What we asked
We reached out to the local candidates for the state senate and state house races via our editorial page and asked them:
1.) There has been a lot of discussion the past year about the economic situation in Connecticut. For the Democrats, since they hold the governor’s office and the General Assembly, what things have been done and are in the pipeline that have improved or will improve the situation and how would you push the efforts even further? And for the Republicans, what has been done incorrectly and if the Republicans take the majority in Hartford, what would you do to improve the state’s economic situation?
2.) The past few months has seen discussion about property tax reform in Connecticut—with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities putting its weight behind reform. First of all, do you think the state is in need of reform… secondly, why do you feel that way and if what can be done if change is needed.
3.) Aside from the above questions, what do you see as the single biggest issue facing the state in the next two years and how would you like it addressed?
1.) After 5 1/2 years of one party control taxpayers, businesses, and municipalities have clearly lost confidence in the ability of Gov. Dannel Malloy and Democrat legislators to balance our state budget.
Validating this point are budget projections of a $3 billion deficit for the next two years. This projection follows two consecutive years of the state budget ending the fiscal years with deficits totaling more than $200 million.
One of the Democrat responses to these deficits was to impose on all of us two of the largest tax increases in the history of Connecticut.
Combine the state fiscal budget crisis with the adoption of numerous anti-business laws and regulations and we now understand the reasons for our state losing thousands of jobs and for the dramatic decline in income tax revenue to the state budget.
If in the majority, I would advocate reducing high cost items in the state budget (i.e.. deputy commissioners, high cost managers,), re-negotiate
terms of state labor contracts, outsource some state services and programs to the private sector, and placing a cap on bonding.
Producing a stable and dependable state budget, combined with policies that are support businesses could lead to the growth of jobs and income tax revenue from the private sector.
2.) Yes, there is a need to reform our property tax system. However, the heavy dependence on property taxes could be substantially relieved if the state suspended or eliminated some unfunded mandates imposed on businesses, municipalities, schools, nursing homes, and hospitals.
The financial savings achieved by mandate relief could significantly lower expenses in the budgets of the groups mentioned above, and a portion of the savings could be used to purchase items for capitol projects that may yield additional property tax revenue.
3.) Job growth in the private sector. The great reputation and prosperity our state had back in the 1980s was based on the fact that many large companies – and thousands of their employees – “wanted” to work and live in Connecticut.
Achieving job growth is vital, and meeting this goal will create buyers for our homes, more income to the local and state budgets, and create the momentum needed to make our state an attractive place to live and work.
1.) In order to improve the economic situation in Connecticut, the General Assembly must work in a bi-partisan manner to find solutions that make it easier for small businesses to continue to thrive and expand here. As a lifelong resident of Bristol, my commitment to our community and state is unwavering, and I will work with both parties to move our community as a whole toward a prosperous future. The General Assembly needs to work harder to maintain quality jobs that we currently have in Connecticut, including the thousands of jobs at Sikorsky, Pratt & Whitney, and Electric Boat. We must do more to attract new businesses and employees to our state. Connecticut must invest in our educational system to prepare our students for an expanded job market, which will attract new employers into Connecticut.
2.) Property tax reform in Connecticut is desperately needed. Property taxes continue to go up while social security and employee wages remain stagnant. Our seniors should not have to choose between keeping their home and their medications or putting food on the table. Once elected, I will work tirelessly to change this. Bristol and Plymouth have been short changed by the State of Connecticut for far too long. Connecticut’s state government is not living up to its end of the bargain when it comes to municipal and educational aid. I will fight to bolster education dollars and municipal aid back into our district, which will directly help with property taxes.
3.) The single biggest issue facing our state in the next two years will be to maintain and create a thriving workforce. At the same time, we must ensure that every student here receives the quality education they deserve in order to prepare them for a future career in Connecticut.
In order to maintain and create new good paying jobs, Connecticut must foster its efforts in assisting small and medium sized businesses. As state representative, I will spearhead— with my colleagues—legislation to reduce unnecessary burdens on small businesses and entrepreneurs by working to eliminate burdens that restrict our businesses on expanding by revaluating permitting time, and improving how state agencies can work together.
We must also continue to invest in our schools, and support our teachers to ensure that every child receives a quality education. Providing the proper training for the future so that students can adapt toward employment begins with universal pre-K, continues with a properly balanced public education system, and concludes with giving each student the opportunity to attend a college that is affordable, or enter the workforce prepared and well trained. I will fight for continuing support to increase funding for education in our community.