‘Responsible leadership’ needed in Hartford

Responsible leadership. Those two words describe why I am running for State Representative in Fairfield’s 133rd legislative district — they describe what we desperately need in Hartford.

As you probably know, following the recent financial crisis and recession, governments in neighboring states like New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts recognized the need for tax and spending restraint. But here in Connecticut, our one-party government responded with even higher spending, increased fees, and the biggest tax hike in the state’s history.

And when that massive tax increase still wasn’t enough to avoid a deficit in fiscal 2012, our state government borrowed more money to pay its operating costs — even though in fiscal 2011 Connecticut already had the highest debt per capita in the nation at $5,402, not including unfunded liabilities for state pensions and health benefits. Add in those unfunded liabilities and, according to the Pew Center, our per-capita debt climbs to $18,790 — much higher than states that are considered to have big problems, like New York ($6,368), California ($8,288), Massachusetts ($8,348), and Illinois ($11,923), and even a bit higher than New Jersey ($18,776).

Fiscal irresponsibility like this will continue to drive more and more seniors, young people, families, and job-creating businesses out of Connecticut for less expensive states.

Indeed, the numbers are revealing. In the latest CNBC ranking, Connecticut dropped from 39th to 44th as the best state for doing business. Our overall ranking went from bad to worse because we place so low in cost of living (48), cost of doing business (46), infrastructure and transportation (43), economy (40) and workforce (40).

According to the Tax Foundation, even before the latest increases, Connecticut’s combined state and local tax rate at 12.0% was among the three highest (with New Jersey at 12.2% and New York at 12.1%), and was more than 20% above the national average of 9.8%.

Tax Freedom Day 2012 — the day when people had earned enough money to pay all the taxes they will owe for the year — was April 17. In Connecticut, Tax Freedom Day did not come until May 5, even later than in other high-tax states such as California (April 20), Massachusetts (April 22), New Jersey (May 1) and New York (May 1).

The single greatest reason taxes are so high in Connecticut is irresponsible leadership, which can be traced directly to a state legislature that has been controlled by one party for 36 of the last 40 years. Our state simply cannot continue down this irresponsible path.

All my life, I’ve been passionate about helping others improve their lives. This is why I have gravitated to the fields of education and public service. When it comes to improving lives, I’ve learned that government can often do more harm than good, especially when the decisions of elected officials are guided by political motives rather than simple common sense. Common sense dictates that our government should reduce spending and lessen the tax burden on Connecticut citizens as part of a broader effort to make our state more competitive and attract and retain more families, businesses and jobs.

This is why I’m running for state representative. I want to bring common sense and responsible leadership to the legislature and end the

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