FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- The Fairfield Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To The Editor:
While most of the country sees glimpses of economic progress, Connecticut continues to lag behind. In fact, Connecticut was the only state whose economy shrank in 2013, posting another year ranked at the bottom in job growth, at the top in debt per capita, and among the worst in credit outlook. Over the last four years, our labor force has actually shrunk by over 60,000 workers, and more than 20,000 people have fled the state.
But what do all of these numbers mean to the average citizen, what’s the cause, and what can we do about it?
Simply put, our state’s continuing economic decline means fewer jobs and opportunities for our children and grandchildren. Look beyond the numbers and political rhetoric -- have things really gotten better in the last five or six years? Have the folks who lost jobs, or taken lesser jobs, been able to get back on their feet? The honest answer is, unfortunately, not really.
The cause of our prolonged economic crises has, in large part, been caused by the ineffective cure chosen by our federal and state government officials to address the recession at the outset.
Specifically, both U.S. Rep. Jim Himes and our Gov. Dannel Malloy have championed a big government, big tax and big spend approach that continues to centralize money and authority in government, fueled through a destructive taxation cycle that cannibalizes the private sector to pay for the government’s growth. Their approach is bleeding our state dry, harming Connecticut employers, and robbing our friends and neighbors of jobs and opportunities.
First, at the state level, Connecticut’s struggling employers are paying skyrocketing taxes and fees to feed our gluttonous state government, rather than using those funds to grow their businesses, make investments and hire workers. In the end, many businesses have simply shrunk, closed or moved. This is why Connecticut’s real unemployment rate is near 10 percent.
Next, the federal government uses Connecticut like a cash machine by siphoning taxes out of Connecticut (and particularly Fairfield County) to pay for other states’ local needs, leaving us to beg for scraps back to pay for Connecticut’s needs.
Indeed, over the last few decades our state government has, like too many other states, let itself become dependent on “federal” (a.k.a. return of our own) funds to pay for core state functions – i.e. hiring cops and teachers, funding intrastate transportation projects, and aid to hospitals. Sadly, Connecticut is ranked 49 of 50 in dollars back from the federal government, getting back between 60 and 70 cents on our tax dollar. We in Connecticut are thus hit with a 30 percent to 40 percent discount on our own money to pay for things we could be funding with direct and local tax dollars. Even worse, our federal government actually borrows nearly 40 cents of each dollar it spends, thereby saddling our children with a debt burden while simultaneously bleeding us dry.
Thus, instead of hiring two teachers or cops with state funds, we can only hire one using federal funds, and the funding stream is erratic, creates dependency and plunges our children further into debt.
Lastly, this destructive loop closes back in Hartford when, after the federal government over-taxes us to fund other states’ needs, our wasteful state government raises our state taxes yet again to fuel the growth of state government and to make up the shortfall caused by the federal government’s money grab. This is why our state taxes keep going up, our economy stays in the doldrums, and we come up short funding public education, local transportation needs, law enforcement and hospitals.
The fix is as simple as it obvious -- our elected officials need to put Connecticut first.
We need to keep more of our own tax dollars here in Connecticut to fund our local needs – not beg for pennies back on our own dollars from the feds. By keeping our public spending local and low, we will keep more money in the private sector where it can be spent, earned and reinvested to create private sector jobs and genuine prosperity – i.e., to promote paychecks, not government checks.
As a current state representative from Fairfield County, I have fought against this destructive federal/state cycle for years, and watched in frustration as Himes’ (and others’) big government approach robs our children and grandchildren of their future. I am running for U.S. Congress to break this cycle at the federal level. If we keep our funds and authority here in Connecticut, we can return the promise of prosperity and success to our great state.
- John Shaban for Congress
Shaban is seeking the Republican nomination to run against U.S. Rep. Jim Himes to represent the 4th District in Congress.