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Debate for the 9th

Detailed responses to questions.  

 

Last evening the Connecticut River Valley Chamber of Commerce and AT&T held a debate for the candidates in the House districts 9 and 11 and Senate District 3.  I was joined by my opponent, Representative Jason Rojas and Rep. Jeff Currey (11) and Senator Saud Anwar (3). My colleague Matt Harper (11) could not attend.

 

As always there was not enough time to present all my points or go into rebuttal, so I will follow up here because I believe it is important to do so.  I want to thank all those who tuned in and gave their support.


Question 1: CT does not have a good reputation for supporting small business. What are some ways that the State could become a more business friendly environment?

 

  1. First, residents need to elect local, state and federal candidates to office who are fiscal conservatives.  In 2017 when the legislature was evenly divided, the Senate hammered out a compromise that finally put the 25-year-old  Balanced Budget Amendment into effect and why we have a Rainy Day fund balance today.  One party rule is not in the best interest of Connecticut.  The CTGOP produced this chart.

  2. The Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) in their 2020 Policy Priorities list nine priority areas for economic development (state spending and taxes education and workforce, labor and employment, healthcare, environment, energy and technology, transportation, manufacturing, and bioscience) but I will focus on three.  

 

  1. THE CGA’s prime focus should have been and should be on creating a stable fiscal climate by implementing a plan of fiscal constraints. Only then will our state be able to attract and foster private sector investments and growth. Some of those fiscal constraints are as follows:

 

  • “Continue the spending reforms adopted by the bipartisan legislature in 2017 that allowed the state to build reserves.” those reforms that were put in placed in 2017-2018 budget document  and are in effect until 2023 are

    • Spending Cap

    • Volatility Cap 

    • Appropriations Cap 

    • Bonding Cap - need it until prioritized 

  • “Begin to adopt cost-saving collective bargaining reforms such as eliminating overtime and mileage in state employees pension calculations.”  

  • “With an influx of state employee retirements, begin to plan for reduction and reform of state services to seek out efficiencies.” Governor Lamont recently announced that the Boston Consulting Group has been contracted by the State to do just that, but it would have been helpful if the citizens of this state and our legislature knew about the contract and there is no company in the State who could have done the work effectively?

 

    1. We must reform and retool education. 

 

  • No Child Left Behind (NCLB - Bush) and Race to the Top (Obama)  have turned our nation’s schools into test factories driven by “data.”  We can have a week long discussion on education, but fundamentally high school education needs a drastic change. 

  • When a student enters high school he or she, based upon skills, abilities, and interest, should choose a track - college, vocational/apprentice, entrepreneurship and innovation. 

  • With the exception of the college track, the rest should be driven by the needs of employers in the state.  No one should leave high school without the ability to earn a living.  We should not have to send or pay for students to go to community college to learn a trade.  

  • We can reform our high schools, which are already supported by billions of tax dollars.  According to the Census Bureau and the Yankee Institute, Connecticut spends a total of $10.5 billion on education, with $10.1 billion going toward salaries and benefits for instructional staff and support services. The Yankee Institute also states that “Connecticut local governments accounted $13,427 per student in revenue – also the third-highest in the nation – while $8,743 came from state resources and $966 from the federal government.”

  • Student-instruction needs to be differentiated to meet students needs based upon their intellectual abilities and their needs and interests. 

  • For the amount of money we taxpayers spend on education, we should have a better outcome and full employment for all of our young adults.  

    1. Utilities

      1. Connecticut still has the highest utility costs in the nation.  This has been an issue since the energy crisis of the 1970’s.  

      2. I am not sure that the Take Back Our Grid legislation serisouly addresses these concerns especially since the salary of Eversource’s CEO is still over $19 million.  

      3. I need to be convinced that we need PURA at close to $200 million and that the Energy and Technology Committee could not handle negotiations with the energy companies. 











Paid for by Elect Hopperstad 2020, Linda J. Shapiro, Treasurer.  Approved by Cathy Hopperstad.
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