Fiscal Freedom for CT: Real Political Courage Is Cutting Spending, Not Taxing Working Class People

Letter to the editor from Laura Gladstone, Founder of Fiscal Freedom for CT

In a last-ditch attempt to get her tolls and infrastructure bank bills passed, State Senator Alex Bergstein wrote a melodramatic op-ed published in Greenwich Time claiming that people will die around the state if tolls are not implemented.

Her arguments harken to socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fear mongering that “the world is going to end in 12 years” if we do not pass her Green New Deal. These hysterical tactics have become the norm for the radical Left.

Bergstein says it takes political courage to pass tolls. It actually takes more courage to cut spending. Currently, Connecticut has the highest administrative costs per mile of road, equating to nine times the national average!

To fund this, we already levy several onerous taxes and fees, including one of the highest gas taxes and vehicle sales taxes in the nation. In addition to the federal funds our state already receives, the people of Connecticut are paying nearly $2 billion annually for their infrastructure, which could go further, if Democrats did not betray their promises and divert $175 million of it away from the Special Transportation Fund to the General Fund this year, as they have done every single year over the last decade.

Another strong advocate of tolls (remember, he was the featured speaker in favor of tolls during the Greenwich RTM SOMR), Greenwich Rep. Stephen Meskers accidentally told the truth about the initiative recently. “It can help us fund our pension and move forward.” Thereby confirming this is just another tax hike on the middle class to fund the general obligations of Connecticut.

Bergstein paints herself as a moderate and says tolls are a fiscally conservative solution. But taxing working-class people, by imposing more than 50 tolls on top of our already high taxes and fees, is not fiscally conservative in any sense. When you can’t tax the rich anymore, because they are leaving the state as Governor Lamont appears to concede, this is what happens. The working poor get penalized.

Unfortunately, tolls would be yet another costly, job-killing bill to go along with two others that Bergstein voted for in Connecticut this term: Paid Leave and a $15 Minimum Wage. The former will impose a new 0.5% payroll tax on every private-sector worker in the state, while the latter will kill thousands of jobs for the working poor in Connecticut, as the Congressional Budget Office and Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign itself recently showed. Voting against small businesses is not “fiscally conservative” in any way.

Bergstein likes to use the analogy that implementing tolls is like going to the dentist for a root canal. What she doesn’t understand is that Connecticut residents have already been to the dentist countless times over the last 30 years, and we have no more teeth.

Laura Gladstone
Founder of Fiscal Freedom for CT