Connecticut used to be the best place in the country to live, work and raise a family. By rebuilding our former strengths, it can be again.
We have huge structural advantages. Our location next to New York City and as the gateway to New England, excellent schools and a highly educated workforce, a beautiful coast line and picturesque New England towns. When we made the most of these advantages, and were lower cost than our main competitors in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, our state boomed. We need to renew those strengths for the 21st Century.
World-Class Infrastructure and Transportation Systems
One of our big advantages used to be that we had best-in-class transportation services that connected us to New York and New England. Our trains are slower today than they were in 1970, our highways are some of the most congested in the country, and Southern Connecticut is one of the largest population centers in the country without a major airport.
We can rebuild our trains, highways and airports by attracting billions of dollars in private investment. We can cut rail commute times to New York City down to 30 minutes from Stamford and 60 minutes from New Haven — game changers for those cities. We can rebuild the Bridgeport and Hartford airports into major regional hubs. We can get our highways flowing again. We will put our people back to work in construction projects that will lay the foundation to revitalize our cities and towns.
Education and Job Training
Our great schools and a highly skilled workforce used to be our calling cards.
The skills needed in the workplace are increasingly specialized in a world of rapid technological change and globalization. Our high schools, our community colleges, our career and technical schools, and universities, are failing to teach our students the skills needed for the 21st century. Too often our students, find themselves without a job and with a lot of debt.
We can bring business and educators together to reform our curriculum, retrain our instructors, and create internship programs to create pathways to good paying jobs.
Our need to improve our schools and job training is not only about meeting the requirements of employers, but also giving everyone in Connecticut the chance to earn their success.
We must provide every child in Connecticut with the opportunity to attend a good public school. We will achieve this goal by setting high standards and holding everyone accountable for meeting them. We will provide all schools the same resources for each child and each family the choice to send their child to the school that is best for them, whether it is a local neighborhood, Magnet, Charter, or Career and Technical school.
When we were a top-10 state for competitiveness twenty years ago, we grew rapidly. As one of the bottom-10 states for competitiveness today, we have suffered a lost decade of no growth.
One of our key competitive advantages had been our low taxes. Taxes are now one of our biggest disadvantages at among the highest in the country. We tax our best customers more, driving them away. We charge a surtax for our largest employers. We are also the only state in the country to charge a tax on gifts and one of the only states to tax estates at a lower level than the Federal Government – not a great strategy if you want your wealthy, elderly taxpayers to stay in our communities.
We will enact broad based tax cuts for working families and businesses by eliminating special deals, and we will repeal the estate and gift taxes.
Regulations have driven up the cost of living and cost of doing business to levels that are uncompetitive. We have crazy rules and restrictions like being the only state in the country to require a license to operate a conveyer belt. Too often, the approach of government seems to be to just say no to business.
We will slash burdensome regulations to lower costs in construction, energy, labor, health care. We will change the mind-set of government to support employers, instead of holding them back.
We can also foster growth by bringing business, educators, and government together to attract and retain jobs in high-growth sectors where we are strong. That’s how we became the insurance capital of the nation. We can pursue a similar strategy today in growing sectors like healthcare, aerospace, financial services, and life science
In Connecticut, we were once the best place in the country to live and work. With bold ideas and strong leadership, we can do it again.