With Election Day approaching, candidates for state office who are members of the party that’s controlled both houses of Connecticut’s legislature for 40 of the last 46 years are dearly hoping that a majority of voters will not notice the massive fiscal and competitive wreck they’ve caused for our state. What wreck? Here, see for yourself:
- Prices for single-family homes down 4.7% in CT in the second quarter, despite a 3% rise in home prices nationally; biggest decline for any state (Federal Housing Finance Agency).
- Foreclosure filings increased 139% in CT in July from a year earlier, and the number of properties that are at least 90 days delinquent or in some stage of foreclosure increased more than 6% while most states registered declines (RealtyTrac).
- CT’s combined state and local tax rate was among the three highest and was more than 20% above the national average (Tax Foundation).
- CT is the worst state in which to retire (topretirements.com).
- CT is one of the worst states (44/50) for doing business (CNBC).
- Including unfunded liabilities, CT’s per-capita indebtedness is not only the highest in the nation, it is much higher than states that are widely perceived to have big problems, like NY, CA, MA, and IL, and higher even than NJ (Pew Center).
- CT’s bond rating downgraded because, “it’s going to take a long time to undo the problems they’ve gotten themselves into” (Moody’s).
- CT has the highest gasoline prices in the Continental U.S. (gasbuddy.com).
- CT has the second highest cost of electricity in the Continental U.S. (U.S. Energy Information Administration).
- CT’s unemployment rate in July rose to 9% from 8.5% (the largest jump for any month in the 36 years for which there are data), and CT has regained only about one-quarter of the jobs it lost in the recession (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and CBIA).
- A $144 million budget deficit in fiscal 2012, despite the biggest tax increase in the State’s history, and even bigger deficits looming in the current and coming fiscal years.
- To sum it all up, CT is the worst managed state in the nation, according to Barron’s.
Although it should be obvious that we are dealing here with a REALLY BIG WRECK, you would never guess anything is wrong from reading the Web sites of candidates who are members of Connecticut’s dominant party, all of which adopt a soothing, “business as usual” tone. For example, the web site of Legislator Kim Fawcett asserts that she “is driven to make government leaner, more efficient and more accountable to taxpayers.” However, behind this empty assertion there is no reference anywhere to the State’s increasingly precarious financial and competitive condition, let alone any alarm or sense of urgency about it.
We need common-sense solutions to the serious issues of Fiscal Responsibility, Unfunded Mandates and the abuse of the Affordable Housing statute.
Before it is too late and a crisis severely limits our options, we need more representatives in Hartford who will: Focus on the Critical Issues; Exercise Independent Judgment; and Provide Responsible Leadership. “Critical Issues” means the very serious fiscal and competitive problems we must solve; it does not mean, for example, reducing our dependency on plastic bags. “Independent Judgment” means that issues should be decided on their merits in the best interests of the State; it does not mean voting along party lines a vast majority of the time. “Responsible Leadership” means strong advocacy for spending cuts to address our near-term budget problems, and for strong private-sector economic growth that will allow us to create jobs and to fulfill our intermediate and long-term goals; it does not mean casting symbolic votes against the budget, complaining briefly and timidly about too much spending, and then reverting to “business as usual.”
Hopefully, a majority of voters will not be lulled again by candidates representing Connecticut’s one party government urging them to “move along” without taking a long hard look at our state’s difficult fiscal situation. Hopefully Connecticut voters will decide on November 6th that it is time for a long overdue change in who controls our State. With Responsible Leadership in Hartford, we can turn things around and put the State back on a positive course.