Letter to Greenwich Republicans
Like you, I am committed to the values that I believe my party promotes. However, when it comes to the proper running of Greenwich, we have a lot more in common than you may believe. For some, but not most, there will be no separating any Democrat with issues as disparate as what occurred in Benghazi to what happens in Bridgeport, and I understand that feeling because there are plenty of Democrats who won’t differentiate the attempt to defund Planned Parenthood from the actions of our local Republican legislative delegation. It’s the first instinct of politics in 2015, and on the surface I understand it.
However, I also understand that we see very clearly on issues that affect our Town directly, issues that transcend the state and national political muck because they affect the dollars that come out of our pockets regularly.
1) We agree that Greenwich wastes a lot of our tax dollars. There is no denying that each and every time we build a building it goes way over cost, and then we just pay it. This is the way it has been for the past decade and we are told that is just the way Greenwich’s government works, and there is nothing we can do about it. I say that is total nonsense. As a taxpayer I reject any kind of wasteful spending and throwing money away because we don’t pay attention to the bottom line is unconscionable. I know some may say that a Democrat will just make it worse because there is the belief in some that Democrats just want to spend money without care. But I say, and I promise, that this is Greenwich and I expect to take personal responsibility for saving, not wasting, your tax dollars and not blaming outsiders who don’t know how we live in our community.
2) We agree that we have to get a handle on employee costs that take up 75% of our budget and tax dollars. Again, the stereotype here is that a Democrat must be in the pocket of the unions. But, by example a decade ago, we didn’t add to our pension obligations and now its over $20 million a year. The same people have been in charge of negotiating the union contracts remain in charge, the same people who manage the success-challenged pension fund have just been rehired. The choice here shouldn’t be between the track record of losses versus reliance on political talking points. I can bring a fresh perspective working in concert with a bipartisan BET to finally address this issue with fresh eyes and get it right, even as a Democrat.
3) Even if I can get some to believe the common ground we share over these two issues, there still remains the belief that no matter what, the reason for these problems is because of something Hartford did either on taxes or just general business climate. Right now, Greenwich is responsible for 10% of ALL the money that the State has to spend. However, all we get back is about 0.25% and that is wrong. The fact is that our local administration has decided that fighting Hartford is more important than getting what we deserve which may be satisfying but it gets us nothing at all. Our Republican legislative delegation knows that while you can have policy differences in Hartford, you don’t have to attack because the only loser is you, the taxpayer. I will be much more effective for Greenwich working with those state elected officials because I will be able to increase their effectiveness because I can lobby personally and persuasively to try to get the hospital tax overturned, for example. We have had years of attacking and its just resulted in less back for Greenwich.
I agree that our modest tax rates are a great benefit to our Town, and a testament to the wisdom of our predecessors of both parties. And as a Democrat I am going to work hard to beef up our social safety net in town, support our seniors and be a champion for the best education in the world. But my priority is getting our fiscal house in order in a way that benefits all of the residents of Greenwich and if those ideas are considered “Republican” ideas, so be it.