State Economy Can Do Better

July 31, 2013

It’s no secret that Connecticut’s economy is struggling. One only needs to look at official monthly statistics and numerous national rankings that raise serious concerns about the direction our state is currently heading. Two recent reports have highlighted these economic challenges. These factors suggest that the state is pursuing policies that are hurting families and driving businesses away.

In early June, a new official report was released that placed our state dead last for economic growth. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis noted that gross domestic product increased in 49 states and the District of Columbia in 2012. Unfortunately, Connecticut was the only state to have a shrinking economy last year. North Dakota led the nation with 13.4 percent growth, followed by Texas with 4.8 percent growth. Connecticut, however, saw its economy decline by -0.1 percent.

What exactly is gross domestic product (GDP)? According to the BEA, GDP is “the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States.” It is a measure of the size and health of an economy. Each state also has its own GDP. The recent report stated that durable-goods manufacturing, finance and insurance and wholesale trade were the leading contributors to the nation’s economic growth. Unfortunately, our state was left behind.

It’s no coincidence that this federal report paints such a dire picture of our state’s economic situation. In 2011, the governor and legislative majority passed the largest tax increase in state history. Over two years, this amounted to an additional $3.9 billion coming out of the pockets of hardworking families and businesses. When taxes are increased, people tend to spend less and the economy suffers as a result.

What does it say about our elected officials when Connecticut is the only state in the nation to have had a shrinking economy? Reviewing this report, it seems that the answer is clear. The governor and legislative majority have taken our state down the wrong path. After several years of one-party rule, their policies have not improved our state’s economy and have regretfully moved our state backward.

As if that was not enough, we received more disappointing news earlier this month. The state Department of Labor released their June statistics showing that the unemployment rate increased to 8.1 percent. Believe it or not, that means our state is a full half-percent above the national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.

With smart policies and fiscal responsibility, I am confident that we can turn the economy around. Joining with other Republicans, I have introduced and supported numerous bills that would make a difference and put our state on a better path.

It is unfortunate news like a shrinking economy and increased unemployment that encouraged me to launch the “Tell the Truth” campaign so that Connecticut residents understand the full story behind these and other challenges. In the coming weeks and months, stay tuned for more coverage focused on current issues affecting our state. If you would like to learn more, please visit my website at