Goldrick: Fact. Connecticut is Far Better Off Under Democrats.

Sean Goldrick served two terms on the BET and resides in Riverside

“CT Democrats do not want you to hear the facts,” claims Frank Salomone in his letter to the editor.  Well, this Democrat wants you to “hear the facts.”  Let’s start with Salomone’s claim that, “For twelve years, the Democrat party has maintained total control of all policy making in our state.”  Actually, Democrats have held the governor’s office for just under ten years.  And Republicans, riding a wave of dark money from right-wing billionaires, seized half the seats in the state senate in 2016, and were able to block Democratic legislation for two years until 2019.  

Salomone asks whether we’re better off now than during the 16 years of the criminal and incompetent Republican governors Rowland and Rell.  

Salomone claims that Democrats want “to distract your attention from their awful performance as stewards of your taxpayer dollars. They have blinders on when it comes to the economic and fiscal damage they have caused which has led our state to fall into disrepair. But the facts remain undeniable.”  

Fact: Until Covid-19 hit, in less than 10 years under Democratic governors, Connecticut added more than double the private sector jobs than did Rowland-Rell in their 16 years in power.  While one out of every three jobs created in Connecticut under Rowland-Rell was in the government sector, under Democratic governors, government sector employment has contracted to the lowest level in 22 years.

“Prohibitively higher taxes, a bureaucracy that repels small business and entrepreneurship”?  

Fact: Rowland-Rell during their sixteen years in office increased state spending at an annual rate of nearly 4.5%.  Under Democratic governors, state spending has risen less than 1.2% annually.  That’s nearly four times higher spending under Republicans than under Democrats. In fact, as reported by Hearst Connecticut’s business editor Dan Haar, spending under Malloy and Lamont has gone down for every department of state government, not up.

“…a system of cronyism that favors unions over free market competitiveness”?  Seriously?  

Fact:  The actuarial firm Cavanaugh McDonald estimates that public sector union give-backs negotiated by Democratic Governor Malloy will total more than $24 billion over a 20-year period.  Democratic Governor Malloy reduced state government staffing to the lowest level since the 1970’s.

An “unaddressed, unfunded pension liability time bomb (is) the main hallmark of 32 out of 34 years of Democrat run CT legislatures”?  

Fact: Republican governors Rowland and Rell failed to fully fund the teacher and state employee pensions virtually every year in office, resulting in both pension funds teetering on the brink of insolvency when they left office.  Democratic governors Malloy and Lamont fully funded the pension contributions in every budget for the past decade, reformed both pension funds, reduced the expected rate of return, and put both funds on a sustainable path to full funding.

Salomone claims that “several studies focused on the fiscal health, business friendliness and economic vitality of states” Connecticut “ranks poorly in almost every measurable metric.”  He then goes on to list rankings by right-wing propaganda outfits that have little credibility.

Fact: According to the Council on State Taxation, Connecticut’s total effective business tax rate is the fifth lowest in the nation.  

According to the North Star Policy Institute, total spending at all levels of government in Connecticut as a percentage of state GDP is the second lowest in the nation.  

Connecticut ranks 3rd among all states in the percentage of millionaires in the population, up from 4th under Jodi Rell.  

The number of billionaires in our state has risen from 11 when Rell left office, to 17 today under Democratic governor Ned Lamont.  

Connecticut is home to 14 Fortune 500 corporate headquarters today, compared with just 11 when Rell left office.

Fact: Rell cleaned out the $1.4 billion rainy day fund, left a $3.6 billion deficit, and issued a billion-dollar 5-year “economic recovery note” for her successor to pay back.  

Democratic Governor Malloy paid back that note, and balanced the budget every year. Governor Lamont compiled a $3.1 billion rainy day fund, the largest in Connecticut history, leading Pew Research to rank Connecticut as one of the best positioned states to deal with the economic downturn from the Covid-19 crisis.

Want to talk about the “performance as stewards of your taxpayer dollars”?  Let’s talk about how the GOP-controlled congress in its 2017 tax bill slammed Connecticut with the biggest per capita federal tax increase from its cap on state and local tax deductions of any state in the nation.  The Connecticut Office of Legislative Research estimates that the tax increase on Connecticut taxpayers from the GOP bill totals $10.3 billion, equivalent to nearly half of our entire state budget.  And the GOP hit the 4th congressional district- mostly Fairfield County- with the 7th biggest tax increase of all 435 congressional districts in the country.  Thank you, Republican Party, for being such wonderful “stewards of Connecticut’s tax dollars.”

While we’re talking about “performance as stewards” of Connecticut tax dollars, let’s consider that the GOP-controlled Senate refuses to even bring up for a vote the HEROES Act that the Democratic House of Representatives passed four months ago.  That bill would extend the $600 per week unemployment benefits to the tens of thousands Connecticut workers who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, provide $7 billion in assistance to Connecticut state government over a two-year period, and extend $59 million in assistance to the town of Greenwich.  But instead, the GOP in Washington let the unemployment benefit run out, and refuses to aid our state and towns.

Not better off under Democrats?  Let’s consider that after passage of the Newtown gun control bill, over Republican opposition, Connecticut achieved the steepest drop in violent crime of any state in the country.  Under Democratic governors, Connecticut led the nation in criminal justice reform, dramatically reducing our prison population, reducing recidivism, and reaching a 50-year low in crime.  Let’s consider that Governor Malloy, the regional bus system CTFastrak, created over Republican opposition, has proved so popular and successful that it’s years ahead of ridership projections.  How the Hartford-New Haven rail line Governor Malloy created, over Republican opposition, is far ahead of ridership projections.  Under under Democratic governors Connecticut has become a national leader in Medicaid reform, reducing its per patient cost while other states were increasing theirs.  Connecticut’s state health insurance exchange has been the most successful in the nation, insuring more than 100,000 people.

If the facts truly matter to you, the voters, you’ll vote out every Connecticut Republican candidate at every level.