I can tell them to spend some time in Connecticut talking to the people who actually fill in the ovals before they start whispering sweet nothings in Joe’s ear. Just sayin’.
4. With the resignation of Thomas “the Rubber Stamp” Sullivan as Insurance Commissioner, that we will actually have someone in the job who is working to look after the interests of the citizens of the state of Connecticut instead of those of the health insurance companies he is meant to be regulating. Here’s yet another example of some of the practices I’m talking about: My insurer, who shall remain nameless, but I’m sure it’s not the only one playing this game with policyholders, sent me a letter a week ago, telling me that they didn’t have “sufficient clinical data” to pay for a migraine medication that I’ve been prescribed (and which has been covered) for the last ten years. I find this somewhat hard to believe, considering that I have been with this insurer for half of that decade and they have been covering the medication without question. I would say that preventing catastrophic migraines for a decade is probably sufficient clinical evidence, but hey, what do I know? I just pay higher and higher premiums every year, and get less for them. And before you start blaming this on “Obamacare,” like the supposedly apolitical Thomas “the Stamp” Sullivan did when justifying rubber stamping rate hikes for Anthem’s individual policyholders as high as 47 percent without due diligence, my insurer – and the company I was with before them – was pulling similar sorts of shenanigans back when Barry was still a community organizer in Chicago.
On a happier note, I hope you were “First Footed” by a tall dark man bearing whiskey, rather than coal, thus ushering in a more prosperous, if hungover, 2011.
Sarah Darer Littman is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers and an award-winning novelist of books for teens. Long before the financial meltdown, she worked as a securities analyst and earned her MBA in Finance from the Stern School at NYU.