With Election Day now behind us the only certainty in Hartford is change. A new governor will soon be sworn into office, the first Democrat Governor in twenty years. We will also see a slight shift in the legislature as Republicans gained a seat in the Senate and 14 in the House of Representatives.
What haven’t changed are the problems affecting our state. We still face an unemployment rate hovering over 9% and a budget deficit of $3.5 billion. The new legislature and governor will have many tough choices to make in the coming months and years.
However, over the past few years Democrats have mainly spoken of higher taxes when it comes to fixing the deficit. Among their proposals have been higher income taxes, higher sales taxes, the elimination of certain tax exemption on things such as food, clothing, prescriptions and home heating oil and even a state property tax.
Absent was a discussion on reducing the size and scope of our bloated state government and focusing instead on the core functions of government. Before there is any talk of new taxes we must focus on reforming government and cutting non-essential programs. We simply cannot afford the government we currently have.
This week the House Republicans held a caucus to welcome in our new members and elect our minority leader. During the caucus we had a surprise visit from Governor-elect Dan Malloy. The visit was a simple yet appreciated gesture. After all, we are all responsible for getting Connecticut back on track.
I, for one, am looking forward to working with our new Governor on improving our state. He has already insisted we begin using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) when dealing with the budget- something I, along with my Republican colleagues, have been pushing for years.
Adopting GAAP rules will help us directly address out massive budget deficit, root out gimmicks that have been used for years and give citizens a much more honest view of where we stand as a state.
But GAAP is just the first step in the long road to recovery and the next month will be very telling in how things proceed. On November 15th Governor Rell will present Malloy with a transition budget and shortly after that the Finance and the Appropriations committee will hold public hearings on the state of the current budget year.
I hope then we can get down to work and begin to have an honest discussion on reducing our spending, improving government efficiency and getting the budget under control. Our state’s future depends on it.
I would like to thank you for showing faith in me and sending me back to Hartford. It has been my pleasure to represent you and your interests and I am honored that you have chosen to allow me to continue to work on your behalf. I promise to keep you and the rest of the people of Connecticut in mind during every decision I make and vote I cast.