Category Archives: Larry Cafero

Cafero Says UTC Could Lay Off Workers And Still Get 35 Percent of Tax Credits

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Larry Cafero Date:

With bipartisan support, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Thursday in favor of a deal to allow Hartford-based United Technologies Corp. to use state tax credits as it seeks to build a new headquarters for the famed Pratt & Whitney division in East Hartford.

The bill passed by 134 to 4 with four Republicans voting against the measure. All Democrats present in the chamber voted in favor.

House Republican leader Larry Cafero said Thursday that UTC, under the bill, could lay off 1,650 workers and still get 35 percent of the state-paid tax credits that are being debated by the state legislature.

“Huh?” Cafero asked on the floor of the House at the state Capitol during the debate.

“That’s the part that bothered me,” Cafero said. “My concern is, what if it goes wrong?”

The deal that was crafted by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration has been widely praised by both business and labor, as well as Democrats and Republicans in Cafero’s own caucus.

“I hope I can be comforted and not so confused,” Cafero told his colleagues Thursday. “I encourage all of us to get those answers to those questions.”

“Let’s be honest. It’s about UTC and UTC alone,” Cafero said. “If this bill passes, God bless them. I wish them all the luck in the world.” Continue reading

Republicans Offer Alternative Budget That Would Eliminate Rebates, Keno, and EITC

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Ben Barnes, Brendan Sharkey, Gov. Dannel Malloy, John McKinney, Keno, Larry Cafero Date:

With less than three weeks remaining in the legislative session, Republicans offered an alternative budget Thursday that rejects Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s $55 tax rebates and eliminates keno gambling.

The Republican plan would save the state more than $120 million per year by eliminating the state earned income tax credit for the working poor, but that idea was immediately criticized by Democrats.

Republicans said they were offering a gimmick-free alternative to the second year of the two-year budget that restores funding to multiple accounts that include transportation and clean energy.

“This is an honest approach that eliminates the ugly gimmicks and ‘techniques’ that have been employed to balance the budget only on paper,” said House Republican leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk. “Absent the gimmicks, the Democratic budget would be $150 million over the spending cap and out of balance.”

Republicans also blasted the statements by the Malloy administration, citing a University of Connecticut economist, that sending the rebate checks back to residents would stimulate the economy so much that it would create 1,200 new jobs.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” said Senate Republican leader John McKinney of Fairfield. “Show me those jobs that are created. … You can’t make this stuff up. Real people in the real world don’t believe that adding that money [from rebates] creates jobs.”

Cafero asked, “If you got another 55 bucks, that’s all of a sudden going to create 1,200 jobs? What world does that happen in?”

But Malloy’s budget director, Ben Barnes, said that the Republican proposal falls short on several points as “a political document that’s heavy on rhetoric” that was produced “after months of grandstanding” against Malloy’s budget.

“Perhaps most troubling, it includes a $120 million tax increase on Connecticut’s working poor by eliminating the EITC, what Ronald Reagan called ‘the best antipoverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress,’ ” Barnes said.

Barnes continued, “It also contains $54.8 million in phantom spending cuts that are not detailed anywhere.  Finally, it does all this and yet their bottom line spending is less than 0.1 percent different from the Governor’s proposed budget. So much for cutting spending.”

The detailed Republican proposal includes more than 400 line items of cuts and additions in a wide variety of state departments, covering environmental protection, corrections, public safety, education, labor, transportation, motor vehicles, criminal justice, public health, and children and families. 

Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, the highest-ranking senator, said, “I didn’t see any bold ideas proposed by the Republicans. … After a big buildup, I think it was a big letdown.” Continue reading

Brown Rudnick’s Annual Red Wine Night on April 24 at Bond Ballroom in Hartford

by Categorized: Brown Rudnick, Larry Cafero, Tom Ritter Date:

Brown Rudnick, the well-known lobbying and law firm with close ties at the state Capitol, will be  holding its annual “Red Wine Night” on April 24 in Hartford.

The night has exploded in popularity and has turned into a tradition on the Capitol calendar. The official legislative bulletin provides the details on the evening.

