26th Senate/Republican: Bi-partisan work needed to fix finances
Published 7:40 pm, Thursday, November 1, 2012
Lincoln said "I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him." I hope I have conducted myself so that you are proud of your representation, for I am proud of the communities I have been privileged to represent.
We are all still here because we love our state. Connecticut was the envy of the nation for its innovative commercial enterprises, quality education, low taxes and its beautiful colonial character and breathtaking landscapes. There has been a dramatic change. A politically imbalanced and pro-labor-union legislature has taken Connecticut in the wrong direction.
My constituents are deeply concerned about their financial security, and about this year's historic retroactive increase on everything, fueled by a two year, 7 percent spending increase. They worry about Connecticut's worst debt and unfunded liabilities in the nation which threaten the state with bankruptcy in eight years. Our educational achievement gap and low job growth are equally concerning. Unemployment in the state is 9 percent, compared to 7.1 percent for New England. Connecticut has netted no new private sector jobs since 1991, but spending grew 52 percent despite declining revenue and a stagnant population.
State government is seen as punishing success. Entrepreneur and CEO magazines say Connecticut has the nation's least-business-friendly legislature. Connecticut leads the nation in the loss of 18 to 34 year olds due to lack of job opportunities. Senior citizens also flee the country's highest combined tax burden, which affects their incomes, purchases, homes, cars, fuel, pensions/social security, inheritances and gifts. No wonder Kiplinger's named Connecticut the worst state for retirees, and Barrons declared CT the worst managed state.
There is a better way. We spent months crafting a no tax increase budget alternative for 2011 and 2012. It was not supported by the Governor and the supermajority. They chose a different path, leading Moody's and Fitch to downgrade our bonds and to Truth in Accounting listing Connecticut as the number one "sinkhole" state.
The state can climb out of this hole by adopting a bi-partisan approach in revisiting our alternative budget proposal. It cuts over $1 billion in spending, rescinds 77 tax and fee increases, saves $46 million through consolidations and preserves town and school funding. It reforms employee pension plans and places a hiring and wage freeze. We most also raise educational standards and increase literacy by the 3rd grade as well as invest in mass transit, end raids on the transportation fund, and support fuel alternatives for homes and businesses.
Economists predict continuing deficits for Connecticut and a longer recovery than other states. Pro job policies as well as tax and spending decreases are necessary to encourage job growth and investment. Businesses also need shortened permitting decisions, a clearly defined compliance process and consistent rules that are not continually changed by legislators. These changes are also crucial in rehabilitating the state's business reputation and providing confidence to investors
One party has controlled Connecticut for over 30 years, but it had a different make-up and a more consensus driven approach to business and tax policy. Today, many candidates are endorsed by the "Working Families Party," the state unions `voice in the legislature. As more special interest group gains seats, the business sector is left disadvantaged and more pro-union policies are passed.
We must return balance to state government by electing those free from special interests, with the courage to make responsible budgeting and spending decisions without raising more taxes. Many are unhappy with a supermajority that passed historic tax increases, a new luxury tax, benefits for part time employees, 27 percent state pay hikes, earmarks for the Connecticut Communist party, same day registration voting, repeal of the death penalty, legalized pot, early release of violent criminals and unionized home healthcare aides.
Some say they do not care what a person knows unless they know if they care. I grew up, was educated, raised a family, started small businesses and continue to work in the private sector here. I have a stake in its future. I served on the Wilton Board of Education and Board of Selectmen, State Board of Education, in leadership of the House and Senate. I am also endorsed by CBIA, Federation of Independent Businesses, Doctors for Good Medicine, CT Realtors, CT Fund for the Environment, Sierra Club, CT Votes Animals, CT's University Faculty, and received CT 2012 Children's Champion Award. The only endorsement that really counts however is your vote on Nov. 6.