OPINION: How did we get in such a bad place? Putting the state’s current financial crisis into perspective

Since being elected into office, I have witnessed the democratic majority, along with Governor Malloy, pass the two largest tax increases in our state’s history.

By State Representative Dave Yaccarino

Since being elected into office, I have witnessed the democratic majority, along with Governor Malloy, pass the two largest tax increases in our state’s history. Prior to implementing these tax increases, the taxpayers of Connecticut were assured that they were “necessary” in order to strengthen our economy; we were told that these increases would be followed by brighter days.

Fast forward six years and we’ve come to find that the exact opposite has occurred. You only need to take a glimpse at the cuts passed during the 2016 legislative session to find the impact that such drastic and deep cuts had on our most vulnerable citizens and essential programs. Although these cuts come as an attempt to mend years of reckless and irresponsible spending, nonetheless they are taking away from the very individuals that government is intended to help.

Namely, these cuts have consequently slashed aid and assistance to individuals who rely on funding from the Department of Developmental Services, the hearing impaired, Medicaid recipients, the Judicial Branch, even lifeguards and at our state parks – the list goes on. Over the years I’ve met with several of you, either during my monthly coffee hours or from running into you around town, and I have heard a common thread of concern – Connecticut is misspending hard-earned tax dollars and making it very difficult for working people to make a comfortable living. Sadly, our most vulnerable citizens are paying the price.

Not only do we see that our most vulnerable citizens are suffering, but our small businesses are struggling to stay open; large corporations and Connecticut residents are fleeing the state. Like me, I can imagine that many of you are asking yourselves: “What do we do now?”

We must truly work together now and always. Not just in the eyes of media or for matters of perception, but in reality. We must have the courage to make long-term changes that will benefit all our fellow citizens, and especially our most vulnerable. Going forward, we must restructure our pension system and ensure that our state agencies run more efficiently to eliminate the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars. We must seriously look at lowering our state income tax and restructure our state’s tax code; doing so will ensure that our regulatory system is not being overburdened. The bottom line is that we can and need to do better as a state.

Every year that I’ve had the honor of serving the people of North Haven I have joined my Republican colleagues in putting forth honest and balanced budgets, which did not rely on tax increases and sought instead to protect the most vulnerable of this state. The majority party and Governor Malloy failed to consider our proposals. This is not how government should work. We all work for you – the people – and it is your voices that need to be heard.

As President Lincoln so eloquently put it: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”

Posted by Chris

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