In very precise legal language that cites the Connecticut General Statutes, the announcement of the event states, “Red Wine Night is permissible under Connecticut ethics laws as a ‘legislative reception’ pursuant to C.G.S. Section 1-91 subsection (g) (10), and pursuant to C.G.S. Section 1-96d, the sponsors do not reasonably expect this event to be reportable pursuant to subsection (e) of section 1-96.”

The event dates all the way back to the days when Hartford Democrat Thomas D. Ritter was the House Speaker for six years in the early to mid-1990s, and the wine nights became well-known in the House Democratic caucus room on the Capitol’s second floor. Today, Ritter is a partner in the Hartford office of Brown Rudnick, as is House Republican leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk. Continue reading

House GOP Leader Larry Cafero Retiring From Legislature After 22 Years

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Brendan Sharkey, George Gallo, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Larry Cafero Date:

After winning 11 elections in his hometown, House Republican leader Larry Cafero announced Wednesday that he is retiring after 22 years in the legislature and eight years as caucus leader.

A blunt-talking political veteran, Cafero is known for his outspoken speeches on the floor of the state House of Representatives on a wide variety of high-profile issues, including the death penalty, gun control, crime, education, and the state budget. He is also known for his sharp criticisms of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy over the past 3 1/2 years.

In his 19-minute farewell speech on the House floor Wednesday, Cafero noted that he has clashed often with the House Democrats on public policies.

\”It was never personal, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart,\’\’ Cafero told his colleagues.

He also offered a bit of advice to his friends. \”Learn to laugh at yourself,\’\’ Cafero said. \”Don\’t ever take yourself too seriously.\’\’

He added, \”It\’s my turn to say goodbye. … Thank you.\’\’

Cafero, 56, cited some of the \”giants\’\’ of the state legislature who were known for their impassioned debates through the years, including Republicans Richard Belden of Shelton and William Wollenberg of Farmington and Democrats Richard Tulisano of Rocky Hill and Bill Dyson of New Haven.

\”These people were giants,\’\’ Cafero said.

He mentioned many of those in the crowded chamber who attended his farewell, including former House GOP leader Bob Ward and former Senate GOP leader Lou DeLuca.

Cafero said he was looking forward to spending time with his 94-year-old father and his 89-year-old mother who had attended a \”State of the State\’\’ speech he delivered last year in Norwalk.

\”They tied my shoes when I couldn\’t, and maybe it\’s time to tie their\’s,\’\’ Cafero said as he thanked his parents, his wife, and his three children.

Cafero will not be seeking reelection this fall, but he will continue to serve in his seat until January 2015.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, a Democrat who served in the House chamber with Cafero 20 years ago, called him \”an institution\’\’ in the legislature.

Cafero thanked everyone from his caucus to the Capitol police to the janitors who clean the Capitol at night, as well as \”our lobbyist community, who I have incredible respect for.\’\’

To mark the day, the traditional prayer at the beginning of the House session was delivered by Msgr. Walter C. Orlowski, the pastor for the past 20 years at St. Matthew Roman Catholic Church in Cafero\’s hometown of Norwalk. As the guest chaplain for the day, the monsignor cited Cafero\’s \”strength of character\’\’ in the prayer and asked that Cafero\’s future \”be filled with every grace and blessing.\’\’ Following the prayer, Cafero was asked by House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey to lead the chamber in the Pledge of Allegiance. Cafero received a round of applause after the Pledge.

Although Cafero’s announcement in the House chamber had been long planned, it was delayed several times, including by the death of Rep. Elaine O’Brien of Suffield. The announcement comes one month after the resignation of George Gallo, the longtime House Republican chief of staff who is the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation into whether Republican legislators were steered into using a Florida direct-mail house for their campaign brochures. No charges have been filed in the probe.

