Rebuilding Connecticut’s Economy

October 5, 2010

As we look towards the 2011 legislative session, we are going to see a new General Assembly that is faced with rebuilding Connecticut’s economy. People and families continue to cope with rising unemployment and burdensome taxes, while state government continues to spend beyond its means. To remedy these fiscal insolvencies, the next legislature must act expeditiously to bring spending under control, as well as create good jobs for the people of our state.

The first step must be to create a balanced budget that erases Connecticut’s looming deficit in a responsible way. We are spending beyond taxpayers’ ability to afford it, borrowing billions of dollars to cover operating expenses, while increasing the size and scope of state government. We must elect those people who truly understand that when our state budget increases, the result is higher taxes, higher energy costs, and higher property taxes. This is unacceptable and must be addressed during the upcoming legislative session.

Legislators should adopt proposals to achieve real savings and reel in the government’s involvement in our everyday lives. To achieve this, the General Assembly should consolidate state agencies, reduce duplicative services, transfer state social services to non-profit community providers who can provide a higher quality of service for 40-50% less, reset discretionary spending to 2009 levels, restrict borrowing to school construction, transportation, infrastructure, and public safety projects, and reduce state employees concessions, including wage freezes, furlough days and health care adjustments. With these realistic reductions and restructuring of state government, essential services can be maintained while trying to help work the state out of financial crisis.

While my philosophy is that government doesn’t create jobs, people do, the legislature does have a role to play in making Connecticut a more business friendly place. The anti-business reputation Connecticut has earned must be reversed. Businesses are fleeing our state and unemployment has recently reached 9.1%, both resulting in increased revenue loss to the state. Proposals to improve the business climate and utilize our state’s skilled workforce need to be a top priority. By repealing the business entity tax and the newly imposed 10% corporate surcharge, companies will save millions of dollars. The state should also incentivize business growth by expanding the job creation tax credit to all businesses as well as create tax credits for next generation industries, including alternative energy and nano technology.

It is time for the legislature to work together to do what is best for the people of the State of Connecticut. We must also put partisan politics aside- it is long overdue for our General Assembly to create and implement a plan that rebuilds the state’s economy while helping the families and businesses of our state.