State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier told reporters late Monday afternoon that she has decided to run again.
I’ve worked hard to put our state’s financial house in order, and to make sure we keep our commitments – including funding of the state’s pension promises to our employees and teachers and managing Connecticut’s debt in a prudent way to save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. We still are not at full recovery, but we can now see a path forward.
Nappier, who is 62, plans to participate in the taxpayer-funded Citizens Election Program, which requires that she raise $75,000 through donations of $100 or less. She was first elected state treasurer in 1998. Nappier is the first African American woman to serve as a state treasurer in the country. The treasurer’s office oversees approximately $50 billion in state funds, including the $24 billion Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds.
State Democratic party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo issued a statement congratulating Nappier on her decision to seek a 5th term.
In an abrupt reversal, the state tax department decided Monday to immediately suspend the state’s debit card program for tax refunds and instead issue paper checks to more than 5,000 taxpayers.
The change was prompted by a computer data breach of the debit cards in a system handled by JP Morgan Chase, the international banking giant that was sharply criticized by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s tax commissioner, Kevin B. Sullivan. Sullivan is trying to reopen the contract with the bank as soon as possible after saying that the bank had been involved in a “wholly unacceptable failure to provide a timely response” about the data breach.
“I am wildly unhappy with the level of customer service of JP Morgan Chase,” Sullivan said Monday in a telephone interview. “This has been a great frustration.”
Michael Fusco, a spokesman for Chase, declined to comment. The bank had said previously, however, that it had not found any evidence that the data from the breach had been used improperly.
The taxpayers who will be getting refunds from the state’s personal income tax in the next two weeks include those who received six-month extensions on the April 15 filing date and those who needed to amend their tax returns. As such, they will be receiving their refunds soon, Sullivan said.
In 2014, taxpayers will now have the option to receive refunds by paper check – a move that was proposed recently by Senate Republican leader John McKinney of Fairfield.
Besides paper checks, taxpayers will also have the option of accepting their refunds next year through direct deposit to their bank accounts or through the debit card program. Continue reading
The personal information of thousands of prepaid debit cardholders in the state may have been stolen, according to state Treasurer Denise L. Nappier. This includes as many as 7,000 people who received their tax refund in the form of a debit card.
Nappier said that JPMorgan Chase is working to contact affected people, who received payments from the state through prepaid debit cards.
Reuters reports that the personal data of 465,000 cardholders may have been captured by hackers.
In a press release, Nappier said:
JPMorgan Chase, provider of banking services to various Connecticut state agencies, has informed my Office that the personal information of some holders of prepaid debit cards may have been exposed, between mid-July and mid-September, during the course of an attack on the bank’s servers which support its UCard website.
… According to JPMorgan Chase, the breach affected cardholders in multiple states, including 14,335 accounts in Connecticut. Published accounts suggest that as many as 465,000 accounts across the country may be exposed. The Connecticut accounts are prepaid debit cards issued by the State’s Department of Revenue Services (DRS), Department of Labor, Department of Social Services, and Department of Children and Families. These cards are issued in place of checks to provide payments such as tax refunds, unemployment benefits or child support payments.
… I am dismayed that JPMorgan Chase delayed informing my Office of this security breach for two and a half months — from mid-September, when they first learned of it, until this week. They should have picked up the phone immediately and called us.
Despite the still-sluggish state economy, four Wall Street ratings agencies have reaffirmed the state’s bond rating.
But while the Fitch Ratings agency maintained the bond rating, it reduced Connecticut’s overall outlook from stable to negative, pointing to the state’s “reduced fiscal flexibility at a time of lingering economic and revenue uncertainty.”
“The enacted budget for the new biennium delays repayment of deficit borrowing, adds to an already high debt load, and fails to rebuild the state’s financial cushion,’’ Fitch analysts concluded, citing the state’s high debt and pension obligations.
Three other agencies – Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s, and Kroll Bond Ratings - maintained the outlook at stable.
“I am pleased to see that our double-A ratings have all been retained by the major rating agencies,” Ben Barnes, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget director, said in a statement. “Fitch’s concerns about our vulnerability to continued economic weakness are reasonable, but ultimately not so great as to change our high-quality rating. They have affirmed that our revenue forecasts are reasonable, that our budget is balanced, and that our bonds continue to be an extremely safe investment in line with our AA rating.” Continue reading