Al Terzi WTIC-TV FOX CT on the Berlin Property Owners Association (BPOA)

WTIC-TV FOX CT interviewed attendees and Town Councilors on the $2.2 million increase in Berlin’s annual budget.

William Brighenti, an attendee of the BPOA, Charles Paonessa and David Evans, Berlin Town Councilors, spoke during the interview.

Next meeting of the Berlin Property Owners Association (BPOA) is scheduled for April 2nd, 6 PM, in the hall above Joel’s Hair Salon located at 883 Farmington Avenue, Kensington.

All are welcome to attend.  The BPOA is a nonpartisan association of Berlin property owners and small business owners in Berlin.

Our mission includes controlling the increase in our Town’s government spending and retaining existing small businesses in Berlin as well as attracting new businesses to Berlin, Connecticut.

Please become involved.  We need your participation.

For more information, please email berlinctpropertyownersassn@gmail.com or call (860) 249-1571.

Thank you.

Berlin Property Owners Association (BPOA)

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Berlin residents speak at Town Council meeting, March 18th

Four Berlin residents spoke about the Town’s annual budget at the Town Council meeting held on March 18th.  It was the first opportunity provided to Berlin residents to voice their opinions about the 1.1% tax increase approved by the Town Council last week.

I raised questions about the annual budget and the democratic process in the Town of Berlin.

My wife, Carole Brighenti, a lifelong Berlin resident, expressed her concerns about never-ending tax increases in the face of a never-ending economic recession when so many middle class families are struggling to make ends meet.

Jim Kasulis, a small business owner and lifelong Berlin resident, requested that taxes be lowered and not raised, stating that property taxes of $600 per month already constituted one-third of his monthly mortgage payment.  At 47 years of age, and thirty years remaining on his mortgage, he feared not being able to afford these taxes much longer.  Jim also recommended using the internet to conduct the Town referendum in order to enhance participation in the democratic process.

Karen Salwocki, former Deputy Mayor and long-time Berlin resident, recognized the need for increases in property taxes but requested that they be reduced in size rather than at the percentages that have been occurring over the years.

We have good citizens serving on the Town Council, Board of Education, and Town commissions.  We have qualified employees serving in the Town of Berlin.  I have heard a number of complaints about taxes and the treatment of small businesses in our Town.  If the citizens of Berlin do not participate in the democratic process afforded to them by the Town, and fail to participate in Town meetings or our association of property owners, then are these complaints worthy of serious attention?

In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.  All citizens have a responsibility to be informed about and to participate in the governance of their Town.  Continued irresponsibility of citizenry may lead to inequity and abuses in government from well-organized, powerful, minority constituencies.

If the citizens of Berlin desire lower taxes or changes in the governance of their Town, then should they not have the courage to step forward and speak out?  The Berlin Property Owners Association affords citizens the opportunity of doing so in a group with the support of their fellow citizens.  Without participating in an association, citizens are left to speak out alone against injustice; however, many never do so because of fears of reprisals and retribution.  That is one of the reasons for participating in a property owners association so that your voice and concerns are one of many.

Franklin Roosevelt’s admonition‒—”The only thing to fear is fear itself”‒—has as much applicability today as it did following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  Those words have relevance to our citizens here in Berlin as well.

Mayor Rachel Rochette invited all of us to come back and speak at the public hearing to be held on April 8th, 7:00 PM, at McGee School.  To Mayor Rochette’s credit, she makes herself available to meet with citizens weekly even though she has a job and family responsibilities.  When I spoke to the Town Council on March 18th, she gave me the courtesy of listening to what I was saying.  I liked that.

The Town Councilors are good citizens, giving selflessly of their time for you.  You, as a citizen, have a responsibility to participate in our Town government.  If you object to higher taxes or have other concerns about our Town’s governance, join us at the next meeting of the Berlin Property Owners Association on March 26th, 6:00 PM, in the hall above Joel’s Hair Salon located at 883 Farmington Avenue, Kensington.  All are welcome.  Our association is nonpartisan.

Let’s begin a constructive dialogue together with our good citizens in governance and support our democratic process.

Thank you.

William Brighenti

Berlin Property Owners Association

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Our rich Connecticut Senator, Richard Blumenthal, double dips into our tax dollars

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal in his Greenwich residence valued at $3,142,164 by Zillow

According to the National Journal, Senator Richard Blumenthal may be the third richest member in the United States Senate.  According to an article published in the Connecticut Post on August 17, 2012, the Blumenthals have an average net worth of $112 million.