In a rare speech from the dais Wednesday, House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey said, \”The first person who came to me to congratulate me on my election was Larry.\’\’

\”We do have our differences. We do have our different philosophies,\’\’ Sharkey said, adding that Cafero would \”still support you on a personal level nonetheless.\’\’

\”I know I can call Larry at any time to ask for help,\’\’ Sharkey said. \”We both fundamentally love the state of Connecticut. Larry, you are an extraordinary leader and an even better friend.\’\’ Continue reading

Nonpartisan Office Projects Next Year\’s State Budget Deficit At $69.4 Million

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Beth Bye, General Assembly, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hartford, John McKinney, Larry Cafero, Tom Foley Date:

Top Republican leaders said Monday that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy\’s budget was unbalanced from the moment he delivered it last month, citing a new report by the legislature\’s nonpartisan fiscal office.

The Office of Fiscal Analysis says the projected deficit for the fiscal year that starts on July 1 is $69.4 million. The latest fiscal report focuses on the next fiscal year that starts July 1, and it does not have an impact on the current year\’s budget.

In the current year, which ends on June 30, the state has a projected surplus of more than $500 million partly because the state reaped huge capital gains from taxpayers due to the skyrocketing advances on Wall Street in 2013 that state officials believe will not be duplicated in 2014.

Senate GOP leader John McKinney of Fairfield and House GOP leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk said that Malloy\’s proposed state budget would have broken the state-mandated spending cap if it included all the items that are now being considered, including additional money for magnet schools and retirees\’ healthcare.

“It is clear now that the governor willfully disregarded what people in his own administration presented to him in their budget requests last October and November, months before he put out his budget,\’\’ Cafero said Monday. “We know now the budget was out of whack the moment he dropped it and exceeded the spending cap.’’

Citing documents from the nonpartisan fiscal office, the Republicans said that Democratic state comptroller Kevin Lembo had sought nearly $52 million on October 12, 2013 for health insurance for state retirees. The reason is that more than 800 employees in the Department of Correction are eligible to retire, but the governor\’s budget anticipates that fewer than 300 employees will retire.

The Republicans also cited a request by the state education department on Nov. 13, 2013 for nearly $34 million in additional funding for magnet schools. The fiscal office now estimates a shortfall of nearly $19 million in the account for magnet schools.

“The governor had a fiduciary responsibility to present the legislature and the people of Connecticut with a balanced budget and he failed to meet that responsibility,\’\’ McKinney said. \”What’s worse is that the omitted expenditures look intentional. How else can [state budget director Ben] Barnes and Governor Malloy explain shortchanging two areas of their budget they said were priorities?\’\’

Malloy\’s spokesman, Andrew Doba, responded, “The governor’s budget proposal is balanced. If it were passed today, we would live within it.”

\”In contrast to previous administrations, Governor Malloy has shown that he can manage to the bottom line. That’s why we’ve held growth to less than 2.8 percent over the course of his term. It’s clear that many in the Republican caucus will say anything to score cheap political points,\’\’ Doba said. \”If they were serious about managing the state’s finances, they would put forward a budget. But we all know they aren’t going to do that.\’\’

Administration officials believe they can manage the budget within the current totals, and they do not consider the projected deficit to be a major issue. A projected deficit of $69 million represents a tiny fraction of an overall budget of about $22.3 billion, including off-budget accounts, that is managed by commissioners, budget officials, and the governor. Continue reading

GOP\’s Foley Blasts Malloy Over Tony Avallone Nomination As A Judge

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Larry Cafero, Tom Foley Date:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley is blasting Gov. Dannel Malloy\’s nomination of a longtime Democratic political insider for a judgeship where he will eventually qualify for a pension of more than $100,000 per year.

Malloy nominated former state Senator Anthony Avallone, who turns 67 later this year and would qualify for a six-figure pension after reaching the age of 70. The state pension rules for judges are far more lucrative than for other state employees, and the pension is available regardless of how long the person serves as a judge. The nominations are for an 8-year term, but the mandatory retirement age is 70.

Superior Court judges are paid more than $150,000 annually, and their pensions amount to two-thirds of their salary.

