Connecticut is America’s jewel, replete with natural beauty — waterfalls, lakes, islands, beaches, caves and stunning autumn foliage.
Its cultural contributions are unparalleled. Scholars point to Connecticut’s Fundamental Orders, drafted in 1639, as the first example of a modern written constitution. Our state has given the world the hamburger, the nation’s best pizza, and the first Subway sandwich shop. Other contributions range from the first artificial heart to World Wrestling Entertainment.
But Connecticut has a problem.
Gravely wounded by the Great Recession, our state’s GDP hadn’t recouped its losses before the coronavirus pandemic plunged it into yet another economic downturn. Private-sector employment has never recovered to 2011 levels. From 2008-2020, Connecticut ranked 48th in job growth and 49th in wage growth.
Over the last decade, many of the state’s iconic employers — General Electric, Aetna and even Edible Arrangements — decamped to other parts of the country. And in 2021, Massachusetts ended Connecticut’s decades-long run as America’s wealthiest state, measured in terms of per-capita personal income.
This is discouraging, but it is not cause for despair. It does, however, underscore the need for a significant course correction.
This Charter for Change does not claim to contain an exhaustive list of all that can — or must —be done to restore Connecticut to the glory of its full potential. Rather, it’s designed both to challenge flawed assumptions and to inspire good ideas.
There are many ways that, together, we can make our great state more prosperous, more afford- able, more competitive — and a place where people can forge a better future for themselves and their families. We only need the will, and the hope, to act.
*This is an excerpted version of the Charter for Change, which can be found at yankeeinstitute.org
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