Ask these questions before voting in November ballot
The gubernatorial and state legislative elections are coming up in November, and the campaign has gone into full swing. Gov. Dannel Malloy will be retiring after this term, putting the chief executive’s job up for grabs. Democrat Ned Lamont is pitted against Bob Stefanowski, the Republican.
As the voters go to the polls, there are several questions they should ask themselves before they mark their ballots. These are some of the questions we hope the electorate considers:
Which candidate will adjust the state’s course? – There is no question the last eight years under Malloy have been devastating to the residents of Connecticut, and detrimental to its tax base. Under Malloy the state lost some top businesses, including General Electric to – of all places – Massachusetts.
Malloy seemed tone deaf to the needs of businesses and had a “business as usual” attitude when it came to government programs and taxation. The State of Connecticut has one of the highest tax codes in the nation, with a dwindling population. The backbone of the state’s taxation has been high-end earners from Fairfield County and the suburbs of Hartford County. Those high-end earners are finding other states and moving where the taxes are lower, and where the business climate is more friendly.
Which candidate will help the middle class? – While the high-end earners are leaving the state in droves, so is the middle class. Younger residents are leaving the state in record numbers not only because of the stagnant job market, which has not benefited from the Trump tax cuts, but because the high tax structure prohibits home buying and marriage.
Over the years the state legislature with the complicity of the executive have done nothing to curb spending, reform governmental structures or tackle the state’s massive unfunded mandates such as pensions. Like other “blue” states, Connecticut seems to disregard the financial realities and carry on as if we were the destination state of fifty years ago.
Which candidate has a plan for reform? Both Lamont and Stefanowski say they have plans for reform of the state’s government and spending. What must be looked at is whether the reform is realistic as to its expectations in cuts, and its reform in spending and taxation. What the state doesn’t need is further taxation and further increases in spending. The bleeding of the state’s taxpayers has to be staunched or Connecticut will dig itself deeper into debt and deeper into a two-tiered social system.
Which candidates will attempt to reform the unfunded mandates? – This is a big question that must be addressed sooner or later. Connecticut’s unfunded mandates are in the hundreds of billions of dollars, the result of legislative deals with unions and others when the state was in better shape, and was still teeming with jobs.
Like it or not, the benefits given in good times are the things that must be taken away in bad. Benefits are not set in stone, nor should they be. Industries have had to adjust to the realities of the marketplace. Governments have to adjust to the realities of shrinking tax bases. We cannot afford the promises of the past.
Which candidate has a program to attract new jobs into the state? – The State of Connecticut has lagged far behind other states in job creation, job retention, and an attractive business climate. Too often, politicians saw corporations and job-creators as pockets to be picked for more taxes.
At one time businesses stayed because of the well trained workforce and infrastructure. With the exodus from the state over the last two decades, those circumstances no longer force businesses to stay. They are finding other, more attractive, locales to do business.
These are just some of the questions voters will have to ask. There are others. We believe, however, that bringing about a better financial climate to the state is job one for whomever wins in November. Eight more years of spinning our wheels will further sink the state into a ditch of its own making. We need new leadership to find our way out.