14th District Race: Column by Pam Staneski
By Pam Staneski
Connecticut is a beautiful state with many extraordinary attributes. We are also a state with challenges — a looming budget deficit of over $4 billion dollars and growing unfunded liabilities. Unfortunately, the last several years “fixes” used to address these challenges (negotiated deals with bargaining units, reducing state services, passing two of the largest tax increases, and the Governor’s favorite — mid-year holdbacks) have only contributed to the current mess.
We need a State Senator who will advocate for our towns. I have done just that. As a State Representative, I have promoted policy that would require a super-majority vote on any unfunded mandates on municipalities, fought the Governor’s move to saddle towns with huge teacher pension payments, and supported legislation to end mid-year adjustments to municipal aid — all costs that contribute to increasing property taxes which hit our seniors and working families the hardest. As your State Senator, you can count on me to continue that advocacy.
Every year Connecticut takes in more tax revenue than the prior year, and every year it spends exponentially more. Last session, I worked with my colleagues to change this cycle by placing controls on the state’s checkbook and credit card. We were able to include a spending cap and bonding cap in the budget. These, along with other structural changes, are steps necessary to achieve a financial balance so that we can provide what our municipalities and businesses want — predictable and sustainable budgets.
There are five common sense principles that my Republican colleagues and I have used to build and offer budget alternatives. Last year, one of those budgets had bi-partisan support and passed both Chambers with my friends from the other side saying, “it was time for the state to change the way business is done” (unfortunately the Governor vetoed that budget).
Spend within our means — abide by the spending cap and reduce spending to match what is reasonably anticipated in revenue without adding new taxes.
Borrow only what you can afford to pay back — stand by the newly enacted bonding cap and restrict borrowing to public works projects, school construction, and roads and rails. Stop the silly spending — $12,000 clocks, renaming of stadiums, and a $10 million toll study.
If it’s not broken, don’t fix it; but if it’s not working, get rid of it — implement a results first policy with all state programs in which they are evaluated every two years and those that do not achieve stated results are eliminated and look to nonprofit providers to fill gaps.
The more government tries to do, the less it does well — we need to focus on public safety, education, public health, and transportation and look for other means to provide non-core functions.
We should have all the government we need, but only the government we need — consolidate services to eliminate duplication.
I am Pam Staneski and I would be honored to earn your trust and vote on November 6th as your next State Senator.