About 50 Darien League of Women Voters' members, guests, and town officials attended the recent LWV Annual Meeting and Lunch held at the Country Club of Darien.

The featured speaker was Shelley Geballe, co-founder and distinguished Senior Fellow at Connecticut Voices for Children, an organization she founded and served as president for thirteen years.

Geballe received her law degree from Yale Law School and her public health degree from Yale Medical School, and presently lectures at both schools. Her research, writing and advocacy focus on state and federal tax policy, family economic security, child welfare and juvenile justice.

Out of this broad background of experience, she spoke to her audience on the topic "What Every Connecticut Taxpayer Needs to Know about Connecticut's Budget." She described the many problems the State now faces in financing important state programs. She pointed out that Connecticut's spending has grown out of balance in many ways.

The national recession threw Connecticut, as most every other state, into a budget crisis. Unemployment and depressed sales resulted in lower receipts from state taxes. Because of Connecticut's wealth and the dominance of the financial services in Connecticut's economy, the State was especially vulnerable in the current downturn. The reduced state aid to towns forced towns to raise property taxes or reduce services. In October 2009, Geballe reported, Moody's Financial Services revised Connecticut's financial outlook from "Stable" to "Negative." "Given the magnitude of the recent one--time actions taken to balance the budget," Moody said, "Connecticut will likely struggle more than other states in the near term to achieve structural budget balance, especially once the federal stimulus funds are no longer available.".

Prior to Geballe's presentation, the League thanked those who worked to make the year 2009-2010 so successful and chose new officers and directors for the year 2010-2011.

The following members were elected: co-presidents, Liz Bacon and Nora McIlree; vice president voters Services, Gwen Mogenson; Voters Guide, Martha Yaney; Candidates' Night, Mary Genco; Government Guide, Carolyn Bayne: vice president Programs, Kiki Karpen and Kate Larsen; secretary, Kathy Monro; treasurer, Stephanie McGraw; membership. Sonya Klein, Mary Ellen Moore and Molly Myers; Finance Drive, Adele Coniff and Fran McGovern; publicity, Amy Bradley; spotlight and news, Laurie Williamson, Joan Davis and Fran McGovern; legislative interviews, Joyce Critelli; Food for Thought, Carla Coe; hospitality, Arlene Tulacro and Gail Mathews; and nominating, Sue Okie and Marianne Cirillo. Directors at large are Martha Banks, Marilu Cleary, Ann Ferris, Dot Kelly, Enid Oresman, Barbara Thorne and Priscilla Wong.

For more information visit lwv.darien.org, or write to Darien League of Women Voters, P.O. Box 103, Darien CT 06820.