Opinion: Is Conn. a progressive and revolutionary state?
Published 12:00 am, Saturday, October 15, 2016
I relocated to Connecticut more than 17 years ago and I was fortunate to find a place in a town with good schools, low crime, and a quiet way of life.
I knew I was moving to a progressive state with a progressive agenda. A couple years ago I also found that the current administration uses “Connecticut: Still revolutionary” to attract visitors to the state and thus boost the revenue. I decided to assess on my own if indeed I live in a progressive state which considers itself revolutionary.
Since I moved to this state, many things changed, and they did not change for the good.
Like many people who belong to the middle class and most of the time are part of the silent majority, I don’t have the time or the luxury to participate in the political process except to execute my civic right and vote at election time. As an independent, I saw this great state passing through several majority Democratic assemblies with a Democratic governor.
The complete dominance of the legislative and executive branch of the government by the Democratic Party should have provided the greatest opportunity to implement changes and reforms to ensure the state meets budget targets and adopts pro-growth economic measures that directly impact in a positive way the people of this state. The pro-growth strategy would have increased the tax revenue and the overall economic growth would have led to an inflow of people and capital so much needed in the current economic situation.
Instead, we got the greatest increase in taxes in the history of this state, although Gov. Dannel Malloy was noncommittal when questioned on this issue during the election campaign. To add insult to injury, I remember seeing press reports following the tax increase that indicated the current administratiat first said there was a $500 million budget surplus, then the surplus was reduced to $45 million or so, then to $5 million, and lo and behold, now we actually have a budget deficit that is in the millions if not billions in the next several years.
It may be that addition and subtraction are not yet mastered by the current administration and multiplication and division are a higher order of mathematics. How can an administration be so arithmetically challenged and yet nobody was held accountable for the total mismanagement of the budget?
Nowadays, the administration struggles to meet a balanced budget requirement by cutting services to mentally ill, hospitals, family services; lays off state employees, and it is abundantly clear Malloy broke the political promises he made to the citizens of this state. Remember the contract the administration signed with unions not to lay off state employees or something of that nature until 2020?
Oh well, what is the contract value, one might ask, when the state now lays off thousands of employees or plans to? Either the governor did not know the economic situation or he knew, but it was politically expedient to convince unions to support him in the last election.
There may be three cities on the verge of bankruptcy, and the state may venture in bailing them out to ensure voter fidelity for the next election. Where is the money going to come from? Perhaps more and higher taxes are required that would go in the general fund that seems to be just a black hole where money goes, since this is the MO for this administration.
What about the schools in the inner cities that seem to be completely inefficient and do not provide the level of education expected from the monies and resources that are allocated year after year? The simplest way to address deficiencies in the education system was to pour money into the system, and hope for the best. The results are not positive, since hope is not a plan, yet no visible action is taken to address the issue.
Why not provide the school choice so many parents and students want? What we ended up with is a lottery system to enter charter schools. Perhaps our esteemed representatives should participate during the drawings and explain to the parents whose kids did not win the lottery why it is OK to go back to failing schools.
Are we that well off that we can afford to leave behind entire young segments of our population? Where are the outraged parents? Why aren’t the community leaders and the churches serving the communities up in arms on this issue?
My answer to my own inquiry is that we are not progressive in this state. The system is regressive, since it is providing almost no incentives for people to better themselves, no incentives for small and medium businesses to grow, and no incentives for larger businesses to remain in this state.
The only way to keep large business in this state is to bribe them with tax credits. So obviously, one may ask where that loss of revenue would come, but this is a question that the current administration cannot answer truthfully. The system is regressive, since the trend is for higher taxes, which only exacerbate the current path of low economic growth.
The system, for all intents and purposes, leaves behind entire segments of our society, allowing a low level of education which chains them in never-ending poverty. More than eight years since the 2008 recession debacle and finally job numbers are almost at parity. The only difference is the type of jobs and the pay which are not close to the previous levels.
Where is the press to hammer on these and other issues?
We are facing an election this year where most likely the Democratic Party would sweep the Legislature and status quo would ensue. How is this state still revolutionary? Are we in a situation where we vote for the same people over and over and expect that they would do something different?
I leave you with my final thought. We have to consider the effects and the consequences of our vote. Every vote counts and please vote. Perhaps this fall we need to remember the revolutionary spirit and decide against a status quo.
George Petrini is an aerospace engineer, lives in Simsbury and until recently worked for Pratt and Whitney.