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There’s No Fooling the People of Connecticut

Abraham Lincoln said you can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.

Governor Malloy must think Lincoln was mistaken, because he keeps telling people that his policies are pro-growth and business friendly, in direct contrast to the facts.

In March he said that Connecticut’s taxes were too high and that the state had reached its taxing limit. Then he gave us another historic tax increase in June. He said the state should not pick winners and losers, and that the market should choose them. Then he had the state buy a tennis tournament in New Haven and a parking garage in Hartford. He said he was concerned that the state had priced itself out of precision manufacturing. Then he helped the legislature raise the minimum wage and add paid leave for part-time employees at the lowest point of the recession, landing a one two punch to our businesses. He has just asked the public for suggestions on reducing regulations – all but those enacted during his tenure.

If the governor really meant everything he said about enacting pro-growth, pro-jobs policies, Connecticut might be doing as well as he would have us believe. It might be one of the most tax friendly states instead of the 2nd least tax friendly (Kiplinger, October, 2013), our unemployment rate might be below 8.1%, our per capita debt might be the nation’s lowest rather than its highest, and our state economy might be growing instead of being the only one in the country that’s shrinking.

Sadly, that is not the case.

As President Lincoln said, some of the people may be fooled all of the time, but certainly not all of them. Not a hedge fund manager in New Canaan who tells me how assiduously his industry (30% of the country’s hedge fund assets are located in Connecticut) is being courted by Florida and how tempted he and his counterparts are to leave.  Not my neighbor who tells me that his company has relocated out of state because of Connecticut’s high costs of doing business.   Not the mom and pop store owners I know in Waterbury and Enfield who have decided they are better off closing their businesses because they can no longer afford the high costs of running them.

Regardless of what the governor says, his policies are actually preventing Connecticut’s economy from moving forward. While the rest of the country begins to recover, Connecticut is lagging far behind. As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Fortunately, the people of Connecticut are too smart to be taken for fools for long.