Opinion: Does 80 percent mean anything?
Published 1:04 am, Friday, April 9, 2010
The federal government isn't alone in ignoring a majority of the people it represents, as Washington did with the nationalization of health care. Connecticut's state government does the same with its own citizens. In 1992, 80 percent of Nutmeggers approved an amendment to our state Constitution to cap spending. Since then, the Democrat supermajority in the general assembly has ignored that 80 percent by not voting on a "definition of terms" needed to enact the amendment. Specifically, enacting the amendment requires defining the following: increase in personal income, increase in inflation, and general budget expenditures.
I have always espoused the need for elected officials to spend no more than they collect in taxes and borrow only what they can pay back. This seems reasonable enough. Indeed, these are the rules that average citizens, like you and me, live by. But apparently, when dealing with our tax dollars, our elected officials believe these rules do not apply. This is wrong. You, the people, work hard for your money. And while some taxes are necessary, you deserve to have your tax dollars spent responsibly.
That is why I am calling on our lawmakers who control the general assembly to define the terms mentioned above in order to enact the state constitutional spending cap. The cap will force our elected leaders to spend only what they collect. Indeed, if the spending cap had been enacted years ago -- as 80 percent of the people wanted -- we might not be facing the crippling budget situation in which we find ourselves today.
The Democrat majority's only solution to our budget crisis is to raise your taxes. I say that's wrong. State Rep. TR Rowe recently reminded us that "Connecticut taxpayers spend nearly four months of their income paying local, state, and federal taxes." What's even more amazing is that the majority party in our legislature wants to raise them more. This nonsense is exactly why the state-spending cap, approved by 80 percent of Connecticut citizens, needs to be enacted immediately.
It's been 18 years since Connecticut taxpayers first spoke about the need for fiscal responsibility in Hartford via the cap, and for 18 years the voice of the people has been ignored. Connecticut needs and deserves better -- especially now.
And if our elected officials refuse to listen, God help our children and grandchildren who one day might try to live in Connecticut to be close to their families.
Chris DeSanctis is a candidate for the Republican nomination for state representative in Fairfield's District 132. He teaches in Sacred Heart University's Department of Government and Politics. His Web site is www.chrisdesanctis.com.