Top Priority: Economy and the Budget
Spending cuts will be necessary but they must be done responsibly and strategically to protect our economy, our communities and our neighbors who count on services to maintain their quality of life. We need to protect property owners from increases in the property tax and will have to conduct a long talked about review of tax credits, tax exemptions and tax incentive programs that no longer provide the public benefit that justifies their existence. We need to improve Connecticut’s business climate so we can put people back to work. Our regulatory systems needs to be streamlined so that businesses don’t have to waste time and money on navigating bureaucracy instead of expanding and creating jobs.
Streamlining Government and Encouraging Efficiencies
Connecticut’s multiple layers of government has led to inefficiency in the use of the limited revenue streams that taxpayers provide government. We need to continue to work to encourage municipalities to work together to provide the services that taxpayers demand. There are millions of dollars that can be saved by combining many costly back office operations that do not impact the quality or availability of services. We can longer afford to deal with regional issues, economic and workforce development, public safety and land use/development, on a town-by-town basis.
Support Higher Standards for Academic Achievement
Connecticut students have had a long record of academic achievement. Most of our communities provide the quality education that taxpayers expect for their children. In far too many communities we do not have the levels of achievement that we should expect. The achievement gap has ramifications not only for struggling districts but also for our entire state as the quality of our workforce is diminished if we have fewer highly skilled workers in key industries. We need to continue to strengthen our academic standards for high school graduation and demand more from our students while equitably providing the resources that are necessary to provide education in high quality and innovative settings.
Healthcare and Long Term Nursing Care
Connecticut has one of the fastest aging populations and we currently spend about $2.5 billion a year on long term nursing home care. This spending will inevitably increase as our population lives longer, ages and requires health care services. Many patients are in nursing homes because their level of care demands that they be cared for in that setting. For many others the state should provide them the option of community-based care, which allows patients to stay in the homes that they raised their families in while also preserving their assets and saving taxpayer dollars.
Advocate for Better Long Term Budgetary Planning and Preparation
This recession showed that Connecticut was caught unprepared for the cyclical nature of an ever-evolving economic system that operates globally and with complex exchanges of economic and human capital. Budget deficits occur but when they do we should be better prepared to respond to them with an appropriately funded state savings account, the “Rainy Day Fund”, that can protect the state’s credit rating while mitigating the impact of potential future budget deficits without increasing taxes, user fees or borrowing.