Despite our debt, we are currently presented with various strategies to restore revenues and mitigate our losses. We must foster long-term in-migration by improving technological and transportation infrastructure via public-private partnerships, capitalize our state assets to reduce debt through long term leases and capital projects, keep our retirees in via , attracting young residents, and supporting key industries. Since COVID-19, over 16,000 new residents have moved into CT. We’re also seeing financial institutions and manufacturing and distribution industries increase their real-estate footprints. We must do all we can to sustain and foster this growth through. Currently we can project imputed revenue for the next five to eleven years. If we want to keep these businesses and residents we must give them reasons to stay. We should utilize public private partnerships to improve our technology and transportation infrastructures, continue to revitalize our cities so they are attractive to our younger workforce, and work to increase innovative and socially responsible industries, thereby attracting young people to grow with us, and in turn grow with our economy. Finally, capitalizing state assets, especially via long term leases will not only pay off the encumbrances weighing on our state and on these assets, but also enable us to rethink other options for the future. Currently, the House has formed a bipartisan committee to look into this. If we utilize our capital assets for capital projects, especially those which could stimulate business growth, we not only eliminate debt, but stimulate long-term prosperity for our residents and our state.
Connecticut cannot afford to lose our retirees to other states, and likewise, our retired residents deserve to stay and enjoy their home. This requires a two-pronged approach: Tax reform and affordable housing. It’s time to repeal our estate tax. This tax brings in so little revenue that it falls under “other” on our revenue breakdown. We would collect more revenue in consumption tax than we would in estate tax if these residents remained. We should not keep a tax which actually costs us revenue. Retirement should be an economically viable option for everyone. Spending time with my family in the state I love is priceless. Accordingly, I support the multi-year phasing-out of income taxes on retirement income like Social Security, pensions, and annuities so every retiree can choose to remain here. Finally, we must ensure every municipality and city has sufficient affordable housing for elderly residents.
The key to business growth is supporting new industries while maintaining our main sources of GDP. We need to increase our labor force by first continuing to focus on courting – and developing – manufacturing and distribution businesses in CT because they comprise the majority of our GDP, and second we have to encourage and maintain more innovative, environmentally sustainable, and technology-based businesses so that we can attract and maintain a young and vibrant workforce with socially responsible and technologically innovative businesses. Finally, we must make small businesses easier to operate and form by reducing cumbersome filing fees, and using technology as a resource for business management, grant opportunities, navigating taxes, employment strategies, and liquidity and capital management. If we do these things, we will attract more young people to CT, and continue to sustain what has been primarily fueling our state’s GDP. Finally, but most importantly, we must join forces across the aisle to create programming to revitalize our small businesses in CT which have been devastated by the pandemic. Small business is the keystone to our success, and we must ensure these businesses thrive with unbridled support from our legislature.
Shared Risk and other hybridized pension models ensure security and certainty. We must partner with our state workers and our treasury to stabilize funding for SERS and TRS. Our state workers unions made substantial concessions but we must look to the long-term effect of our outstanding liabilities on both workers and our state economy. We must reform SERS and TRS to ensure our state workers’ base benefits, while guaranteeing ancillary benefits based on market performance. In doing so, the state and its workers share the risk. In doing so, we can promise workers receive the pensions they are promised while reducing our state liability.
Healthcare is an essential right which should be available to everyone. Nothing has highlighted our need for equal access to healthcare more than the current pandemic, which is leaving many of our state residents with oppressive medical bills, crowding our hospitals, and many residents are now uninsured or unemployed. I fully support the Governor’s plan for a CT option via the Affordable Healthcare Act, which will allow non-profits, small businesses and individuals without employer-provided or subsidized insurance (including those with preexisting conditions) to buy into the state’s public healthcare plan.
Public Act 20-1, previously HB 6004, standardizes across Connecticut a number of widely accepted thoughtful practices that already exist here with our Greenwich Police Department (GPD), which is ultimately the goal of police reform — to give everyone the safety, protection, freedom, and respect we enjoy with our police in Greenwich. Should aspects of this law prove problematic for law enforcement or our communities, however, I support revisiting and revising. That said, we can do more outside of policing to promote criminal justice reform.
I advocate evaluating police reform in the context of the wider systemic inequity in the courts, and mental health and incarceration policies. We must develop more restorative justice programs, such as the Juvenile Review Board (JRB) that allows for the diversion of potentially delinquent juveniles away from the criminal justice process, and assists them in getting on a more positive and productive path. CT should also have state-wide specialized drug courts in all cities and municipalities which utilize diversionary programs and provide mental health and drug treatment. Creating more statewide educational opportunities and training resources for law enforcement across Connecticut will further ensure officers use less force while maintaining the same quality of law and order, and receive fewer civilian complaints.
Technology and Innovation
With over 16,000 new residents moving to Connecticut, we are gaining a new generation of thinkers and industries which we must support and utilize to modernize the infrastructure and industries in our state. Despite a slow-down in commuting and travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will eventually return to travel, and when we do so, it should be with a newly informed sense of safety as well as with energy efficiency. We must continue to develop our technology and innovation here in CT. I advocate utilizing public-private-partnerships to improve our rails, roads, and to continue the expansion of Bradley International Airport so that CT continues to grow and evolve with state of the art, socially and environmentally responsible technologies and industries.
As a volunteer for the Greenwich Town Conservation Department at the Mianus River fish ladder, the safety and sustainability of our environment is paramount. We must continue to court clean energy industries, and continue to institute state-wide policies to ensure minimal waste, clean air, and safe shorelines and water. We cannot afford to introduce or industries which compromise our environment now and for generations to come. Accordingly, I support creating tax incentives for clean energy industries and will avidly support legislation which protects our environment.