The following letter was written in response to last week’s letter from Randy Klein, “Connecticut Democrats think cooperation is better than conflict.”
To the Editor:
The headline of last week’s submission to the editor by one of our neighbors, professing to speak for all of “Connecticut Democrats” (perhaps forgetting the growing share of fiscal conservatives in that party), appeals to the Republicans for “cooperation”. No such appeal is necessary; the GOP has always been very constructive, even in the difficult questions on the budget. As State Representative Terrie Wood has pointed out often, the R’s and the D’s have worked well in the Assembly on many diverse matters. As to the budget, the minority party has always been refused a seat at the table.
Last week’s letter delves deeply into national issues, nimbly avoiding the state’s own crisis. This raises the specter of next year’s elections being repurposed by the Democrats to a national political referendum and not an important vote on Connecticut’s future. Such an approach would shortchange Connecticut’s families and businesses, given their legitimate concerns about the future of their state.
The letter’s admonition that “cooperation is better than conflict” (nobody can disagree with this advice) applies foremost to the Democrats. In the House, they have elected as their majority leader a state union official who works tirelessly to increase spending and raise taxes; and in the Senate, Bob Duff continues to disappoint his Darien constituents as a consummate cheerleader for the unpopular Governor. Neither one of these two has called a vote on the budget.
State employees and teachers are hardworking individuals and deserve to be compensated fairly. However, once benefits substantially exceed those in the private sector and in other states, these arrangements make Connecticut uncompetitive and hurt everyone. To move the resolution of this “conflict” into backrooms and to give the unions a vote but not the legislature is undemocratic: This method of “cooperation” of state unions and state executives is not the “better” process. It also extends the fiscal and economic pain. Instead of getting out from under existing burdensome bargaining agreements coming due in 2017 (now!), the Governor, during his tenure, has extended the liabilities for 10 more years, putting the taxpayer into a fiscal straightjacket until 2027. A breathtaking “Malloy legacy”!
Darien’s town officials have worked hard for political and fiscal integrity, but now cities and towns in Connecticut are anxiously waiting for Hartford to pass the buck, preparing for service cuts and higher property taxes. Already, the exodus of older taxpayers and “the rich” have reduced property values and will lead to much higher property taxes as the cycle of revaluations works through the system.
Upon any honest analysis, there can be no dispute between the parties as to the root causes of the crisis. Democrats need to start taking responsibility for their mess; Republicans will always be happy to help clean it up.