Economic Growth & Jobs. Education. Inclusive Growth & Opportunity.
Economic Growth Jobs
The Connecticut economy needs a business supportive environment. We need fiscal and regulatory policies which attract businesses. In the last decade, Hartford under a one party Democratic governance has created a hostile regulatory and fiscal regime. As a result of red tape and a high tax burden, businesses have been leaving Connecticut. We have about the same population today as we did in 2010 but income growth over the same period has been negative. We need to change that. As a member of the Commerce Committee in the Connecticut General Assembly I have been a tireless advocate of attracting investment to our state.
Our school district is one of the best in the state and in the country. Our school is funded by local property taxes and we get NO state funding. However, now Hartford Democrats want to take control of our property taxes and regionalize our schools. These last two years, we had to fight hard to defeat the regionalization school proposal which would have involved merging school districts which are well run with those which have challenges. Wilton, Weston and Fairfield were all in the merge proposal and the Greenwich school district was certainly on the minds of some in Hartford. We have ensured that we keep local control of schools. During COVID-19, Senate Democrats have argued for keeping the schools closed this Fall. We need to ensure a safe reopening of our schools rather than give in to Union interests in Hartford.
Fiscal Discipline & Low Taxes
The state of Connecticut has a spending problem. We have a bloated bureaucracy and our spending is inefficient and wasteful. It is no secret that our state employee benefits and pension systems need to be reformed. The approach the current administration is taking to solving the problem is by increasing taxes. In the last budget, new payroll taxes have been imposed, sales taxes on essential items have been increased, and now tolls are being proposed. Instead of cutting wasteful spending, our state administration is doubling down. We have to stop and reverse this policy blunder. Our state income tax began in 1991 as a small temporary tax. A new state payroll tax has been instituted in 2020 as a small one-off tax – we have seen this play out.
We need a modern transportation system for the 21st century. Our state spends over $ 2 BN. every year but we have little to show for it. We overspend billions on projects which have low usage and low returns across the state. We underinvest in Fairfield county and the most highly used transportation assets, the MTA. The train service has deteriorated over the last decade. It takes longer today than 10 years ago to travel from Greenwich to Grand Central. Our local transit system is also ineffective. In an era of ride sharing we have buses which run half full most of the time. We need to invest smartly in our transportation system understanding that we are in an era of ride-sharing and work mobility.
Inclusive Growth & Opportunity
We need to ensure that the opportunity to succeed and grow is provided to every individual in our community irrespective of zipcode, color or ethnicity. The events of the last few months have made clear that a lot needs to be done. High school graduation rate gaps between black students and white students is over 10 points wide. Why? We need to address the problem of failing schools around the state by handing them over to Kipps, Success who has experience to turn them around. College graduation rate gaps need to be reduced as well by providing help to first generation students looking to go to college. High school is no longer sufficient for success in today’s economy so we also need to invest in better vocational training and two year degree options.
Our environment is a precious resource. We need to ensure that we protect it. We need to have a real plan which will control emissions and preserve our forests and our oceans for future generations. The current policies are wasteful and have achieved little. We need policies which will create private sector incentives to reduce emissions and make a real difference. Electric and natural gas prices in Connecticut are among the highest in the country. Instead of subsidy based green energy, we need to encourage competitive solar energy.
Our electricity costs are highest in the country. We pay double in residential
electricity costs than that in Texas or Florida. This is despite the fact that we have
some low cost nuclear generation (Millstone) in Connecticut. Even at these high
costs, the reliability of our system is low as demonstrated recently during storm
Isaias. Our utility regulation over years has been inappropriate. Cell connectivity in
our town is poor. We need to new policies to bring energy prices in line with the
rest of the country and improve reliability.