For Immediate Release: 3/1/18
Contact: Marc E. Fitch
Statement by Yankee Institute President Carol Platt Liebau Regarding The Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth’s Final Report:
“Yankee Institute commends the effort expended by the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth to examine the issues plaguing Connecticut and recommend policies to help our state prosper again. The Commission’s analysis and description of the problems confronting Connecticut was clear, accurate, and alarming.
The panel’s recommendations for revenue-neutral tax reforms are a welcome change to the constant call for higher taxes from Connecticut’s government union leaders and some members of the legislature. The commission’s call for labor and pension reforms recognizes the harmful effect of Connecticut’s unbalanced relationship with its government unions, and the rapidly-growing cost of maintaining the status quo.
As Co-Chairmen Bob Patricelli and Jim Smith both noted, Connecticut faces massive pension liabilities and rapid growth of its fixed costs, while revenue has been stagnant. Yankee Institute is convinced that these problems can be solved through pro-growth tax policies, right-sizing the state’s relationship with its public sector unions, and reforming binding arbitration mandates for municipalities — policy positions largely supported by the Commission’s findings and recommendations.
However, we fear certain policies recommended by the panel would further burden hardworking lower- and middle-income Connecticut residents and small business owners — who are still reeling under the weight of two historic tax increases in the past seven years. Tolls on Connecticut’s highways will impose onerous costs on working families, and a $15 minimum wage has repeatedly been shown both to reduce employment opportunities for those who need them most and to drive up the cost of the necessities of life. All Connecticut’s people have the right to ask why they should sacrifice more of their hard-earned money before our state’s leaders have demonstrated the ability and willingness to implement reforms that prove they have learned from the mistakes of the past.
We know that Commission members have worked in good faith under enormous political and public pressure to craft a policy package that, in the end, would be acceptable to both parties and put Connecticut back on the path to prosperity. And as much as we all desire a more prosperous Connecticut, we should likewise ensure that our public policies do not further burden lower and middle class families, who may have to commute long distances to work or lose out on economic opportunities due to high minimum wage requirements.
We thank the Commission for its dedication to our state, and look forward to seeing more information on the panel’s pension reform proposals in the future.”