Prosperity: Budget, Taxes and Job Creation
It’s time to rein in big government in Hartford. A smaller government will put us on the path of prosperity. Common sense conservative reforms will provide Connecticut with a long-term plan for prosperity. Peter’s Plan for lower taxes, a predictable, competitive economic growth climate, and a vibrant job market will encourage people and businesses to stay in Connecticut.
Enforce the state spending cap. In 1991, the voters of Connecticut voted overwhelmingly to enact a state spending cap to limit the cost of state government. Democrat politicians in Hartford ignored the will of the voters and failed to implement the cap. Peter will fight to implement the state spending cap and will fight against spending that exceeds the cap. Peter will fight against the reckless spenders in Hartford.
Tackle Connecticut’s unfunded liabilities. Connecticut has over $60 Billion in debt and unfunded obligations. Democrat politicians and the special-interest groups they represent, namely public labor unions, advocate for increased taxes. Taxes kill jobs. Peter will pursue structural reforms rather than “kick the can” down the road. Peter’s Plan calls for increasing current state employee contributions to their pensions and benefit packages. For future state employees, Peter supports moving the current defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan.
Cut taxes to encourage growth and development. Connecticut is struggling with a continual billion(s) dollar budget deficit. The way out is with economic growth and development. Peter’s Plan allows businesses and the people of Connecticut to keep and invest more of their own money, thus encouraging growth and investment. Peter’s Plan cuts the corporate tax rate from 9% to 7.5%. Peter’s Plan cuts the state sales tax from 6.35% to 6.10%, gradually eliminates the Connecticut state income tax, and eliminates the tax for households making $100,000 or less annually. Peter’s Plan eliminates the business entity tax, the estate and gift tax, the tax on social security income, and the nearly 200 taxes and fees that cost more to collect than they generate in revenue. Taxes kill jobs.
Cut the cost of government, increase efficiency. Connecticut state government is large and intrusive. Government should be limited to providing core services only. Peter will study all options to cut the size, scope and cost of government. Peter’s Plan cuts 14% of state agency and department budgets and supports privatization of many state services such as the DMV and many social services. We must enact realistic priority-based budgeting.
Invest in infrastructure. Roads and rails expand economic development. For decades, Democrats have raided the Special Transportation Fund and allocated the monies to special interest projects. Peter will fight to end this practice. He will fight to make sure that transportation money is spent on transportation projects by instituting a real “lockbox” that cannot be raided.
Establish a debt limit. Borrowing has increased significantly over the past few decades and debt service payments are now one of the fastest growing costs in state government. Peter would fight for a responsible state bonding cap that would limit the amount of money the legislature could bond for appropriated projects.
Establish an Overtime Accountability Office. Overtime abuses by state agencies cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year. Connecticut has a serious overtime mismanagement issue. With reckless abandon, managers approve overtime for state employees. Overtime pay should not be included in salary computation for retirement benefits, as it creates the incentive to give and accumulate excessive overtime payments. Peter’s Plan overhauls the system for tracking overtime, identifying and analyzing overtime trends, oversees appropriating dollars for overtime, and holds managers responsible for monitoring overtime and meeting reduction targets.
Reform Collective Bargaining for State and Municipal governments. Labor costs are the highest costs for state and local governments. Collective bargaining creates work place rules that unnecessarily cost taxpayers large amounts of money. For example, Connecticut is one of only two states to provide Lincoln’s birthday as a paid state holiday in addition to Presidents’ Day. This extra holiday costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year. Collective bargaining and binding arbitration laws heavily favor public employee unions. While Hartford teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, binding arbitration mandated the city give unions a 6.25% pay increase, retroactive to 2013, costing the city $1.1 million. Hartford is now asking the state for money to cover its deficit. The state and municipalities need a level playing field to have a fair chance in negotiations. Peter will fight to reform these laws and will fight to reform or repeal binding arbitration. The state and municipalities cannot balance their budgets because of the current unfair collective bargaining laws. Unions are stalling economic growth. The main driver of our budget deficit is the unsustainable cost of public union healthcare and pensions. Connecticut is one of only five states to collectively bargain state employee healthcare and pensions. Most legislatures set the amount of the benefits. Collective bargaining for state and local employees is not required by federal law and can be changed at the state level. Peter will fight to reform collective bargaining to reduce the core cost of government to a reasonable level which taxpayers can afford.
Become a Right-to-Work state. Unions have become another branch of Connecticut government. Union leaders are virtual dictators with undue influence over elected officials. Peter will fight for Right-to-Work legislation prohibiting the coercion of employees to join a union. Employees will not be compelled to pay union dues or be forced to make political contributions. Unions stall economic growth and hurt workers.
The future of Connecticut is only as good as the future we provide for our children. We must give them the tools needed to succeed.
Embrace Educational Choice and Opportunity. We’ve thrown billions of dollars at Connecticut school districts, but poorly performing schools have not improved. Throwing more money at them is not the answer. Peter’s “Money Follows the Child” plan empowers students and families to take charge of their education through choice and opportunity. A strong voucher program allots education money based on town residency and follows the child to a school or institution of their choice – public (within district), private, magnet, charter or parochial. Strong voucher programs create competition and drive performance among students, teachers and schools.
