The Connecticut economy has stagnated over the last decade. Residents and businesses have been leaving Connecticut. We have about the same population today as in 2010 and income growth over the same period has been negative. This is a direct result of the fiscal and regulatory policies pursued by Democrats in Hartford. They have created an environment unfriendly to businesses. We need to have policies that will attract households and businesses. We need to create a regulatory environment that will attract job creating businesses to move to Connecticut.
Our educational district gets little funding from the state despite the fact that residents of our town pay a large proportion of the state income taxes. The formula which determines how funds are allocated to our school district needs to be modified to make it fair to us. We need to make sure that every child has access to a good k-12 school system ensuring their proficiency in reading, math and other subjects. We need increased access to preschools ensuring that every family has the option of sending their child to pre-school. High school is no longer sufficient for success in today’s economy and we need to invest in better vocational training and two year degree options.
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 that 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 was started 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 have to fight to repeal this new payroll tax.
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. Our distribution infrastructure is unreliable and breaks down during storms and inclement weather. The regulation of our utilities needs to be improved. Currently we have is excessive regulation versus effective regulation. We need to advocate for our community to bring down energy prices in line with the rest of the country and improve reliability.
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.
Our housing market is facing serious head winds. As a result of the tax policies a number of our residents have decided to leave the state. This has created serious challenges for home owners in our town as home prices have gone down. This is especially the case for neighborhoods away from the town and train access. On the other hand, there is a shortage of entry level and affordable housing. We need a policy solution to this challenging environment.