Our United States Senator resides in a Greenwich residence valued at $3,142,164 by Zillow, consisting of thirteen rooms (not including bathrooms) and 5,698 square feet of living space on 2.11 acres of land.  It’s good to be King; and it’s not too shabby being a US Senator either.

Despite all of his wealth, Senator Richard Blumenthal has no qualms about double dipping into taxpayers’ pockets.  Not only does he reap the Senator’s salary of $174,000 annually, but he also receives a $47,000 annual state pension from having served as Connecticut’s Attorney General.

When confronted by the National Journal about him accepting the $47,000 annual state pension even though he is employed as a member in the United States Senate at an annual salary of $174,000, his response was that of a very slick attorney and politician:

The benefits I’m receiving from the state were earned over more than two decades of public service, and they’re two separate entities, two separate governments, and … they’re being paid according to law. I’m not going to comment as to any aspect of my financial disclosure. I would just say, I seek to give back through public service [my emphasis] and other ways such as the charitable contributions that my wife and I make.

What some might find offensive in his remark is his assertion that he is giving back through pubic service.  Giving back?  Since when does giving back  include getting compensated $221,000 per year for public service?  Most individuals would consider that a compensation package to die for, not an act of charity on Blumenthal’s part.  Isn’t that remark an insult to the intelligence of the taxpayers of Connecticut?

There is an elitism in Congress and the Administration that is offensive to many middle class families, looking for work, struggling to hold onto their jobs, trying to pay their mortgages and property taxes and grocery bills.  It is time to rid all politics and politicians of political contributions, lobbyists, PACs, Super PACs, etc.  According to ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, lobbying is legalized bribery.

Unfortunately, since these wealthy politicians legislate the laws of the land, what chance do our citizens have of ridding politicians and politics of all money?

The Barefoot Accountant

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The Depot Crossing in Berlin, Connecticut: Another Government Bailout of Banks, Financial Institutions, and Investors?

Depot CrossingYes, no one would deny that the Depot Crossing is an eyesore to the Town of Berlin; however, why should the Town of Berlin pay $850,000 for the Depot Crossing since that is the amount listed in Berlin’s property records as the sales price paid by the New England Capital Group, LLC on August 27, 2012?

Given an assessed value of $1,321,000, and given the projected mill rate of 29, that means annual property taxes of approximately $38,000. Are the owners of the property current with all of the taxes on the property?

Also since the property is blighted property, are not the owners liable for significant fines and penalties if the property is not improved in timely fashion to an acceptable condition? If the building is not corrected and fines and property taxes remain unpaid, the Town of Berlin ultimately could acquire the property by seizing it, right? Wouldn’t that be a lot cheaper than spending $850,000? What am I missing here?

So where is the logic of paying New England Capital Group, LLC the full sales price of $850,000 listed on the town’s records? If the property was worth $850,000 in its present condition, wouldn’t market forces have acted, resulting in its sale to interested developers? But the property has not sold. Doesn’t that imply much about its market value?

The citizens of the Town of Berlin should not be bailing out finance companies. Haven’t we learned anything from the recent bank bailouts? The building department and tax collectors should be taking appropriate measures and exerting sufficient economic pressure on the current owners of Depot Crossing to improve the property to an acceptable condition or sell it to an interested developer at its present market value rather than permit an indefinite holding in its present condition.

If the current owners prove unresponsive, fines, penalties, and seizure-of-property measures should force a more favorable resolution to the taxpayers of the Town of Berlin than a grant from a governmental agency, which is ultimately picked up by all taxpayers. Surely there are alternatives available other than paying the full sales price paid by the current owners.

Let’s make those who undertake these risks pick up their own tab for their losses. After all, isn’t this a free market? I don’t get any governmental bailouts. Do you?

I, for one, am sick and tired of bailing out banks and finance companies. It’s time for those who finance these investments to pick up their own tab.

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Connecticut has the best tax code money can buy!

blue dog democrats make the perfect corporate pet

Blue Dog Democrats Make the Perfect Corporate Pets!