Invest in Skills. There are many valuable forms of post-high school education. To be competitive, we must diversify our economy by educating skilled tradesmen, manufacturers, and craftsmen for these high-paying careers. Long-term jobs are here in Connecticut, but those jobs remain unfilled because we do not have a skilled workforce. We must invest in technical education at the state and local level, utilizing public and private partnerships.
Government Transparency and Accountability
Democrats and status quo Hartford insiders are failing the people of Connecticut. For decades, the Democrat-controlled legislature has been reckless with taxpayer dollars. Special interests and corruption are rampant. Peter is a true outsider who offers a new and practical approach to governing.
Lead by example. There are countless examples of wasteful government spending in the budgets proposed by the Governor and/or enacted by the legislature. Peter believes that in order to hold all aspects of government responsible for their proposed budgets, accountability should start with our elected officials. Peter’s plan calls for a 10% budget reduction to the operating budget of the state legislature, elimination of legislative franking privileges, elimination of pensions for statewide constitutional office holders, and the immediate sale of the Governor’s Mansion in Hartford.
Reform the Office of the Auditors of Public Accounts. Connecticut is the only state with two full-time Public Auditors, both of whom are partisan appointees. This is a wasteful and unnecessary expense. Peter’s Plan eliminates one full-time public auditor position and makes the office nonpartisan.
Propose term limits. Holding elective office is about public service and should not be a career move. Peter will fight for legislation calling for a two-term limit for all state constitutional offices.
Eliminate the Citizens’ Election Program. Taxpayers of Connecticut should not be funding the political campaigns of individuals seeking office. Professional politicians created a system in which candidates cannot be competitive in elections unless they are self-funding millionaires or participants in the Citizens Election Program. Peter proposes eliminating CEP and creating a new system to reexamine donation and expenditure limits. We can create an election environment that remains competitive and removes the financial burden from hardworking taxpayers.
Show the state budget to municipalities by early May. To budget effectively, municipalities need predictability to set their operating budget, education budget, and mill rate. Hartford has made this extremely difficult because of uncertainty over the state budgeting process. Peter will fight to provide the state budget to municipalities by early May.
Public Safety, Security and Immigration
A core function of state government is to protect the citizens of Connecticut. The Democrat-controlled legislature is responsible for the substantial decrease in the number of uniformed police officers and the corresponding substantial increase in violent criminal activity. Peter proposes reversing Malloy’s and the Democrats’ liberal and dangerous policies that put Connecticut communities at risk. We must stand in solidarity with our police officers and first responders.
Institute a Three Strikes law. Peter believes we have a responsibility to keep all residents and state visitors safe and free of harm. We must remove repeat and violent offenders from our streets. Peter supports a three-strikes law that increases prison sentences of convicted felons who have been previously convicted of two or more violent crimes or serious felonies. A three-strikes law significantly limits the ability of these offenders to receive a punishment other than a life sentence.
Repeal the early release program. Since 2011, Malloy’s and the Democrats’ early release program has freed nearly 21,000 convicted offenders from our state prisons, returning them to our cities and towns. Many of them were repeat and violent offenders. Peter believes criminals belong in prison, not in our neighborhoods.
Enforce federal immigration law. As someone who specializes in immigration matters and is familiar with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) responsibilities, Peter believes immigration laws should be enforced and Connecticut should work with the Federal government and not against it. Peter will fight to repeal the 2014 sanctuary law and to decrease non-essential state funding to municipalities and public institutions that identify as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. Peter will fight to repeal in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants and would rescind driver’s licenses granted to undocumented immigrants.
Aggressively fight the opioid crisis facing Connecticut. The opioid addiction crisis is affecting all Connecticut communities, touching people from all walks of life. We must end this crisis. Peter believes we must provide educational resources to our youth to inform them about the dangers and risks of opioid addiction. For those suffering from addiction, Peter believes we must provide essential lifesaving resources to individuals and families to combat addiction and foster an environment for sustained rehabilitation. Peter’s Plan will provide essential tools to state and local law enforcement to stop the drug dealers who are fueling this crisis.
Protecting Freedom and Liberty
The duty of government is to protect the freedoms, rights, and liberties proclaimed in our founding documents. Peter is a strong constitutionalist who will vigilantly advocate to protect the freedoms, rights, and liberties of the residents of Connecticut.
Protect the Second Amendment. As a gun owner, Peter understands the importance of protecting the Second Amendment and fostering the traditions and heritage of responsible gun ownership. Peter will advocate against future efforts to restrict the rights of law abiding citizens and will push for repeal of past legislation that infringed upon those rights.
Protect property rights. The power of eminent domain has been abused by municipalities and the state. Peter will fight for additional protections for property owners in Connecticut.
Protect parental rights. The role of raising children should be left to parents and guardians in safe households. The government should have no role in raising our children.
Protect the integrity of Connecticut elections. To protect against voter fraud, Peter will seek legislation to institute a Voter ID for every qualified elector in the State of Connecticut.