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CT GOP candidates focus on inflation; Democrats urge ‘fiscal restraint’

Democrats say GOP wants to score points today by risking future

Rep. Sean Scanlon shared the microphone with Gov. Ned Lamont on the day in April the gas tax was suspended. (Mark Pazniokas, CTMirror.org)

Headlines generated by monthly updates of the Consumer Price Index have become reliable gifts to Republican challengers like Bob Stefanowski, whose campaign for governor of Connecticut is tightly focused on the highest inflation in 40 years.

On social media and in comments to the press, Stefanowski pounced Thursday on the latest numbers with a reprise of his criticism that Gov. Ned Lamont and legislative Democrats have provided insufficient relief.

“We’ve got a three and a half billion dollar rainy day fund,” Stefanowski said in an interview. “To me, when you know families are having to choose between buying food, gas or prescription medicines, that’s a rainy day.”

If inflation is largely what Stefanowski talks about, that’s understandable to Rep. Sean Scanlon, D-Guilford, an architect of the Democrat tax relief package passed in May and signed by Lamont.

“Well, it’s all Democrats should be talking about, too, right? I might be an outlier on that,” Scanlon said. “But I think it’s what people are thinking about. And, as is the case sometimes, what people feel and what’s actually happening can be different. But either way, we need to be in this fight.”

Scanlon, who used his position as co-chair of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee to push for the $250 child tax credit that will go out this summer, said Democrats have a two-pronged story to tell: The state has cut taxes — while preparing for a recession by paying down debt and filling a reserve fund.

“We are heading into uncertain waters from a national and international economic perspective,” said Scanlon, the Democratic nominee for comptroller. “And we should not be so quick to make the same mistakes of the past — even if they are the politically easier choices to make. And I think at the end of the day, people will reward that fiscal discipline and the balance that we struck between doing substantial tax reform and saving money for rainy days.”

The CPI numbers released this week showed a 9.1% increase in prices in June over a year ago, more than negating any gains from higher wages. Adjusted for inflation, real average hourly earnings have declined by 3.6% on a yearly basis.Across all levels of politics, Republicans have made inflation the issue.

One comment

Piberman July 18, 2022 at 1:35 pm

Neither Party’s candidates are focusing on what ought be done to jump start CT’s decade long stagnant economy/employment level/population. Or that most of our school and college grads leave CT for better opportunities elsewhere. Or discuss how CT can move forward with 169 separate towns and cities each with their own public labor force ?
Or how CT can make progress when its 3 largest cities remain some of the nation’s least successful aka poorest ? Or why CT has no hi-tech industry to speak of ?

If current campaign discussions are any guide CT will continue to remain stagnant for another decade with its public employees remaining our largest “industry”. Neither Party has shown a serious interest in jump startling CT’s economy so it attracts major firms bringing good jobs to CT.

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