Another regressive tax is about to be passed by our beloved Connecticut legislators, even though our Governor is a Democrat and the House and Senate are controlled by Democrats. If you didn’t know by now, there has been a new breed of Democrats spawned over the last twenty-five years; extinct is the FDR species that gave us the middle class. What we have now is a Democratic Party who gave us NAFTA, the repeal of Glass-Steagall, the Commerce Act permitting derivative trading, bailouts of banksters, the National Defense Authorization Act, and a host of other corporate goodies….

Yes, we have a new breed of Democrats, and they have a name: blue-dog Democrats. These Democrats are largely indistinguishable from Republicans regarding corporate policies. Recall that last year and this year Obama proposed cutting the corporate tax rate, as well as agreeing to cuts in Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are blue-dog Democrats; they are not of the FDR generation or tradition.

So is it any wonder then that our Democratic Governor, Dan Malloy, is also a blue-dog Democrat, as well as many of our Democratic State Senators, and State Representatives? And is it any surprise that they will propose and support another regressive tax aimed at working and middle class families, sparring their super wealthy and corporate campaign contributors from progressive taxes?

This new found regressive tax to which I make reference is Raised Bill No. 6650, which proposes a 3.5 cent tax on every gallon of heating oil. It is a regressive tax because it robs more disposable income on a percentage basis from the working classes than it does from that of those multi-billionaire hedge fund managers living in Fairfield County.

But did not our Democratic controlled leadership just recently increase the sales tax, another regressive tax? And did it not also increase the state income tax rate on middle class families anywhere from 10% to 30%, while only increasing the rate on the super wealthy by a paltry 3%?

Isn’t it bad enough that $2 or $3 billion-dollar-per-year hedge fund managers living in Fairfield County only pay a 15% carried interest tax rate on their earnings to the federal government while middle class families pay on average 35% of taxes in total on their earnings? Do all tax increases now–even those at the state level–also have to be regressive in nature?

Blue Dog Democrats Make the Perfect Corporate Pets

Blue Dog Democrats Make the Perfect Corporate Pets

Sure, I know the Republican mantra: don’t increase taxes on billionaire hedge fund managers because if we do, then they will not create jobs for us. (Just look at all the jobs they created over the past fifteen years. See all those help wanted ads in the Courant?) But I never expected Democrats to buy into that mantra, too.

Yeah, we have the best tax code money can buy, thanks to our blue-dog Democrats.

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Another regressive tax on the middle class?! Will Abercrombie, Aresimowicz, and Gerratana vote for yet another regressive tax on working families?

Another regressive tax on the middle class?! Will Abercrombie, Aresimowicz, and Gerratana of Berlin, Connecticut vote for yet another regressive tax on working families?

A bill has been raised in the General Assembly calling for a 3.5 cent tax per gallon on heating oil: Raised Bill No. 6650. It’s not bad enough that Berlin residents are paying nearly $4.00 per gallon for heating oil during an endless and a deep recession, but now another regressive tax is being considered again on working families of Connecticut. Are not Dan Malloy, Catherine Abercrombie, Joe Aresimowicz, and Theresa Gerratana Democrats? Are not Democrats suppose to oppose regressive taxes? Have you heard any of these four Democrats come out stridently against this yet another regressive tax on working families?

This is at least the third regressive tax we have witnessed in recent years with Democrats at the helm. The sales tax was increased from 6% to 6.35%. The state income tax rate increased anywhere from 10% to 30% on middle class Connecticut families, but only 3% on the super wealthy. Are not Democrats suppose to represent working, middle class families? Then why did our Democratic Governor, Malloy, and our Democratic State Senator, Gerratana, and our Democratic State Representatives, Abercrombie and Aresimowicz, vote for passage of a state income tax sparring the super wealthy from its equitable share of Connecticut’s tax burden? Isn’t it bad enough that the billionaire hedge-fund executives pay only a 15% federal income tax rate on their earnings while middle class families average 35%? Where are the voices crying out for the middle class?

Working families feel the brunt of regressive taxes while a wealthy executive and owner of a Connecticut business is rewarded with $14.8 million in Connecticut tax credits for her company, and then is permitted to sell these credits. Why are not the Democratic leaders speaking up and opposing this inequity in our state’s tax laws? Do you hear their strident voices in opposition?

It’s time to make taxes progressive. It’s time for blue-dog Democrats to be replaced by progressive Democrats who advocate for working and middle class families.

