Thursday, July 23, 2009

Governor Rell's Approval Rating drops in Response to Strong SEBAC Criticism and Ad Campaign

[Note: The coalition of labor and community organizations is sponsoring a street theater event, "Billionaires for Budget Cuts," on Thursday, July 30, 2009 at the State Capitol - 12 Noon. DON'T MISS IT! See the July 21st blog entery below.]

The following article is from the In This Together Ct coalition.

Today, the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute released new approval rating numbers for Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell. Now at a 65 percent approval rating, the Q-Poll notes that this is the first time in over five years that the Governor’s rating has dipped below 70 percent.

“I am not surprised that her approval numbers are beginning to drop,” said Ron McLellan, the President of CEUI/SEIU Local 511. “Until this economic crisis, Governor Rell could hide her allegiance to big corporations and Connecticut’s wealthiest citizens. But now, when the difficult decisions must be made, she has taken money from services that protect the middle-class and that support the most vulnerable among us — all so that the rich and big businesses don’t have to sacrifice.”

In spite of the Governor’s refusal to raise taxes on the wealthy, the Q-Poll shows that 71% of voters support “raising the state income tax for individuals making at least $265,000 per year and couples making at least $500,000.” The poll also finds that 55% of voters reject the “argument that raising taxes will force wealthier residents to move out of Connecticut.” A majority of voters also support raising taxes on corporations.

“Governor Rell’s budget and Executive Orders balance the deficit on the backs of Connecticut’s low-wage families and vulnerable individuals. The Governor does not ask our wealthiest households and corporations to step up to the plate and be part of the solution,” said Maggie Adair, Policy Director for Connecticut Association for Human Services, an organization that works to end poverty and empower families. “Her budget priorities do not reflect the opinion of Connecticut’s residents, who overwhelmingly support increasing the income tax on our highest wage earners. It’s time for policy makers to listen to the people and ask our wealthiest citizens to pay a little more to keep families healthy and safe.”

In February, the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) launched an aggressive television campaign that was designed to educate the public about the Governor’s budget priorities and to hold her accountable for her budget decisions.

“Another example of misplaced priorities is that the Governor wants to close vocational technical schools,” said Rick Tanasi, President of the State Vocational Federation of Teachers, AFT Connecticut. “It’s disappointing, but it’s also extremely short-sighted. Education is key to our economic recovery. Educational opportunities help families become and remain self-sufficient and an educated workforce will attract employers to our state.”

SEBAC and advocacy organizations like Better Choices for Connecticut vowed to continue their public awareness campaign in the upcoming months and into the gubernatorial election season.

CEUI/SEIU and AFT Connecticut are two of the thirteen unions in SEBAC, which serves to unite approximately 50,000 Connecticut State public service workers to address issues of common concern. To learn more about the coalition’s campaign for a fair budget and view the video of their latest TV ad, visit

Posted by Tom Connolly

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