Building a Vibrant Economy
Building a vibrant economy in Connecticut requires addressing a financial crisis that is the result of decades of negligence. Pension contribution commitments have not been fulfilled, poor strategic decisions have been made, and little has been done to foster a long-term productive private-public business relationship. I believe the following three strategies will change the direction of Connecticut and set it on a path to a bright fiscal future.
1. Create a robust business roundtable.
Chaired by the Governor and supported by dedicated staff, Business Roundtables create forums for ongoing dialogue between state and business leaders. The core focus of the discussion is to create and maintain the best corporate climate, centered on critical topics that will advance economic growth and business performance.
The Department of Economic and Community Development should be refocused to support strategies outlined by the Business Roundtable, as well as narrow its scope to the programs and services that help companies prosper.
No roundtable like this exists on an ongoing basis in the state of Connecticut. The result is inconsistent application of policy and “one off” efforts that lack coordination and follow through. Projected state investment is minimal while the potential payoff of creating an attractive business climate is considerable.
Keeping our families safe from gun violence
I support legislation to close loopholes in our background check system; to make it illegal for those on the FBI terror watch list to buy a gun; to repeal the Dickey Amendment that bans gun violence research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); to encourage licensing requirements for handgun purchases; and to help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
The presence of guns in society creates a hidden tax as people and municipalities make investments to protect themselves and their citizens from gun violence. Consequently, I endorse the taxation of weapons, ammunition and large capacity magazines. The money collected through this taxation will be dedicated to increasing the resources necessary to create a safe society.
SUPPORTING QUALITY SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION
Addressing a transportation infrastructure in crisis
Connecticut is in an economic competition against other states and, in order to win, we need a modern, reliable and safe transportation system – something we do not currently have. Sections of many of our major highways, as well as streets such as Route 7 for which the state is responsible, are almost undriveable. The threatened cuts to our mass transit systems will cripple our ability to commute to work and move goods and services to our towns, and they will make the lives of the poorest members of our communities even more difficult. Rebuilding our transportation network so people can get to work, businesses can grow, and our towns can thrive depends on proper funding and ensuring that, like our neighboring states, everyone contributes their fair share.
Put simply, when Connecticut invests in our roads, bridges, rail and buses, it is investing in the economy, in job growth and in the quality of life in our communities. I will build the coalitions necessary to ensure these investments are made wisely and well to help our state thrive.