My plan for economic growth...
Updated: Jul 5, 2018
CT is in a fiscal crisis. Spending on fixed costs (pensions, debt) now exceeds investing in services (Education, Improvements). To balance the State budget, I would:
1. RESTRUCTURE THE PENSION SYSTEM:
Pensions should have fair terms that retirees can count on but that won't make the rest of the State suffer. I would adopt a "Shared Risk" plan that allows both the State and retirees to share both the risks and benefits of market swings. This is a plan that creates secure and predictable outcomes for all parties.
A "shared risk" plan removes politics from the process and management of pensions.
Wisconsin uses the "Shared Risk" model and it is a proven success. Here's how it works.
2. LOWER TAXES:
Following the recommendations of the Commission on Fiscal Stability, I would lower individual income taxes across ALL income brackets to keep residents here and be competitive within our region.
I would also eliminate the estate tax for the same reason. The Commission recommends this policy as it encourages residents to stay in CT rather than move away, and brings more revenue to the state.
Revenue lost from the current estate tax would be far outweighed by new revenue from income taxes and general spending within the State from residents choosing to stay.
3. MODERNIZE INFRASTRUCTURE with PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS:
The #1 impediment to attracting new business to CT is our failing infrastructure - terrible traffic on highways, and lack of fast and reliable public transportation. Our infrastructure is ranked 41st in the nation. Our legislators say "There's no money" . . . but there is! They adamantly oppose tolls but every state in our region has tolls and, not coincidentally, all those states have rebounded from the recession. Our highways are not "free," we pay for their maintenance through our taxes. Without tolls, all out-of-state vehicles use our roads for free. We subsidize their travel, yet we pay their tolls when we drive to NJ, NY, MA or PA.
Modern tolls are fully electronic (no lanes, booths or even slowing down). This means we can set lower prices for CT residents and higher ones for out of state vehicles. And we can charge more for trucks and use congestion pricing during rush hour to REDUCE TRAFFIC.
And . . . since tolls could generate $1B/year in new revenue, I would leverage that with private funding to invest in MAJOR improvements to our infrastructure, such as: HIGH-SPEED RAIL to get us from Stamford to New York in 30 minutes!!
This is within our reach, if we seize the opportunity. Isn't it time for CT to get moving again?
4. SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS
Economic prosperity can't be measured by the stock market alone. We also need to evaluate the vibrancy of our communities. Downtown districts are a good indicator of this.
Business owners I've spoken with say the state's fiscal crisis and infrastructure are their biggest concerns. When I ask about environmental laws or other types of "regulations," they say these are not problems.
Legitimate concerns about specific regulations should, of course, be addressed.
But we need to balance commercial interests with protecting our natural resources - air, water, land - as well as our human resources - people.
IN ADDITION, the State could do a much better job of collaborating with businesses to keep them here and to attract the high-growth industries we want. Public-private partnerships are an excellent vehicle for this. When both sides share the same goal (building a thriving business that creates jobs in CT) and work together, that goal will be achieved.
To this end, I would make the corporate tax system in CT more fair and transparent. A lower overall corporate tax rate would make CT more competitive. But at the same time, special deals that were given to individual companies should be evaluated. Are they delivering a good return to the state to warrant the investment in taxpayer dollars? A data-driven strategy that's applied equitably to businesses of all sizes is much smarter than mere hand-outs.
I am always interested in learning - from the best practices used in other states to individuals' experiences. Please feel free to email me your questions or concerns. No one person (or party) has all the answers. We need to work together to build an economy that works for everyone. I welcome your ideas and input!