Sunday, June 18, 2017

Can Republicans Save Connecticut?

“No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session” -- Gideon Tucker

The headline of the story was worth a thousand words: “As State Budget And Tolls Stall, Mushroom Hunting And Hate Crimes Bill Among Proposals Passed." Connecticut Democrats, who still control the General Assembly, were unable to marshal sufficient votes  to pass a frequently unbalanced budget that  is in all probability unbalanced. But the mushroom hunting bill – never mind what it’s about – passed like a hot knife through butter. The budget failed to pass only 21 days after Connecticut citizens celebrated, if that is the word for it, tax freedom day, that point on the calendar at which Connecticut tax survivors have satisfied the insatiable lust of politicians for more revenue.

“Connecticut remains,” the Yankee Institute points out, “dead last in the nation for the Tax Foundation’s annual Tax Freedom Day report, which calculates when the residents of each state have collectively made enough money to pay all their tax bills.”

Progressive Democrats are steaming inside that Republicans have not yet bowed to their superior but dwindling numbers. The collapse of Republican spines has been the spur to increased taxing and spending for decades. This time, one senses a hearty opposition rooted in two politically useful perceptions. The first is that a real corrective, long term spending cuts, will never become a reality so long as further revenue increases remain a live option. The second is that a reversal of Democratic hegemony in the General Assembly depends upon vigorous Republican campaigns, which will depend upon a roster of candidates willing to lead and the lucid presentation of programs that will pull Connecticut up by its own bootstraps.

In mid-June, Florida Governor and job-poacher Rick Scott threaten in a posting to revisit Connecticut. The Danbury News Times reported:

 “Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other public officials ‘out of touch’ with business leaders, as the state government works overtime this June to complete a budget that has been strapped by lower-than-expected revenue from income taxes.

“’Connecticut has lost more adjusted gross income and people to Florida than any other state in the nation,’ Scott stated. ‘Connecticut simply cannot compete with everything Florida has to offer.’”

It is hardly a sufficient answer to such job-poachers to retort that Florida is miles away from New York and Massachusetts, while Connecticut is geographically situated between the two, when the governors of Massachusetts and New York, one a Republican and the other a Democrat, also are poaching jobs from Connecticut. In the matter of revenue production from job growth, geography does not determine destiny. More often than not, public policy is the salvation and ruination of states. And Connecticut, over-reliant on tax increases and portable rich people living in the state’s “Gold Coast,” has been tottering on its pins for decades. Warning flags have been unfurled for years, the Democrat dominated General Assembly has for years been pursuing a ruinous tax and spend policy, and the state’s immunization system has for as long a period of time been compromised through excessive regulations and special-interest stroking Democrats.

The question on everyone’s lips as the political season unfolds is: can Connecticut Republicans win back the governor’s office and attain a majority in at least one House of the General Assembly? Republicans just now are very close in the Senate, membership in the chamber being evenly split – 18-18. And the governor’s office is up for grabs. Progressive Governor Dannel Malloy, who has mismanaged the state during his somewhat autocratic administration, has lame-ducked himself. Will he and his accomplished wife join former Governor Jodi Rell in Florida when he leaves office? If so, he certainly will be a feather in Scott’s cap.

The answer to the question above is, as Nobel Prize literati Bob Dylan once sang, “blow’n in the wind…” How many times can politicians in Connecticut turn their heads and pretend that they just don’t see?

There is a hard wind at the back of Republicans this election season. For the first time in years, bill payers in Connecticut, both citizens and corporate entities, are in open revolt. Those who have shaken the dust of Connecticut from their feet and moved to Scott’s more welcoming state can be said to have voted with their feet already. When a person just graduated from any of Connecticut’s tax endowed colleges moves permanently out of state, Connecticut does not only lose its educational investment. Demographers tell us that the average lifespan in Connecticut is 80 years. Assuming graduation from college at 22 and retirement at 75, Connecticut will lose more than 50 years of tax revenue when college graduates leave the state – more than likely pulling other taxpaying members of their families along with them.

Those who can do the math, certainly NOT the folk who compute Connecticut’s perpetually out of balance budgets, will do the math.

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