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.
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 NJ at 12.2% and NY 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 some elected officials are guided by political motives rather than acting responsibly. Responsible leaders will work to 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 Responsible Leadership to the legislature and end the shortsighted decision-making that's threatening our prosperity and jeopardizing our children's future. With Responsible Leadership in Hartford, we can turn things around, and here’s how:
o Reduce spending. In 1992, 80% of Connecticut voters approved an amendment to our state Constitution to cap spending. Since then, the decision makers in our General Assembly have ignored this overwhelming mandate by refusing to enact the amendment.
o Reduce state income taxes. Lower tax rates will promote long-term economic growth by making it easier for people to pay their bills, save, and invest.
o Make it easier and more affordable to run a business through regulatory reform and tax incentives. Only then will we bring jobs back to Connecticut communities.
If you, like me, are very concerned about the future of our state and recognize the need for change in Hartford, please help get Connecticut working again by electing me as your State Representative. I will look out for the best interests of all people by helping make state government more responsible and accountable to you, the taxpayer. Thank you.
Chris DeSanctis is a candidate for State Representative in Fairfield’s 133rd legislative district. He works as an elementary school Principal and Adjunct Professor at Sacred Heart University. To learn more about Chris, visit his website at www.chrisdesanctis.com.