Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tim Herbst: Democrats in Hartford are Addicted to a Tax-Hiking Agenda

Norwich Bulletin
By: Tim Herbst
Sept. 3, 2017


So impervious to the damage caused by their agenda have Democratic insiders in Hartford become that they did not even attempt restraint after voting to protect excessive and lavish perks for themselves and big labor special interests.

After passing the bogus SEBAC deal, legislators under the Gold Dome promptly proposed yet another crushing tax hike aimed right at struggling Connecticut families. Unable and unwilling to trim the bloated bureaucracy in Hartford or reform the extravagant benefits afforded to insiders and big labor, Democratic leaders want to implement a $1 billion tax increase by hiking the sales tax to 6.85 percent.

An increase to the state sales tax would hit the most vulnerable in Connecticut the hardest: the poor, retirees and anyone living on a fixed income. These are the taxpayers who’ve already been hit the hardest by the failed leadership and misguided priorities in Hartford.
Just during the seven years our state has suffered under the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, insiders in Hartford have brought our state to its knees with the two largest tax hikes in state history.

These Democrats in Hartford are addicted to a job-crushing, tax-hiking agenda that keeps the status quo intact for insiders, big labor special interests and the bloated bureaucracy while throttling opportunity for struggling Connecticut families, businesses and retirees.
This tax hike proposal puts in perspective just how misguided the priorities of these insiders have become: While lawmakers demand struggling Connecticut families pay even more, current and former elected officials still receive free health care courtesy of the taxpayers, legislators in Hartford can still count their mileage reimbursements toward their pension calculations and a Democratic judge who can serve less than three years on the bench will still get a full, gold-plated retirement courtesy of Connecticut families.

Equally as alarming as the attitude of state lawmakers is the silence of Democrats angling to be the state’s next governor on the tax hike proposal.

Middletown’s radical mayor, no doubt spending too much time cajoling with left-wing Wesleyan professors, has made supporting future tax hikes part of his campaign’s message — and has not said anything opposing the sales tax hike.

Comptroller Kevin Lembo has sat on information regarding the cost and excessive nature of the perks given to insiders and big labor for the duration of his tenure in office, all but endorsing every single Democratic-passed tax hike. Lembo has played accountant for Malloy and his insider allies for seven years.*

The rest of the large field of Democrats have been likewise silent. Their silence sends a clear: If a Democrat wins in 2018, they will continue the job-crushing, tax-hiking agenda of Malloy and his insider allies.

This proposal, to hike one of the most regressive taxes the state levies, shows what is at stake in 2018. We simply must elect a proven reformer and Hartford outsider who will break this tax-hiking cycle and unite the state around a new platform of reform — a program of policies to support businesses, grow jobs and wages, rebuild our state, restore opportunity and provide relief for struggling taxpayers.

Outside of Hartford, there are turnaround stories that show what can be done when voters empower a reformer who comes from outside the entrenched system.

In Trumbull, we made the tough calls that have led to a remarkable turnaround. When I took office, Trumbull was a town on the brink of financial ruin. It is now one of the most prosperous and in-demand municipalities in the state.

We solved a broken pension system, increased our credit rating, increased our grand list and fund balance and have built a school system that is among the most successful in the entire nation.

Connecticut taxpayers don’t have to accept the status quo that means suffering through repeated tax hikes or fleeing for another state. We can turn things around by being candid about the challenges we face, standing up to the insider mentality in Hartford and getting serious about reform.

Tim Herbst is the First Selectman of the Town of Trumbull and a Republican candidate for governor in 2018.

*Note: This op-ed was submitted before news broke of Comptroller Kevin Lembo's decision not to run for governor in 2018.

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