Even amid a long-term nationwide decline in violent crime, New Haven last month found itself in company it would prefer not to keep.
New crime data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation ranked the City of Elms No. 4 on the list of “America’s Most Dangerous Cities” (behind Flint, Mich., Detroit and St. Louis) on a per-capita basis.
“New Haven has historically had the highest rate of violent crime on the East Coast,” observed the Atlantic Monthly. “The impoverished, crime-ridden parts of the city stand in stark contrast to affluent Fairfield County to the west and elite Yale University, which is located within the city itself.” The number of homicides in the city doubled last year. New Haven has the eighth-highest rate of robbery and the fourth-highest rate of assault in the U.S.
Gun violence is out of control here. From January 1 through mid-May, 55 people had been shot in New Haven, nine of whom died. City leaders have spent the last five years trumpeting New Haven’s exceptionalism among Connecticut cities, especially as evidenced by the vitality of the center city. But that is a thin reed upon which to pin hopes for the future. The entire community has a vital stake in pressuring City Hall to take swift and vigorous action to make the city’s streets — all its streets — safer.
Legislation that will make Connecticut the first state in the nation to force employers to provide five days of paid sick leave, coming hard on the heels of the biggest tax increase ever, makes Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s "Open for Business" sales pitches one of the most dishonest ever.
Notes Andrew Markowski, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, "There's an entire division of lawyers in the Attorney General's office who prosecute private businesses that make phony claims like that.”
On May 25, just one day after New York Democrats, not known for their pro-business leaning, agreed to a cap on property taxes, Connecticut lawmakers narrowly jammed through the Senate a mandated paid sick leave bill that is certain to function as an artificial brake on job creation.
"Small-business owners hire new workers when the profit in doing so exceeds the cost,” Markowski said. “This legislation increases the cost of hiring new workers, which means that there will be fewer of them in Connecticut.”
Proof that paid sick leave will create a new burden lies in an amendment to the legislation.
"The same legislators who say that paid sick leave is a form of social justice nevertheless exempted social workers," said Markowski, who pointed out that the amendment to the original bill lets hundreds of social service organizations and non-profits off the hook.
"Why?" asked Markowski. "Because they know that the bill increases the cost of employment for these organizations. So the amendment lets them pick winners and losers — and small businesses in Connecticut are the losers."
Paid sick leave forces small companies to pay overtime or hire temporary workers to compensate for absent employees.
"Essentially, they have to pay for the same work twice — they have to pay the worker who isn't there and they have to pay someone to replace them," he explained. "And if they can't pay more money, they lose productivity. Either way, small businesses lose money."