Economy, Budget and Taxes
Solving our state’s fiscal crisis and improving our economy is job number one. Our legislature needs to address these issues head on and work together to find the solutions and we need people in the legislature who are willing to do it. We need to ensure we have an income tax that is fair to all of our citizens and doesn’t try to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class. We need to look at new ways to attract jobs to our state and retain talent. We must update our infrastructure, revitalize our towns and cities, and focus on building a system of both secondary and higher education for the 21st Century workforce. We must finally take a good hard look at our property tax system and create incentives for regional solutions that make sense for our cities and towns and reduce the tax burden for middle class and working class families. And yes, we must reign in wasteful spending and have fiscally responsible budgets.
Economic development - As a small business owner myself and a lawyer to many small businesses, I am particularly sensitive to the cost of doing business for small to medium sized businesses based in Connecticut, which are and should continue to be the lifeblood of our economy. Our economic development approach as a state should not be corporate welfare, we should start from the bottom up and concentrate on supporting the small and mid-sized businesses in the supply chain of some of our larger industries. To encourage economic development, I believe we must support small business with tax credits for creating jobs. We also need to continue to overhaul our Department of Economic and Community Development and Small Business Express lending program and make sure we know what is and isn't working.
Tax Reform - We need a more fair and equitable income tax structure and we need to stop expanding the sales tax and other “nickel and dime” taxes and fees that are regressive in nature and disproportionately affect middle class and working class people. I have fought for reforming our tax codes to reduce taxes on middle class and working class people and our small businesses, and that fight will continue. The very first two bills I introduced on day one at the Capitol, to eliminate two taxes affecting homeowners and small businesses, were passed into law.
Solving the pension crisis - To help solve the problem of our growing and underfunded pension liabilities for public employees and teachers, we need innovative thinking. The State should make an in-kind contribution of assets (including real estate and the CT Lottery) to its pension systems to improve their funded ratios and dedicate these assets to funding teachers’ pensions in particular.
Eliminate tax loopholes - We should formally evaluate the $7 billion + in tax expenditures and loopholes Connecticut spends each year and eliminate failed policies and wasteful spending. We should work with our neighboring states to close the carried interest loophole.
Housing - The strength of the housing market is vitally important to the economic health of our state. A robust economy needs affordable housing for its workforce. As a real estate attorney, I work with homebuyers and small real estate investors every day and I know this first hand. I think we should look at reinstituting homebuyer tax credits and first time buyer programs which have been successful in the past and reformulating these programs to expand access and affordability across Connecticut.
Regional cooperation - I support common sense initiatives to encourage regional cooperation, such as cooperative municipal purchasing initiatives, which can ultimately help to reduce our property tax burden.