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.”
Connecticut is losing better-paying jobs and replacing them with low-paying jobs, according to a study released by the Commission on Economic Competitiveness. The commission had previously attempted to keep the document secret by discussing it in a closed-door executive session, prompting a Yankee Institute complaint to the Freedom of Information Commission.
In the face of declining tax revenues and weak job reports, state lawmakers have to decide whether or not to continue to fund Governor Malloy's controversial First Five Plus program, which is scheduled to end this year. To fund the program, the state borrows money, which it then hands out to major corporations through grants, low interest loans and tax subsidies in order to create jobs. Commissioner Catherine Smith of the Department of Economic and Community Development testified before the Commerce Committee on March 15 that the program should continue for another three years.
General Electric’s decision to move its corporate head-quarters from Fairfield to Boston, sent shock waves through the Connecticut political class. But it isn’t just corporations and billionaires that are leaving to seek new lives and opportunities elsewhere. Connecticut ranks fourth in the nation for people leaving, trailing New York, Illinois and Alaska. For several years, Connecticut has experienced a net loss of population and that is affecting the tax base to the tune of $60 per second. The state’s income tax earnings, which comprise nearly half of the state's revenue, was much lower than expected for fiscal year 2016 and has legislators scrambling to make up the difference.