Dave’s Commitments to Connecticut
Connecticut is in serious trouble but it is not too late to create a better future in the Constitution State. We need a proven problem solver as our next Governor who can lead an effort to put our finances in order and dramatically restructure existing state government organizations, policies and practices. We can do so by electing Dave Walker as Governor and a supportive Connecticut Turnaround Team that will focus on the following three key themes and take the below action steps.
ASSURE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY. Connecticut is broke and faces large and growing structural deficits that must be addressed. We need to do the following to put our state’s finances in order:
- Reprioritize state spending and honor the state’s balanced budget requirement.
- Revise the state Constitutional spending cap to focus on net state spending, including all retirement program costs.
- Override the SEBAC agreement and limit the scope of collective bargaining to exclude retirement benefits and set them by statute.
- Restructure state pension programs without reducing current pension checks or accrued benefits to assure their competitiveness, eliminate abuses, significantly reduce costs, and enhance their security post restructuring, while recognizing the difference between state worker and teacher plans.
- Dramatically restructure the state retiree health care plan to significantly reduce costs by converting from a defined level of coverage to a premium support approach for eligible retirees.
- Revise Medicaid and other welfare eligibility rules and adopt work/education/service efforts related requirements while maintaining a viable social safety net for those truly in need.
- Right size state government, including reducing the number of entities, layers, and footprints in state government, and pursue High Performing Organization (HPO) approaches.
- Pursue shared services, Public/Private Partnerships and privatization options to improve economy, efficiency and effectiveness, including privatizing the DMV and eliminating dual delivery of state welfare services.
- Revise state employee classification, cash compensation and other state human resource rules to focus on skills, knowledge and performance rather than length of service and the rate of inflation
- Adopt zero-based and performance oriented budgeting practices and appropriate accountability mechanisms if the budget is not passed on-time.
- Stop raiding earmarked “trust funds” and rebuild the “rainy day fund”.
- Inventory and dispose of excess state property.
- Reduce the scope of collective bargaining and limit the term of bargaining agreements.
- Revise prevailing wage and arbitration rules and require consideration of competitiveness and fiscal sustainability in connection with the arbitration process.
INCREASE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND INDIVIDUAL OPPORTUNITY (JOBS). Connecticut is in recession while the country is growing. We must turn the tide and create a better future by doing the following:
- Implement an ongoing interaction between the government, business, education and non-profit leaders to increase economic growth/job opportunities and improve our competitive posture. We must partner for progress to create a better future.
- Provide significant regulatory and mandates relief while ensuring adequate consumer, safety and environmental protections.
- Achieve comprehensive, pro-growth and equitable tax reform (e.g., eliminate all taxes and fees that do not generate a significant ROI, eliminate the “temporary” 20% corporate surtax and the unitary corporate tax system, eliminate the estate and gift tax, raise the level of income not subject to tax, allow for reasonable charitable contribution deductions, adopt property tax caps for seniors, provide a 5% withholding on CT state pension payments, and provide broader tax reform and reduction over time).
- Improve the equity and effectiveness of the state’s education system (e.g., maintain local control and focus on outcomes versus activities, revise state funding formula to improve equity and opportunity by focusing on children in poverty and with special needs, eliminate minimum budget requirement for declining school populations, revise state school construction funding policy, encourage school choice opportunities while assuring accountability for superior results, enhance coordination of business needs and education offerings, enhance trades training activities, promote consolidation and shared services, increase financial literacy and civic responsibility education)
- Make meaningful investments in infrastructure to decrease congestion and improve mobility (e.g., surface and water), and pursue alternative funding approaches, including electronic tolling where the burden is imposed on out-of-state state vehicles, while also ensuring the integrity of related “trust funds”.
- Study current energy practices to help achieve a better balance between affordability and environmental protection.
- Revise and better target state economic development activities with an emphasis on revitalizing troubled cities and promoting initiatives where Connecticut has a comparative advantage (e.g., health/bio, technology/artificial intelligence, financial services, environmental, distribution, specialized manufacturing)
- Reform the state’s workers compensation and unemployment programs
- Adopt Municipal Accountability Boards to restructure the finances and improve the competitive posture of troubled cities outside of bankruptcy (e.g., cities and towns with mill rates over 40 and large unfunded retirement obligations)
ENHANCE PUBLIC INTEGRITY, ACCOUNTABILITY AND CITIZEN RIGHTS. There is too much corruption and are too many conflicts of interest in Connecticut. We need to eliminate this by doing the following:
- Adopt limits for Governor and legislators in order to prevent “career politicians” and honor the intent of our nation’s founders.
- Adopt much tougher conflict of interest rules to ensure that the “duty of loyalty” is to citizens versus special interests.
- Prevent convicted felons for public corruption from running for public office in the future.
- Provide the right to recall selected executive officials in certain circumstances, as well as initiative and referendum rights to citizens.
- Revise the voluntary state election grant program to dramatically narrow its scope and achieve significant cost reductions.
- Revise the current primary and Lt. Governor election rules.