The General Assembly passed a budget last week that stops driving Connecticut backward. The question is: will we take the next step and start driving forward? Last year, lawmakers passed the second-largest tax increase in state history, just five years after the largest tax increase. This year’s budget, while not good, was at least a temporary rejection of last year’s approach. It remains to be seen whether it was really a change of direction or merely a case of election-year stagefright.
Bledar Iljazi came to the United States as a child in 1986 when his family decided they could no longer live under the government of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia. Now the entire family - twelve members across three generations - is fleeing Connecticut and pursuing a better life in South Carolina. “The way everything was ten years ago - the economy and taxes - it wasn’t as bad, but right now for small businesses we’re getting hit with taxes left and right. They’re pretty much just making them up,” Bledar said.
Photographs taken at the Governor’s 2016 Economic Forum in February highlight a number of troubling statistics. - Poverty among minority groups is rising faster than others. - The decline in Connecticut manufacturing jobs has wiped out more than half of all job growth since the 1990s. - Middle-skill jobs in the science and technology sector are the hardest to fill. - Connecticut has some of the highest long-term unemployment rates in the nation.
Connecticut suffers from an approach to public policy that’s laser-focused on today’s urgent problems, while leaving tomorrow’s important challenges unaddressed. With lawmakers yet again cobbling together a budget at the last minute, time grows increasingly short to change the trajectory of our struggling state. A common sense approach to restoring Connecticut’s vitality should help us.
Plans to bring more natural gas to New England to lower the region's high energy prices face trouble. Two separate pipeline plans would have brought more natural gas, a relatively clean and low-cost fuel, to the region while investing more than $4 billion in the projects, but one developer dropped its plan last week. Kinder Morgan pulled the plug on its planned regional pipeline that would have invested $3.3 billion in the region. Company officials said in announcing the change in plans that the company could not find the support and consumers necessary to make the investment.
A proposal to create a government-run retirement plan for private employees would ultimately hurt the very people it aims to help, according to testimony from Kim Chamberlain of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association before the Labor and Public Employees Committee. The American Retirement Association, which supports a public retirement system, testified they could not support this legislation “in its current form.” The group labeled the proposed bill “confusing and costly.”