Connecticut Deserves Better!

October 18, 2017

We are more than 100 days into a new fiscal year without a state budget. The situation is dire.

Funding cuts are crippling nonprofits that provide services to Connecticut’s most vulnerable. The majority of the state’s towns and schools have received no state money. Even the ones that have gotten state funding are looking at deep service cuts and the possibilities of layoffs.

That should be more than enough motivation to override the Governor’s veto of a balanced budget approved by legislative Democrats and Republicans. If not, the latest warning from bond rating agency S&P Global Ratings should.

The agency issued a negative outlook for Connecticut general obligation bonds. The ongoing budget stalemate makes it look less and less likely that our state can achieve long-term structural balance. This makes investing in Connecticut a risk bond buyers may want to avoid.

Following suit, Moody’s Investor Service announced it is investigating downgrading the bond rating for 26 municipalities and three regional school districts. It also assigned a negative outlook to 25 other municipalities and three regional school districts.

The people of the State of Connecticut deserve better.

Connecticut was once considered one of the best states in America to live, work, and raise a family. We had an excellent quality of life, the best educational system, and served as the corporate headquarters for industry giants like Aetna and GE.

Today, it is a very different story.

    • Connecticut ranks among the highest in country for resident tax burden
    • Connecticut ranks dead last in the nation for job creation
    • Connecticut has the 3rd worst debt rating in the nation
    • Connecticut state government has underfunded it’s pension liabilities
    • Four Connecticut cities ranked in top ten worst real estate markets in the nation
    • Connecticut has declining state tax revenue
      • Connecticut suffers a daily net outflow of residents
      • Connecticut’s talented young people see limited job opportunity here
      • With the very public exit of large companies from Connecticut, Connecticut is creating a persona of anti-private sector
      • The recent exit of two billionaires would alone require near 1,800 job created to replace the state taxes they were paying

Current homeowners and taxpayers don’t want to live in fear of rising property, sales, and income taxes. At the same time, the state’s declining services and decaying infrastructure will destroy the equity in their homes.

This doesn’t have to be Connecticut’s future. We can heed the warnings of the bond rating agencies and those businesses that no longer call Connecticut home.

Tax policy matters! It should be the state’s number one focus. If you don’t get policy right, people and jobs flee and tax revenues plummet. This is exactly what we have seen over the last several years in Connecticut. Poor policy and its consequences hurt our schools, the disabled, and those that most need government services

The budget that passed the legislature with bipartisan approval contained structural changes designed to restore stability to our state. It also starts to address the size of a government taxpayers can no longer afford. It was by no means a perfect budget, but it should serve as a starting point for making the changes that will stop our state’s downward fiscal spiral.

For too long, high taxes and state government have chipped away at the state’s ability to be successful. It’s time to change course.

Connecticut deserves better!

Senator Toni Boucher represents the 26th State Senate District, which includes the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.