On Wednesday, January 9, 2019 former cable executive, 2006 Democratic nominee for US Senate, and 2010 Democratic Candidate for Governor, Ned Lamont was sworn into a four-year term as Connecticut’s 89th Governor.
Lamont defeated Republican Bob Stefanowski in the November General Election by just 3.2 percent of the vote. Stefanowski ran on a platform of cutting taxes and creating opportunities for jobs to come back to the state’s once booming economy.
During Governor Dan Malloy’s tenure (2011-2019), major companies, including General Electric and Aetna insurance, moved out of the state due to the high cost of doing business. The loss of these major employers was a central talking point for both Lamont and Stefanowski during the general election campaign.
Malloy authorized a $1.8 billion increase in his first year in office, 2011. Four years later he signed the second largest tax increase in state history, an increase that was worth between $650 billion and $900 billion.
Connecticut has become one of the worst states to do business in. According to Forbes Best State for Business rankings in 2018, Connecticut ranks 40th out of the 50 states. In addition to that, Connecticut also stands at number 40 out of 50 in terms of the most competitive states, according to the Beacon Hill Institute.
Now that Lamont holds power, without major Republican opposition in the State House or State Senate, what is he going to do about lowering property taxes for families and taxes on businesses to make Connecticut business-friendly again?
In his State of the State address, Lamont addressed the fact that Connecticut is not what it used to be. “But over the last generation, Connecticut’s entrepreneurial zip has slipped. We are no longer a place that is viewed as hospitable or encouraging to new business.”
Lamont urged members of the Connecticut General Assembly to make an effort to return Connecticut to what it used to be. “Connecticut, it’s time to return to our inventive and entrepreneurial roots. Our future life’s in doubling down on what makes us great and reimagining our unique potential.”
With a message full of pep and bravado, one would think that there is nothing missing from it. Yet, there is one major element missing from Lamont’s plan for the next four years; substance.
There is no mention in the speech of how his administration is going to attempt to correct the ongoing fiscal crisis. In addition, Lamont did not discuss how he is going to provide relief to the taxpayers of Connecticut.
If the newly christened Governor wants to solve Connecticut’s fiscal crisis, he must present a budget that focuses on getting people back to work and return to the state, reduces the size of government, adopts zero-based budgeting, and cuts costs across the board.