The People Have Spoken

March 11, 2014

I recently sent out a survey to residents living in our district. It was entitled Talk to Me and asked four questions.

1. Do you believe that Connecticut is heading in the right direction?
2. What is your number one concern or issue that you believe Hartford should be addressing?
3. What other steps do you think Hartford should take to improve our quality of life and make CT a better place to live and work?
4. Do you have an issue you would like to talk directly with me about?

Many people took the time to respond to these questions and to offer their insights on the many issues facing the state.

The vast majority of respondents believe that Connecticut is currently on the wrong path. 75 out of 96 respondents stated that they believe the state is heading in the wrong direction. 15 people responded that Connecticut is heading in the right direction, and 6 did not know.

When asked what issues most concerned them, nearly half of the respondents named high taxes. Many others expressed worry about the lack of jobs in Connecticut. Here is a sample of some of the comments I received:

  • “High taxes coupled with a bloated budget that we cannot afford”
  • “Lower business taxes and provide incentives to business that could employ the lower wage employees who are trying to improve their family’s wellbeing.”
  • “State income taxes are too high. There is no reduction for seniors, thus driving them out of state!”
  • “Jobs/manufacturing and industry in all parts of the state”

As one resident observed, by attempting to squeeze as many tax dollars out of the public as possible, the state of Connecticut is actually reducing its tax base. Several people wrote in to say that they would like to be able to stay in Connecticut, but were afraid they would not be able to due to the high cost of living and the lack of jobs.

To the third question on the survey, which asked what Hartford should do to improve the quality of life in our state; residents offered a variety of ideas and suggestions, including:

  • Encouraging business and manufacturers to set up shop so citizens and college graduates can find jobs.
  • Find more affordable housing for seniors living on a fixed income.
  • Add toll booths so there is revenue to fix roads
  • Stop funding the New Britain to Hartford busway and instead use the money to fix bridges.
  • Establish more severe penalties for corrupt government officials
  • Change state employee pensions to 401k plans.
  • Promote fiscal responsibility, reduce spending, and pass a balanced budget.

The consistent theme that emerges from so many of these responses is that residents want a government that lives within its means, reduces costs, and funds transportation infrastructure improvements that benefit the entire state. With Connecticut facing an estimated $2 billion deficit over next biennium, this is advice to which everyone in Hartford should be listening.

There were many issues that people asked to speak to me about directly, including Metro North, common core education concerns, relief from the high cost of college tuition.

Many people were kind enough to say thank you for asking for their opinion and for listening to the people who live in our district. Would like to thank everyone in return for sharing their thoughts, concerns and great ideas on how to make our state the best it can be.