State Sen. Rob Kane: How to change bad headlines to good

October 15, 2012

This week’s headlines paint quite a troubling picture:

  • Hartford-based Aetna has started laying off 160 people, including 80 in Connecticut.
  • Glastonbury-based digital imaging equipment maker Ricoh is laying off 57.
  • Mohegan Sun is laying off 300.
  • A top executive at United Technologies Corp. notes that policymakers are “grasping at straws” to spur economic growth.
  • The head of Fairfield-based General Electric Co. says the country’s high tax rate on businesses is having a “hugely negative impact” on the economy.

Our state economy is still reeling and the business community is frustrated.

Why? One big reason for our state’s troubles is that our taxes have been raised by record amounts.

Companies now pay more to do business here.

Families now must spend more to live here. More money now gets taken out of your paychecks.

Thanks to high gas taxes, gas in Connecticut now averages $4.10 per gallon, while the average price for the rest of the country is $3.79.

Try this exercise at your kitchen tables. Set out your monthly bills and compare them to what they were two years ago.

I bet your mouths will drop when you do. The sad fact is that all these new taxes and fees have added to businesses’ burdens and have sucked up families’ disposable incomes.

Does anyone see things improving anytime soon?

The tax-and-spend philosophy at the state capitol has put Connecticut taxpayers deep in debt. Our state leaders’ reluctance to go on a fiscal diet has inflamed our state’s dilemma.

Each month, the balance on our state credit card gets larger and larger as we spend hundreds of millions of dollars on busways and train paths that taxpayers neither want nor need.

Each month, the state’s economic policymakers announce more “Please Don’t Go” corporate welfare funding to bribe highly profitable businesses to stay here in Connecticut.

To stop those negative headlines from multiplying in the future, we need to try a new philosophy and replace the current decision-makers.

The “Keep Taxing and Spending” approach hasn’t worked.

Why not set a high goal of making Connecticut the most business-friendly state in America?

Why not create an environment where small, medium and large businesses will actually want to set up shop here and grow jobs? Imagine all the good news headlines which would be generated if we stopped treating the private sector with disdain and unrolled a welcome mat for entrepreneurs and innovators.

As a small business owner, I know how difficult it is to be a success in this state.

The fees, surcharges, regulations and taxes are in small business owners’ faces constantly. Enough is enough. Let’s eliminate unnecessary red tape for businesses, lower taxes and stop the wasteful spending.

If we set this new course and stick to it, the headlines will start to change for the better.