Connecticut is a wreck

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 Connecticut 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 Connecticut 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).

• Connecticut’s combined state and local tax rate was among the three highest and was more than 20% above the national average (Tax Foundation).

• Connecticut is the worst state in which to retire (topretirements.com).

• Connecticut is one of the worst states (44/50) for doing business (CNBC).

• Including unfunded liabilities, Connecticut’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 New York, California, Massachusetts, and Illinois, and higher even than New Jersey (Pew Center).

• Connecticut ’s bond rating downgraded because, “it’s going to take a long time to undo the problems they’ve gotten themselves into” (Moody’s).

• Connecticut has the highest gasoline prices in the Continental U.S. (gasbuddy.com).

• Connecticut has the second highest cost of electricity in the Continental U.S. (U.S. Energy Information Administration).

• Connecticut ’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 Connecticut 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, Connecticut 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 websites of candidates who are members of Connecticut’s dominant party, all of which adopt a soothing, “business as usual” tone. For example, the website of my opponent in the 133rd District, 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; none of the nine issues she claims to have “championed” over her six years in office have anything to do with these critical problems; she is not on record since her last re-election campaign, in transcripts of House sessions, or public hearings advocating for fiscal responsibility; she has not published any policy papers advocating for fiscal responsibility; and, not surprisingly, she offers no policy recommendations to address the state’s fiscal and competitive problems.

If you go to my website, you will see that I not only recognize the problems and challenges we face at the state and local levels, I also offer 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 Nov. 6 that it is time for a long overdue change in who controls our state. If elected, I will work hard to bring responsible leadership to the legislature and end the shortsighted decision-making that’s threatening our prosperity and jeopardizing our children’s future — along with our property values.

With responsible leadership in Hartford, we can turn things around and put the state back on a positive course.

 

Chris DeSanctis is a candidate for state representative in the 133rd District, on the eastern side of Fairfield. He works as an elementary school principal and adjunct professor at Sacred Heart University. Information: chrisdesanctis.com.

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