A Common Sense Approach to the State Budget

February 11, 2010

Earlier this month I began asking constituents to share their views on our state’s budget crisis. I believe we need to make serious changes and it is important for me to hear how my constituents feel. In response, one mom wrote back passionately: “I am truly astonished by the lack of common sense that the other side of the aisle/table has. The mere thought of raising taxes in a down economy is preposterous. As we have had to do with our personal budget when there is not much money coming through the door – we cut those things that are unnecessary and look for ways to “save” money. The government has created a culture of dependency. For those who truly need it – our veterans and those who are truly infirm – there should be assistance. We need to separate those who truly have a need from those who have their hands out. We need to stop spending” she added. “We the citizens of Connecticut do not have the money.”

I agree with this mom’s perspective. This is just the kind of common sense approach the legislature needs to embrace. Since our state’s financial problems became evident back in 2008, I have supported plans to cut spending and strongly opposed the budget that increased taxes and fees across the board, including fee increases for hunting and fishing licenses.

This crisis has presented the state of Connecticut with an opportunity to get back on the right track. Our high taxes and unfriendly business policies are forcing young people out of the state at an astonishing rate. With gifted college graduates heading out of state for greener pastures, Connecticut will soon be faced with even greater problems – an aging population that is not balanced by a young and vibrant workforce.

The majority has begun to show a willingness to work towards a common goal of balancing the budget without pinning the burden entirely on tax payers, and I only hope they are sincere. Unfortunately, their recent actions have shown they are still unwilling to work with the minority party to find solutions. For instance, the Municipal Opportunities and Regional Efficiencies (MORE) Commission was given the task of finding a new approach to state and local government in Connecticut that will make our state more economically competitive in the short and long terms, but included no minority legislators in it’s membership.

If the majority continues on this path of partisan politics, the only losers will be the people of Connecticut. During this time of crisis, we must come together as we look for ways to bring common sense and creativity back to the way we manage our finances.
While reform is never easy, it is the right thing for the people of Connecticut and true reform will only happen when both sides work together to achieve a common goal of fiscal responsibility.