Under one-party rule in the state capital, Connecticut is heading down the wrong path. Our state's unemployment rate is above the national average; our per-capita debt is higher than California's; businesses are fleeing the state and taking jobs with them; and Barron's Magazine just ranked Connecticut the worst-run state in the nation. We deserve better, and that is why I am running to be your next State Representative in the 136th District.
A new direction is needed to get Connecticut working again. I will fight for policies that will turn this state around and promote the interests of Westport.
First, I will fight to reduce the tax burden on Connecticut's families and small businesses. The recently published Yankee Institute for Public Policy 2012 Policy Guide illustrates a startling fact: In the 20 years since Connecticut passed a state income tax, our state has not added a single net new job in the private sector. Higher taxes hurt businesses and families, but last year, Gov. Malloy and his majority party raised taxes 10 percent on individuals earning over $50,000 per year and 20 percent on individuals earning more than $100,000. This tax increase disproportionately hurts Westporters, but it was supported by our current representative, Jonathan Steinberg. Shockingly, Mr. Steinberg signed a letter imploring Gov. Malloy to impose even higher taxes on Connecticut's working families. Unfortunately, far from being an independent voice for our town, Mr. Steinberg has voted with the majority party 95 percent of the time. Steinberg, Malloy, and their friends in Hartford do not understand the devastating impact higher taxes have on Connecticut's economy, and they are turning a blind eye to the fact that higher taxes are driving jobs and a talented workforce out of our state. No wonder CNBC ranked Connecticut a dismal 44th in the nation in their 2012 "America's Top States for Business" report.
Second, I will work to reduce the size of our bloated state government. Over the past two decades, Connecticut has had flat population growth, yet the size of the state's government has expanded at an alarming rate. The result is a massive bureaucracy that Connecticut taxpayers cannot afford. Indeed, last year, our state had a $143 million budget shortfall. According to the American Legislative Exchange Council, our debt is now a staggering $27,000 per resident, but instead of reducing spending by eliminating waste and shrinking the size of government, the Democrats imposed $1.5 billion in new state taxes and fees. And what have the governor and his allies done with all of these new taxes? They used millions of our tax dollars to relocate a major Westport employer out of our town and into the governor's hometown of Stamford. Rep. Steinberg failed to stop this secret deal from happening. When I am elected state representative, I will stand up for Westport's interests.
Third, I will fight for improvements in our transportation system and infrastructure. Westport and Fairfield County are being crushed by congestion, aging roads and bridges, and poorly functioning public transportation. These transportation challenges impact business growth and property values, and they must be addressed. Rep. Steinberg supports a busway from New Britain to Hartford, but what about improvements to alleviate traffic on I-95 and repair the deteriorating quality of Metro North? We must have a representative who will fight on behalf of Westport on this critical quality-of-life issue.
Fourth, I will stand up for excellence in education in Westport and across the state. Westport's outstanding school system is one of our most important assets. Prospective home buyers are drawn to Westport because of our first class schools, state-of-the-art facilities, and outstanding teachers. Our children graduate from school well prepared to meet the challenges of the future and to become leaders in the community. Unfortunately, Rep. Steinberg voted against Westport's schools by supporting legislation that would require Westport to follow unfunded state mandates. I will fight to enhance educational opportunities for all Connecticut students without compromising Westport's quality schools.
We must act now to save our state from financial ruin and to ensure that Connecticut is a place for opportunity for this generation and the next. I will work tirelessly to protect Westport's future and to ensure that Connecticut gets back on the right track. My name is Stephen Rubin, and I am asking for your vote on Nov. 6.