EXCLUSIVE: Chris Davis Talks Bond Commission Spending, Soccer Stadiums, and Fish PoopFebruary 16, 2018
We're not kidding.
State Rep. Christopher Davis (R-Ellington) was again part of a lonely contingent at Friday’s State Bond Commission meeting, opposing many agenda items because he thinks they are wasteful uses of taxpayer dollars.
Sometimes, though, that waste is literal.
One of the agenda items approved on Friday will “[subsidize] fish excrement,” according to Davis.
It appears to be Item 42(K) in the Bond Commission agenda (page 54):
These funds are requested to provide a loan to New Opportunities Inc. dba Food 4 Thought to assist with machinery and equipment for to establish an aquaponic fish farm and hydroponic vegetable farm in Torrington. The company will create 18 jobs within three years.
The aquaponic fish farm will use fish waste as nutrients for vegetables, which the above non-profit will then sell.
It’s a $1 million bond item, and will create only 18 jobs.
“Even the [Connecticut Department of Energy & Environment] commissioner admitted this is not the type of deal they would normally structure,” Davis said.
It was just one wasteful item approved by the State Bond Commission on Friday, though.
Davis pointed to the $122 million approved for the Gold Star Bridge, and noted that, because of certain rules around the agenda item, the work is likely to go to unions that come with “extra costs.”
“The Malloy administration is putting on requirements that artificially increase the costs,” Davis said. “Perhaps [this] can be done more efficiently, at a better cost.”
In one memorable exchange, Davis went back and forth with Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) over whether the $10 million bonded for a stadium in Hartford will actually benefit the city and state.
“They’re hoping to get a team to expand in league that already has 30 teams,” Davis said.
WHAT’S TO COME
Davis noted, “I don’t oppose every single item all the time.”
“There’s a place for bonding,” he added, citing infrastructure and, in some cases, economic development.
Davis indicated support for the $30 million towns are asking for to improve roads, which was passed over by the Malloy administration for some of the above items.
“I don’t know why the Malloy administration didn’t include this,” Davis said. “I think it’s important that we stay on task, of what we’re actually spending the money on.”
The State Bond Commission may not be using taxpayer dollars wisely in 2018, but under Chris Davis’ watch, they won’t be able to do so without taxpayers hearing about it first.
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