“This nomination is symptomatic of two major problems with our state government,\’\’ Foley said Friday. “First, it is another example of how ordinary citizens are getting larger-than-warranted tax bills heaped on them because of the system of political favors that Governor Malloy has implemented at the Capitol.  Governor Malloy should either withdraw his nomination of Mr. Avallone or secure an agreement that he will decline or substantially reduce the extra pension benefit resulting from his very short appointment.\’\’

But Malloy\’s spokesman, Andrew Doba, responded, \”It sounds to me like Tom Foley is saying we should take a person’s age into consideration when making appointments, which would be a violation of state and federal law.\’\’ Continue reading

Senate President Don Williams Not Seeking Reelection This Fall

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Donald Williams, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hartford, John McKinney, John Rowland, Larry Cafero, Lowell Weicker, M. Jodi Rell Date:

Donald Williams, the longest-serving Senate president pro tem in state history, surprised his caucus today by announcing that he is not seeking reelection this fall.

Williams, 56, has served in the highest-ranking position in the state Senate for 10 years – surpassing all others in a position that dates back in the legislature to 1845.

At the center of the biggest issues of the day, Williams negotiated state budgets and crafted laws with the past three governors and the past four House Speakers – covering the biggest issues from the death penalty to gun control to improving education.

“It’s been a very difficult decision because I love the institution of the legislature and the Senate,’’ Williams said Wednesday in an exclusive interview with The Hartford Courant. “For a lot of reasons, I feel that this is the right time to move on to other challenges. There’s a little anxiety in that, on the one hand, but I also find that exciting.’’

After declining several times to say exactly what he will be doing, Williams flatly said “no’’ when asked if he would become a lobbyist like other previous lawmakers.

When asked if he would run for higher office, Williams said, “You should never rule something out for the future. I certainly will not be a candidate this fall’’ for any office.

“I’m not leaving this job to take a specific assignment,’’ Williams said. “I plan on exploring thoroughly what my next step will be.’’ Continue reading

Federal Subpoena In George Gallo Probe Shows Same PAC In Chris Donovan Case

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Chris Donovan, Direct Mail Systems, Elizabeth Esty, George Gallo, Larry Cafero Date:

A federal grand jury is seeking a wide variety of e-mails and text messages involving George D. Gallo, the former state Republican chairman who is now at the center of an ongoing FBI investigation into whether campaign work was steered to a Florida printing house.

The House Republican office released three subpoenas Friday that had been received in the Gallo investigation.

Subpoenas to the House Republican Campaign Committee, the House Republican office, and the New Friends political action committee all seek \”any and all documents,\’\’ including e-mails, invoices, and contracts dating back to January 2008, between Gallo and any staff member. The same request is being made of correspondence between the committees and The Vinco Group, LLC, a campaign consulting group operated by Gallo since 2003.

The latest subpoenas also seek all correspondence with Florida-based Direct Mail Systems, Inc. and a relatively small, Ohio-based company named King Strategic Communications that has 12 employees shown on its web site. Federal agents are also seeking any correspondence with any other direct mail vendor that the Republicans used. Continue reading

Former State GOP Chairman Resigns After FBI Interviews On Fla. Firm

by Categorized: Chris Donovan, George Gallo, Larry Cafero, Republicans Date:

The state Capitol was abuzz Thursday regarding interviews by at least four FBI agents of Republican legislators who used the same Florida firm for advertising in their political campaigns.

The FBI investigation is focused on Direct Mail Systems of Clearwater, Florida, which is well known in the Republican world for its expertise in direct mail for campaigns, sources said. Through the years, Republican candidates at all levels have spent more than $500,000 with the firm, which has prompted some lawmakers to question why the money was not spent on Connecticut companies. Continue reading

Keno Gambling Appears Dead in CT

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Brendan Sharkey, Democrats, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Keno, Larry Cafero, Toni Harp Date:

Keno gambling appears dead in Connecticut before the games even started – as numerous top officials now say they are against the bingo-like game.

House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey called Wednesday for the state to repeal keno before it takes effect – dealing a huge blow to the game and essentially ending its chances for implementation. Continue reading