The Capitol Beat: September 9-13, 2013

From Gaffney, Bennett & Associates

September 9, 2013 – September 13, 2013

Tuesday featured numerous primaries across Connecticut as well as in neighboring New York City.  At least one of those primaries will result in a runoff – see below.

  • Candidates Turn Attention to November after Tuesday’s Primaries

In New Haven, State Sen. Toni Harp garnered over 50-percent of the vote in a four-way primary, though the second-place finisher, Justin Elicker, has indicated he will run as an independent on the November 5 ballot.  In Stamford, Democrat and local Board of Finance member David Martin, the party-endorsed candidate, narrowly defeated State Rep. William Tong for the right to challenge former Republican Lt. Governor Michael Fedele in the general election.  Further south across the George Washington Bridge, city advocate Bill de Blasio came from the back of the pack to defeat William C. Thompson, Jr. in the Democratic primary for Mayor of New York City. Thompson has said he may challenge de Blasio in a runoff if he meets the 40-percent threshold after all paper ballots are counted.  Joseph J. Lhota, a strong soldier of outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, won the Republican mayoral primary.

  • Exploration Announcement of the Week

Meanwhile, in the run up to the still-distant gubernatorial election in 2014, Republican Tom Foley of Greenwich this week threw his hat into an increasingly crowded ring to challenge incumbent Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy of Stamford.  Foley lost to Malloy by some 6,500 votes in his self-funded gubernatorial bid in 2010. This time around he may decide to seek public financing.

  • BlumShapiro Survey May be Business Bellwether

In its recently unveiled 2013 survey of Connecticut businesses, developed in collaboration with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, BlumShapiro reports that the uncertainty of the state economy is the greatest concern for 34 percent of CT businesses that responded.  Concerns about the state economy were followed by worries about the national economy (21 percent), tax burden (14 percent) and Obamacare (11 percent). Though the survey response rate (7.4 percent) was slightly lower than previous years, perhaps due to survey fatigue, the chief marketing officer at BlumShapiro said he believes the numbers reflect what the business community is feeling in the state.

  • CT Workers’ Comp Costs Rise 9 Percent; Add to List of Concerns

According to a new report from the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), a nonprofit industry tracker, total workers’ compensation benefits paid out in Connecticut rose 8.9 percent to $866 million in 2011.  Nationwide, total workers’compensation benefits rose by 3.5 percent to $60.2 billion in 2011.

  • DEEP to Develop Integrated Resource Plan for Electric Grid

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection this week began laying the foundation for development of a comprehensive, integrated plan.  The plan, a draft of which is expected in January, 2014, will look at: whether the region has a sufficient supply of electricity; how to begin a reduction in Connecticut’s reliance on wood-burning biomass plants; energy security; sufficiency of Connecticut’s transmission capabilities; how state emissions rules are affecting energy prices; and projections of future energy needs.  Following the release of the draft plan, there will be a 60-day public comment, public hearing phase.

  • Did You Know…

Scandinavia, specifically Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, are among the happiest nations in the world, according to the 2013 Happiness Report published by Columbia University.  The United States came in #17. Not bad when compared to other superpowers Russia (#68) and China (#93). Have a good laugh!

In the news