29 June 2007

Stillman Waters Run Deep

It's been a bad week for State Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, who has proved she has selective memory when serving her constituents. Earlier this week, she and fellow Democrat State Rep. Tom Reynolds, D-Gales Ferry, expressed mock outrage over the budget bill when it was disclosed by The Day, that $40 million had been ripped out of a plan to boost a state commitment to rebuild part a U.S. Navy pier at the Groton Sub-base.

What made that comical was Stillman and Reynolds were more concerned with getting $200,000 for creating a new State Office of Military Affairs. And, of course, they both voted for the bill, even though Stillman is the co-chairman of the Finance Committee and someone you would expect to read the fine print, especially when it concerns her district.

Now, The Day found that Stillman was paying attention when she landed a $50,000 tax break to a local church for property it was renting to another non-profit group in New London. The local officials were none too happy with this rat because it left them short of badly needed income and set a horrible precedent for future tax issues. Tax officials in New London called Stillman to tell them it wasn't a good idea. Stillman claimed they didn't and offered a dyspeptic response :

“I never had a conversation with her. And if it's so important, pick up the phone. If I got an e-mail, it was after the fact."

The bottom line is Governor Rell and both Democrats and Republican budget negotiators showed prudence in not ponying up $40 million in hard budget dollars to give to the U.S. Navy with no assurances that the base will be safe from closure. The investment can be done through a revenue bond whereby the Navy contributes to the repayment and not walk away with a vastly improved pier when it suits them. Governor Rell understands this and has not walked away from her commitment to Groton. Sen. Stillman thought she could buy a some points by putting in a totally unrealistic ask when her own people knew it was crap.