Connecticut has the best tax system that money can buy. Remember this when you go to the polls again and vote for Governor, State Senator, and State Representative.

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Political opportunism over principles? Glenn Greenwald predicts that President Obama will shift even further to the political right over the next four years and that Democratic voters will continue to give him a pass

Progressives, liberals, Democrats continue to look the other way from Obama’s continuation of the Bush counter-terroism policies even though they attacked the Bush administration for the use of these same politicies.  Glenn Greenwald makes a scathing attack on the political opportunism and hypocrisy of Democrats and liberals supportive of President Obama.

 

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A Message from President Mitt Romney to the Voters of Berlin, Connecticut

Even though Barack Obama won the popular vote in Connecticut by a significant margin, he barely squeaked by in Berlin, Connecticut with a very slim victory of only 138 votes. Obviously, Mitt Romney won the hearts and minds of many, many voters in Berlin, Connecticut.

I just received a telephone call from a Berlin supporter of Willard Mitt Romney, urging all of you Berlinites to petition Washington in order to secede from the Union and annoint Mitt Romney as the President–and Ann Romney as Queen–of these newly created Secession States. He wanted me to assure you that Mitt will be ready to assume the Presidency of these Secession States of America and fix the economic malaise caused solely by Barack Obama and confronting all of us by creating well-paying jobs through Romney’s well thought out, six-point, economic plan:

  1. Lower the highest effective tax rate on ordinary income from 35% to 20% since it has been stifling investment
  2. Eliminate the capital gains tax entirely since it has been stifling investment
  3. Eliminate taxes on dividend income for millionaires since it has been stifling investment
  4. Eliminate taxes on carried interest since it has been stifling investment and hampering the luxurious life style of our beloved billionaire hedge fund managers
  5. Eliminate the estate tax since it has been stifling investment and coffin sales
  6. Eliminate corporate taxes since it has been stifling investment and has been a major cause of outsourcing of jobs over the past 15 years

This truly is an innovative, bold, progressive, job-creating economic platform. Who would ever dispute its effectiveness, its Americanness, its freedomness, its Ronald Reaganness, and its Godliness!

In the mean time, you can watch a video which I recently obtained showing how Mitt Romney has been moving on since the election and how he has been preparing for the Presidency of our new, Godly, Reaganesque Secession States of America. (“Bedtime for Bonzo” will follow shortly.)

Long live Mitt Romney. And God save our Secession States of America.

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My email to Congressman John Larson, House Representative from Connecticut’s 1st District, on the Fiscal Cliff

Connecticut Congressman John LarsonDear Congressman John Larson, Representative from Connecticut’s 1st District:

Please do not support President Obama’s likely concession to the Republican “Grand Bargain”:  three cuts in spending for every dollar raised from “revenue enhancements”.

For $1 trillion in revenue enhancements, President Obama wants to cave into the Republicans and cut $3 trillion in spending, including social security, medicare, medicaid, and other entitlements, but sparring the military-industrial complex, which consumes 20% of our annual federal budget.

On December 31, 2012, it would be much more beneficial to the middle class to just let those Bush tax cuts expire on the wealthy, including the return of the Clinton-era tax rates of as much as 39.6% on ordinary income and 20% on capital gains as well as the removal of the special tax treatment accorded to dividend income and carried interest for billionaire hedge fund managers.

Please do not support President Obama’s allegiance to Wall Street; please support the middle class and labor:  the people who voted you into office again.

I did not vote for you to cave into Wall Street as President Obama will do once again.

Thank you,

William Brighenti, CPA

Please urge your Representative in the House and your Senators to vote for tax increases on the rich rather than cuts to social security, medicare, and medicaid.  Thank you.

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Rowdy Roddy Piper, former star wrestler for Linda McMahon’s company, WWE, slams Linda McMahon

Linda McMahon can spend nearly $100 million on two campaigns for the US Senate from Connecticut, but according to Rowdy Roddy Piper, former star wrestler for WWE, her company did not provide medical nor retirement benefits, nor contribute to social security or medicare, nor even at times pay for travel and hotel expenses for some of its wrestlers, whose base salaries are as low as $35,000 annually, in spite of reported earnings of $100 million from a Wrestlemania event.

If this is how Linda McMahon treats her wrestlers and people working for her company, imagine how she would have treated you, her voters?

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