Let's say you have been saving for a new television for awhile. Your old one is adequate, but you want the latest and greatest TV with all the new features so you can invite all your friends over and watch the big game but then you get a tax bill that was much higher than expected. What do you do? Do you still buy the TV or do you postpone the purchase to pay the tax. Of course you pay the taxman.

The 2010 legislative session begins in a week and unfortunately we stand in the same place we did a year ago: in deficit, job losses piling up, businesses fleeing for friendlier states and higher taxes. It's with this New Year, I hope to bring some real common sense to Hartford.

Common sense -- it seems like a no-brainer to most of us, but in recent years the super majority party that runs Hartford has used little -- if none of it -- to deal with the economic crisis our state faces. They have continued to reward special interests while forgetting the key principles of common sense which is to keep our state's fiscal house in order. Let's look at the facts for a bit.

Recently, our state comptroller projected the state will end this fiscal year with a budget deficit of more than $500 million. Last summer, for example, we saw lawmakers spend more taxpayer dollars even though analysts projected billion-dollar deficits. Even worse, they borrowed record amounts of money on top of it all. And what was yielded from that bad budget: higher taxes and more borrowing, less revenue coming in to the state coffers and Moody's bonding agency downgraded Connecticut's economic future due to the way the budget was carelessly pasted together.

So, what does that mean for you?

A whole lot, actually. Over and over, an overwhelming majority of lawmakers have called for tax increases to cover our new state's budget gaps. That will not certainly not stimulant much needed private sector jobs.

Can you afford a tax increase right now? Can your company afford to pay more taxes?

So the rest of the House Republicans and I plan to work hard to bring some common sense to the capitol, and here are some basic priorities we need:

1. Don't spend more than you have, we need to stop spending additional money before we know we can pay for it.

2. Borrow only what you can afford to pay back with interest. We need to restrict what can be bonded and set a bonding cap. And eliminate wasteful earmarks.

3. If it's not broken, don't fix it, but if it's not working, get rid of it. We need to demand results-based accountability of state programs, and stop funding wasteful programs.

4. The more government tries to do, the more it gets dragged into areas that lack a proper skill-set. Let's start to focus on core government functions; allow for alternative nonprofit and private sector solutions.

5. We should have all the government we need, but only what we need. It's time to eliminate duplication, excess and waste in state government.

The bottom line is that the state's ongoing fiscal problems are dangerous as they could lead to a financial crisis that would seriously hurt Connecticut's families and businesses. As I have said before, Connecticut residents deserve better. It's time for some real common sense.

Help us today, call members of the super majority party and ask them to join me get back Connecticut's economic prosperity!

John Stripp is a state Rep. for the 135th district, Easton, Redding and Weston.