TAX COLLECTIONS UP, MEDICARE SAVINGS RESTORED
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The office of Connecticut’s governor says the state’s projected revenue from personal income tax collections has risen by more than $900 million. The estimates include accelerated payments that were made ahead of changes in the federal tax law as well as one-time payments that hedge fund managers had to pay to bring overseas profits back into the United States. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said it’s promising news for the state. Also Monday, the General Assembly passed a measure to restore full Medicare benefits for over 90,000 people who rely on the program for office visits and other procedures. The Medicare Savings Program had been cut by lawmakers late last year to close a deficit. The legislation passed by the House and Senate is a temporary fix to restore those benefits.
MORE CT RESIDENTS COVERED UNDER OBAMACARE
Access Health Connecticut says 2-percent more people signed up for health coverage on the Obamacare exchange this year, than last year — despite uncertainty about the program as Republicans in Washington tried to eliminate Obamacare. Access Health Connecticut C-E-O Jim Wadleigh says the 114-thousand enrollees exceeds his expectations. About three-quarters of the people on the exchange received some sort of subsidy to make their insurance more affordable.
MILESTONE IN NOMINEE FOR NEW CONNECTICUT CHIEF JUSTICE
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s nominee to be Connecticut’s next chief justice would be the first openly gay leader of a state Supreme Court. The Democratic governor announced Monday that longtime friend and current Associate Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald was his nominee for the court’s highest post. Chief Justice Chase Rogers is retiring next month. Puerto Rico Chief Justice Maite Oronoz Rodriguez became the first openly gay chief justice in U.S. history in February 2016. The 51-year-old McDonald has served on the Supreme Court for five years and was nominated by Malloy. Before that, he was general counsel for the governor’s office under Malloy, a state senator from Stamford and corporation counsel for the city of Stamford when Malloy was mayor. McDonald must be confirmed by the legislature.
GAS LEAK AT DEANS MILL
Deans Mill Elementary School in Stonington closed early today due to a propane gas leak. Police say the leak occurred at a nearby construction site, when a relief cap on an exterior propane tank failed while a delivery was being made. Students attending a before school program were evacuated as a precaution, while all students were taken to the Mystic Middle School gym before being dismissed at 11:30 AM.. Deans Mill will reopen tomorrow. The school is undergoing a restoration and expansion.
ESCAPED INMATE HAS UNIQUE TATTOO
ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut prison officials say an inmate who escaped from a medium security prison this weekend has a tattoo on his neck that reads, “Time Waits For No One.” Correction commissioner Scott Semple says authorities believe 25-year-old Jerry Mercado may have stowed away in the undercarriage of a garbage truck or state vehicle to make his escape from the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution in Enfield on Sunday. Mercado was discovered missing during a routine facility count at about 3 p.m. The building was placed in lockdown. Mercado is classified as a low-risk offender. He was sentenced in August 2016 to three years for burglary. Semple says the department has identified “vulnerabilities” in its security practices which may have contributed to the escape.
LANDSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS FOR BREAKERS
NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) – Officials are planning a multimillion-dollar restoration project on the landscape at The Breakers mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. The Providence Journal reports the van Beuren Charitable Foundation approved a $1 million grant for The Preservation Society of Newport County in November. Preservation Society CEO Trudy Coxe says the gift will enable work to begin “almost immediately” on the project. Foundation officials say they will restore the mansion landscape to its early 1900s appearance. The winding entrance drive will be resurfaced. Officials say they will also plant new trees and flowers on the property, upgrade landscape lighting and replace sidewalks. Officials say the restoration will enhance the visitor experience.