“By just about any account, Connecticut is in an unhappy, uncertain place.
Look at most ranking lists titled “Best place in America to… (pick your topic)” and you will likely have to read down until you find “Connecticut” in a mediocre — or worse — position.
Its roads are congested, corroding factors in a stagnant economy. Its rail system is balky, detracting considerably from a now-frayed selling point that the state is “conveniently” situated between New York City and Boston.
The state’s finances are critically out of whack — $4.5 billion short in the biennium budget set to go into effect on July 1, 2019; pensions underfunded by some $100 billion and demanding annual state contributions so large they choke the state’s ability to spend on other needs.
How did we get here? It’s easy — and completely inaccurate — to pin it all on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the 63-year-old Democrat who has held office the last eight years and who will turn the power — and the headaches — over to a successor on Jan. 9.
Today’s problems are rooted in decisions — and inaction — dating back at least to the 1990’s, including labor agreements, made during the tenure of former Republican Gov. John G. Rowland.
The challenges will not be solved in a short time. Nor will they be wrestled to the ground by imposed will alone.
All three candidates for governor are businessmen, none with state-wide governing experience.
Oz Griebel, of Hartford, a former Republican running as an independent, is energetic, knowledgeable about transportation needs, and optimistic about the state’s potential. His idea to hold off on funding the state pensions for two years, though, is an approach that contributed to the present plight.
Republican Bob Stefanowski’s proposal to eliminate the state income tax over eight years is unrealistic. The tax — about $9.5 billion annually — represents more than half of Connecticut’s tax revenue. What’s replacing it?
Stefanowski’s style seems to be of the “imposed will” school.
The Hearst Connecticut Media Group Editorial Board believes the best person for the job is Ned Lamont, the 64-year-old Greenwich entrepreneur turned investor.”