‘Wise’? ‘Frugal’? Not Connecticut [Waterbury Republican-American op-ed]

July 2, 2012

(The following op-ed by Sen. Welch appeared in the the Waterbury Republican-American on Sunday, July 1, 2012.)

“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” — Thomas Jefferson, first Inaugural Address, 1801.

This week, as we celebrate the Fourth of July and commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, is a good time to focus on some of the words of the declaration’s principal author, Thomas Jefferson.

In the quote above, Jefferson talks about his vision of what “good government” should look like. How does that quote apply to your Connecticut government today?

Let’s start with public safety. Connecticut’s death penalty has been eliminated prospectively, and the lives of the death-row murderers will likely be spared.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the Democratic-controlled legislature have eliminated a required force size of 1,248 Connecticut state troopers. The force has shrunk to about 1,060. Meanwhile, under a 2011 law, people who commit rape, kidnapping, arson, first-degree manslaughter and animal cruelty are eligible for reduced prison sentences.

Now let’s talk about burdens on Connecticut businesses. A May survey by CEO Magazine ranked Connecticut the seventh-worst state in which to do business and produced the following comments from business leaders: “Connecticut could be the business-friendly refuge of New York City and New England, but instead taxes and regulates like the crown of Old England.” “California and Connecticut have state governments that are simply too big, too intrusive and too anti-business.”

Finally, let’s take stock of our tax burden. Connecticut ranks second in the country to New York in the amount of taxes residents are required to pay. We also just endured the largest tax increase in state history, once again courtesy of Gov. Malloy and the Democratic-controlled legislature.

So, in July 2012, do we pass Jefferson’s “wise and frugal” test in Connecticut? Not even close.

Our liberties our threatened and diminished constantly. We are less safe, less prosperous and less free as a result. With Jefferson’s ideals in mind, it is not too late for the Constitution State to reverse course.