Gideon’s suggestions for reducing the budget deficit in CT

I know no one asked, but I am nothing if not a bloviator, so these are my suggestions for reducing (even in small part) the current budget deficit that CT faces. In the style of a letter to our Governor.

Dear Governor Rell,

You and I haven’t always gotten along. In fact, it’s no secret that I don’t like your views on criminal justice and your disregard for the “rule of law”. But these are strange times and strange times make strange bedfellows – or in our case, strange letter writers and recipients.

So, in the spirit of bi-partisanship so convincingly advocated for by our C-in-C, I propose the following changes that could save the State some money, even if it isn’t much. Perhaps it can save a job or two.

  1. Stop publication of the Law Reports. In this day and age, there really is no reason for hundreds of thousands of copies of the Law Reports to be made every single week, year after year. No one really reads them, anyway. Just make one PDF file and upload it to the Judicial website. Anyone who wants a paper copy can download the damn thing and print it out on their own dime.
  2. You know that the general statutes are available online, right? For free? Yet, agencies buy them for $335 a set. I can tell you that every single attorney I know has a full set for himself/herself. Let’s stop this spending.
  3. Permit liquor sales on Sunday. More liquor sales = more tax revenue. Liquor sales on Sundays = happy people.
  4. Decriminalize possession of marijuana, eliminate the excess penalties for sale w/in 1500 feet of any city object and remove mandatory-minimum sentences.
  5. Eliminate the death penalty. A study concluded that NJ spent $253 million on the death penalty over 20 years. The NJ public defender’s office reported [pdf – page 31] that it would save $1.46 million per year if the death penalty were abolished. Who knows how much the State or corrections spends. I’m sure our numbers aren’t that different.

Madam Governor, these are but small measures that can save costs and help reduce the deficit. Don’t forget to read the comments, where my readers (who are generally much smarter than I) may make additional suggestions that would help reduce the deficit further.



5 thoughts on “Gideon’s suggestions for reducing the budget deficit in CT

  1. iBlog

    Nice post!

    A few items, off the top of my head:

    1) Reduce by (at least) 95% the governor’s budget for public relations and communications. Same for all the state commissions, departments, authorities, etc. Legislative offices too. EDUCATE, don’t spin. If you’re doing a good job – we’ll know, we’ll know.

    2) In a similar vein, eliminate all state-sponsored (Rell-gracing) public service announcements. We KNOW drunk driving is dangerous. We KNOW about missing children. The ads are cheesy, dumbed-down, and virtually impossible to not ignore.

    3) From what I understand, the evidence that police patrols actually reduce auto accidents is extremely skimpy. If that’s true, eliminate those state trooper patrols.

    4) Give up on all those embarrassing efforts to attract the film industry to Connecticut. Every other state is doing the same thing, and I seriously doubt that the “economic benefits” numbers we hear from the state have any basis in reality. Truth be told: Connecticut ain’t that special. So let’s pass the Mystic Pizza and chill. If a producer wants to film in Connecticut, he’ll know where to find Connecticut. We have signs.

    5) Kill the 211 help-line program. I’ve never been able to successfully use it to learn any information about anything. I think 211 often (primarily?) serves the state as all-purpose excuse for NOT offering enough REAL services. Just make sure the 411 operators and the operators at the main state government numbers have a good list of direct lines to the various agencies.

    I’m interested to see what others ideas people have.

  2. Chris

    The public needs print reporters and statutes. There is still a significant percentage of the public who either don’t have access to or don’t feel comfortable with computers. They deserve access to the law as well.

    Also, there is still no adequate authentication of online primary legal sources:

    Until some of these issues are appropriately addressed, abolishing print statutes, regulations, and case law makes no sense and may very well be undemocratic.

    All people should have access to the law.

    1. Gideon Post author

      What percentage of lay people are interested in the Law Reports? And what percentage of those lay people don’t have access to a computer? The answer, I believe, is a miniscule amount.

      So 100 copies and send it to each library in the State. Done. If you don’t like computers you go to the local library to read it.

      Everyone in a law office has to know how to use a computer and be comfortable with it. For them, there’s no need for paper copies.

  3. Pingback: Dear Governor Rell: death penalty’s broke and we can’t fix it | a public defender

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