The state with the richest population may not have enough money in its own pockets.
Connecticut has roughly half of what it needs to pay future retirement benefits for its workers, meaning the home to scores of hedge funds and some of the country’s wealthiest towns is wrestling with financial distress rivaling that of Kentucky or Illinois.
Some investors concerned about the size of Connecticut’s pension hole are backing away from bonds issued by the Constitution State or demanding bigger rewards to hold them. Investors in some Connecticut state bonds now get a premium of about half a percentage point above benchmark bonds from other states, up from 0.28 percentage point a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters Municipal Market Data. Only four other U.S. states are now priced as riskier bets.
When oil prices rise yet again – as they always do – Mainers will return to spending an outsized portion of their paychecks on staying warm, unless more is done to prepare their homes for cold weather.
To make this time of low costs count, then, residents should take the long view.
The savings should be used to weatherize homes and replace old heating systems, projects that pay out year after year for the life of a home, and help cut down on the use of fossil fuels as well.
But this year, that money will go a long way, and the federal government should use this winter, one that looks like it will be without a heating crisis, to invest in its Weatherization Assistance Program.
About 50,000 Mainers are eligible for LIHEAP, and thankful for it. But that money is gone as soon as the fuel is burned up the chimney.
Weatherization, however, pays out winter after winter – a good reason to boost the number of Maine homes that are reached by the program each year.
The savings from this winter should be used as much as possible to make up for that imbalance, and ensure that this temporary dip in home heating oil prices pays off for the long term