Saturday marks my 35th anniversary in Connecticut. I joined WPOP as an intern from UMass on April 4, 1974. I still have the memo to the staff from then-news director Charlie Steiner (now the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers). I would share what he wrote, but it’s offensive on many levels, so I’ll keep it to myself. Still, it cracks me up. WPOP was a Top-40 station (“WPOP doubles the hits for Glastonbury and New Britain!”), and I was a fledgling member of the Hotline News team. And I made $2.00 an hour!!! Could it get any better?
I bring this up as the hissing begins over the budget under the golden dome in Hartford. And it dawned on me why, in 35 years, I only covered the legislature for, oh, a week. In the early ’80s. As a vacation fill-in.
Case in point: the list of exempt items the Democrats want to slap the sales tax on.
Smoking cessation products. OK, let me get this straight. You raise the taxes on cigarettes. (And the reason, of course, is to encourage people to quit, which is absolute b******t.) Then you start taxing the stuff that will help them quit? Wow. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
And my favorite: disposable pads for incontinence. Unfortunately, I’m familiar with the product for use on people with terminal illnesses who can’t get out of bed to relieve themselves. I don’t know much, but I do know me. And I know if I covered the denizens of the dome, I would seek out the the person who singled out Depends for taxation. “What made you think of taxing disposable pads for incontinence? No, really, what was your thought process? Do you roam through supermarkets looking for things to tax? Do you use them yourself?”
But hey, that’s just me. The people we elect to do this business have to be tougher than ever, and it appears they’ll throw more s**t against the wall than ever to see what sticks. No pun intended.
But thank god for domophiles like Tom Monahan, who can walk in that building day after day, year after year, and not go crazy. After all these years, he has my admiration and appreciation.