Bill Dunne is the Republican nominee for State Senate District 25, which includes all of Norwalk and most of Darien.
NORWALK, Conn. — Connecticut faces a calamity of misgovernment. We see it manifested in three ways: Our children don’t want to settle here. Our retirees don’t want to retire here. And many others would just as soon move to another state.
Consider the latest indicator: MoneyRates.com, an online financial news service, reported a survey that shows that Connecticut is among “the worst states to make a living.” Forty-five states ranked higher than Connecticut—a drop of nine places since last year. If this is a race to the bottom, we are gaining fast on Rhode Island, Mississippi, New York, and Hawaii. (Hawaii because of its extremely high cost of living.)
A new Gallup Poll showed that half of those surveyed in Connecticut (49 percent to be exact) would like to move to another state if they could.
A few weeks earlier, the president of the Connecticut Society of CPA’s, Camille Murphy, spoke about financial ratios that she said made Connecticut “look to be in worse shape than Detroit.” Not long ago, Barron’s newspaper rated Connecticut’s debt situation as the worst in the country. And the website TopRetirements.com ranked Connecticut as worst state for retirement. Connecticut’s confiscatory estate tax surely has something to do with that.
By one measure, Connecticut’s taxpayers are the hardest hit in the nation. “Tax Freedom Day,” so named by the Tax Foundation, an independent tax-policy research organization, arrived on May 9 this year. That’s the day on which Connecticut taxpayers finally start to keep the money they earn. Until then, everything they earn goes to pay federal, state, and local taxes. And among all the states, May 9 was the latest.
For the past 20 years, Connecticut has had the worst job-creation record in the nation. And last year, our economy (the value of all goods and services produced in the state) actually shrank.
This should not be happening in a state as beautiful as Connecticut, and as well-endowed with a dynamic, well-educated, and highly skilled population. So why is it happening? Let us count the ways.
- The administration of Gov. Dan Malloy seems not to understand where good jobs and prosperity come from. For Malloy and his allies, the top priority is to enlarge the state government, even though it comes at the expense of the private sector. They seem not to understand that the private sector is the Golden Goose.
- They believe that the way to attract employers to Connecticut, and to prevent certain Connecticut companies from leaving, is to bribe them using other people’s money (i.e., yours and mine). The process by which the governor selects these favored companies is in a back room somewhere. There’s an expression for that: Corporate welfare. Meanwhile the vast majority of other companies remain heavily burdened by taxes and regulations.
- The government is allowing the transportation infrastructure most vital to the state’s economy — Metro-North and the roads and bridges of Fairfield County — to crumble. Meanwhile we are spending billions on a bus-way in the Hartford area and a grandiose commuter rail line connecting New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield.
All kinds of repercussions result from neglect of transportation needs in Fairfield County. One of them is well known to realtors. They will attest to the fact that some residents have fled to New York and New Jersey because of unreliable Metro-North service. They’ll also tell you about lost sales when would-be home buyers got wind of the commuting hassles.
“If people move out of CT,” wrote Darien resident and commuter-advocate Jim Cameron, “they take with them their taxes, both local (property) and state (sales and income). Reduced demand for real estate lowers property values. Your town’s grand list shrinks and taxes must rise to fill the gap, creating a vicious cycle. The ‘gold coast’ is losing its luster.”
One would think that Bob Duff, who is nominally Norwalk’s and Darien’s representative in the State Senate, would be standing up for his commuting constituents. But he has been all-in with Malloy on siphoning funds away from Metro-North. He’s been all-in on Malloy’s barrage of tax hikes and regulatory overkill. He’s been all-in on the Malloy agenda, period. Apparently he thinks his smiling visage in so many photo-ops, and his emailed traffic alerts, are sufficient to obscure his dereliction on the issues that really matter to people.
That’s why I have chosen to seek election to the State Senate from Norwalk and Darien. Because there is a remedy for the dysfunction in Hartford. It is a more engaged, attentive citizenry. If there’s a bright side to the commuting snafus and the continuing exodus of people and businesses, it is that people are in fact becoming more engaged. The more awareness of the important role that politics in Hartford plays in our daily lives in Norwalk and Darien, the better. And recovery will follow.