Connecticut needs a leader; not a carnival barker

As a Republican, I strongly believe we need to restore fiscal stability to our state with real, honest leadership. I also believe that we need to cut taxes to make Connecticut more affordable. I have a detailed plan to cut taxes for seniors, the middle class and businesses by eliminating $3.5 billion in government spending. Some of my opponents, however, have taken a different path — and they are hoping to fool you with a charade.

Mark Boughton and Bob Stefanowski are offering a carnival barker’s pie-in-the-sky promise to eliminate the state income tax. Like a true carnival barker, the “I’ll eliminate the income tax” game is rigged for you to lose. Why? Because the income tax accounts for nearly 50 percent of revenues or more than $10 billion, and it is not possible to eliminate the income tax without massive increases in other taxes as well as massive cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, education spending, infrastructure improvements and tremendous increases in your local property taxes.

Let’s end the fiscal charades and restore fiscal stability.

Connecticut needs a governor who is going to be a leader and be honest with you. We don’t need another Dan Malloy politician who will promise you one thing and deliver the opposite. Remember the two-time “I will not increase taxes” pledge?

You deserve a candidate with a real, actionable and thoughtful plan. That is what I am about. Before we can consider large-scale tax reductions, Connecticut must get its spending addiction under control. My plan eliminates $3.5 billion in state spending – enough to close the deficit and provide for targeted tax cuts. We can save $2 billion from ideas in 16 budgets laid out by legislative Republicans, including digital government initiatives and consolidating state departments. We can save another $1 billion by aligning state worker retirement benefits to other states while making these plans more fiscally secure for retirees. Finally, we can save $500 million in Medicaid by managing it like the other 49 states do already. To accomplish this, it will take discipline like I learned at the U.S. Naval Academy and budget management I applied running successful businesses.

My plan, from day one, will enable immediate and realistic tax cuts to “hug the customers” of Connecticut so that you don’t have to move out. My plan calls for immediately eliminating the estate tax, income tax on pensions and social security income, reducing the income tax from 5.5 percent to 4 percent for everyone making $100,000 or less and phasing out the corporate tax. Seniors, workers and businesses can actually stay in Connecticut.

Connecticut has a fiscal crisis, but our bigger challenge is a leadership crisis. Connecticut’s leaders have not been honest. They have been more concerned with political positioning than with telling you the truth, and have engaged in the deceptive practice of trying to pick winners. Connecticut needs a governor who is prepared to lead, not with political rhetoric, but with honesty, action and grit.

I am not going to stand before the people of Connecticut and promise to do that which is unattainable and, more importantly, harmful to our state. I will not insult the people of Connecticut by making a promise to eliminate the income tax, a revenue source that accounts for half of our spending addiction, when I know it is an empty promise made simply to get your vote. 

Like you, I too want to pay less taxes. But as governor, I know that unless and until we can reduce our spending, make government smaller and more efficient and reduce politician goody baskets, we won’t be able to get the tax problem under control. However, with the right leadership and plan and working together we can accomplish our goal of making government smaller.

In short, Connecticut’s problems are great. We need leaders with the experience and real plans, not carnival barkers, to take the helm and bring this state back into protected waters. I know that together, we can reinvent Connecticut.

I ask for your vote on Aug. 14 in the Republican Primary.

Steve Obsitnik is a Republican candidate for governor. He is a husband, father of two, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a Navy veteran and a businessman. Steve can be reached at steve@steveobsitnik.com.

 

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