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Connecticut Needs a New Captain

Connecticut State Capitol

Just when we thought the election cycle was over, the brief sighs of relieve will start to come to an end. While the end of the year is just a little over a month away, and the most stressful family holidays are knocking at our doorsteps, politicos across the state — Bristol included — will have to decide on who is running for state office.

For many of us, politics is just too much and appears to be an insignificant part of our lives. If we have time to vote, and we are registered, we will hit the polls. Otherwise, we typically are too busy. Sadly, engaging in politics, or rather participating in our political process, has become increasingly important in our state (and our city) as good management seems to be hard to find.

Anyone who has half-paid attention to the last eight years knows that Connecticut has been trending in the wrong direction. What’s more is that if you read any reputable publication, you hear much the same. In April of this year, the Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote an article titled “What’s the Matter With Connecticut?” The article excoriates the state for its abysmal fiscal management writing, “You don’t need a Yale degree to figure out the tax hikes have been a disaster. A net 30,000 residents moved to other states last year.” It continues to point out the state’s shortcomings and jokes that after poaching so many Connecticut residents to move to Florida, “Florida Governor Rick Scott should pay Mr. Malloy a broker’s fee.” Similarly, The Atlantic wrote an article in July of this year titled “What on Earth is Wrong With Connecticut?” The author, Derek Thompson, reaches similar conclusions as the WSJ’s editorial board. Thompson, however, examined the state’s conditions a bit more. What Thompson found:

“Connecticut is a victim of two huge trends—first, the revitalization of America’s great rich cities and second, the long-term rise of hot, cheap suburbs. But Connecticut’s cities are not rich or great; its weather is not hot year-round; and its cost-of-living is not low. The state once benefited from the migration of corporations and their employees from grim and dangerous nearby metros, but now that wave is receding. To get rich, Connecticut offered a leafy haven where America’s titans of finance could move. To stay rich, it will have to build cities where middle-class Americans actually want to stay.”

So what does this tell us? Where do we go from here? What do we need to do?

In short, the answer is the Connecticut needs new leadership. Following the budget stalemate between the Governor and his own party, as well as the lack of transparency offered in the Democratic budget, Democrats have simply abdicated their responsibility to lead at the state level.

The lack of a budget for the longest period in state history, when Democrats control both chambers of our State Assembly and the Executive is simply unacceptable.

The simple fact is, whoever leads the state in the future is going to have many difficult decisions to make, many of which will be unpopular. This leader is going to have to cut spending and potentially raise taxes on high-income residents.

The next leader needs to be dynamic. Connecticut is clearly not responding well to changing markets around us, particularly as we lose jobs, lose residents, and rely on low growth industries. To be successful, Connecticut has to position itself as an industry hub that supports the middle-class. These jobs might be in biotechnology, computer system design, and other related technological industries. To do this, setting up our workforce will be a necessary part and a big challenge when changing our industrial scope and focus.

As we look to our next Governor and our candidates for statewide office, we should vote for the people who are willing and know how to do just this. We simply cannot afford someone to captain a sinking ship while the rest of us suffer.

D. Anthony Tagariello

Bristol

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