If necessity is the mother of invention, adversity is the father of opportunity. In these dire economic times, opportunity is knocking loud and clear.
In order to remain competitive, Connecticut government leaders need to take every advantage to make adjustments to our budget and change the way we do business.
What factors come into play when making these decisions? Town officials, individual taxpayers, business owners, seniors, and many other stakeholders need to be considered. One group, the business community, has already sacrificed enough. Small and large business owners have had to make tough decisions to make ends meet; they have had to cut jobs. How can we formulate policy to better support businesses in Connecticut?
Governor Malloy proposed a budget that calls for a lot of changes. It was an honest look at the state economy, and did not include any borrowing. Although I agree with many of his suggestions, I still find myself asking: Is this enough? When we have a $3.5 billion budget deficit, how can we look at a budget that has $600 million MORE in spending? I believe we should at least make sure that we do not spend any more than we did in 2008. Holding the line on spending would be a prudent first step in closing the budget gap.
Right now we also have the opportunity to reduce the size, scope and intrusiveness of government and its regulation. There are too many state agencies and boards that perform the same function. When is comes to services for our residents’ heath and well being there are currently more than seven separate agencies who are responsible for some portion of what we could put under the umbrella of a single human services department. Surely we are duplicating efforts and creating unnecessary delays by having so many separate service “silos” when they could be coordinated and cost effective.
Also, the state needs to better utilize technology when trying to perform simple tasks. The application process for specific healthcare programs like Medicaid and Husky leave offices full of state employees with thousands of case loads to handle per day. Governor Malloy said that he had a better computer system as the Mayor of Stamford than he does as the Governor of Connecticut.
There is a lot of work to do, and we will need bipartisan cooperation to get it done. We must stay focused on the ultimate goal of making Connecticut a more efficient, innovative and business-friendly state.