Letter to the Editor- Officers of the College Republicans
It is often said that the current election is most important in our history. In fact, one can find statements from nearly every politician in every election that the election happening right now is more important than any before it. This is obviously hyperbole, but nobody should be fooled that the midterm election before us is inconsequential.
However, not for the reasons you might think. If you have the misfortune of following politics at all, you’re probably familiar with how the conversation is being driven almost exclusively around President Trump.
The midterm elections are thus seen as a referendum on the President. This is undoubtedly true in some areas, but in Connecticut it isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be.
If you’re voting from your location at Quinnipiac, there are only two races of national importance on the ballot: Incumbent Democratic Senator Chris Murphy is facing a challenge from Matthew Corey, and the Democratic representative for Connecticut’s third congressional district, Democrat Rosa DeLauro is being challenged by Republican Angel Cadena.
Both races are rated as “safe Democrat” by poll tracker Real Clear Politics, and “solid Democrat” by poll tracker FiveThirtyEight, both of which are the strongest category possible.
In other words, the national races are not competitive, and at this stage are unlikely to become so. Democrats sweeping the national offices is something of a foregone conclusion then, though for whatever it may be worth, we offer both Mr. Corey and Mr. Cadena our full endorsements as sane, moderate candidates who would serve the state well if elected.
So are we to just say our vote doesn’t matter and stay home?
As former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil put it, all politics is local. While Connecticut is very blue at the federal level, at the state level it is not. In the State House of Representatives, Democrats hold a thin 80-71 majority. In the State Senate, it is tied 18-18, though Democrats effectively still have the majority because ties are broken by the Lieutenant Governor, a Democrat.
Why do Republicans have such a significant influence in a state Hillary Clinton carried by well over 10 points?
The answer is that the Democratic policies of high taxes and high spending practiced by Governor Dannel Malloy and enabled by other state level Democrats have led the state to economic ruin.
Connecticut has the second highest tax burden in the entire country, according to a study by the Tax Foundation. Connecticut is one of the only states to be shrinking in population, in no small part to the tax burden. In 2016 alone, the state lost $2.6 billion to out migration, according to a study from the Cato Institute.
And despite those taxes, we still cannot balance the budget. The state debt stands at over $53 billion at the time of this writing, which is nearly 20 percent of Connecticut’s yearly GDP, according to UsDebtClock.org.
Pension liabilities in particular are a growing problem. They have grown from $11.8 billion in 2010 to $20.4 billion in 2016 according to the Yankee Institute. A structural change to the pension system needs to be looked at; a change Malloy and state Democrats not only refuse to consider, but actively fight against.
Last year, Malloy signed a new contract with state unions pledging to keep the current system in place until 2027. This is simply not a feasible path forward. In order to pay for this, Connecticut residents would be crushed with even higher taxes for over a decade, if state Democrats were to get their way.
This would likely cause more people to leave the state as the cost of living went up, causing further tax hikes to compensate for the lost revenue, causing further migration, etc.
Connecticut voters aren’t ignoring this. Several polls, including one of our own at the Quinnipiac Polling Institute have found that Governor Malloy is less popular in Connecticut than even Donald Trump, according to the Hartford Courant.
The Republican candidate for governor, Bob Stefanowski, has proposed a better path. In order to stop the flow of people out of the state, Mr. Stefanowski has pledged to lower taxes, not increase them.
While not much can be done about contracts that have already been signed, Bob Stefanowski’s plan makes cuts where it can. Privatizing the DMV and providing additional protections for whistleblowers against abuse can trim around the edges to get spending down. Stefanowski has also pledged to take another look at the union contracts, a needed step if we are to get the debt under control.
Also on Stefanowski’s agenda is making sure the state government is more accountable who it ought to be: the voters. Allowing the recall of representatives who are not living up to their promises and imposing term limits both go a long way towards that end, and Mr. Stefanowski’s campaign has committed to both.
The Democrat running to replace Malloy, Ned Lamont, has rhetorically tried to distance himself from the unpopular governor, going so far as to lament the “fiscal crisis” and “endless tax hikes” on the middle class.
Lamont wants to expand Medicaid, something the state simply cannot afford. He supports a radical hike of the minimum wage to $15 an hour. A study from the University of Washington showed that in Seattle, where a $15 minimum wage has been implemented, the policy has hurt exactly the people who it was designed to help. It has caused layoffs, reduced new hiring and reducing available hours for the workers who kept their jobs. It was found that the average low wage worker in the city lost $125 per month due to the high minimum wage.
To his credit, Mr. Lamont does outline a plan to cut taxes on small businesses and the middle class. Taxes are indeed too high on those groups, and him and Mr. Stefanowski are in agreement that they should be lowered. However, the reason that Connecticut lost corporations that provided jobs to thousands of Connecticut residents, from General Electric to Aetna, is not because of those taxes. If you want to bring job creators and investment back into the state, you must bring taxes down across the board, for everyone.
So, on Nov. 6, remember that your vote matters. Will Connecticut be a state that’s affordable to live in when you leave this school and hopefully get a job?
The solutions Bob Stefanowski and Republicans running across the state will improve your life in marked ways, and those proposed by Ned Lamont and Democrats will only exacerbate the problems Mr. Malloy has caused. We intend to vote for Republicans, and we hope you choose to do the same.