Don Pesci: The dream that Conn. progressives dream is a nightmare for the state's economy

  "Low Tide, Riverside {part of affluent Greenwich, Conn.} Yacht Club  (1894)''  by Theodore Robinson.

"Low Tide, Riverside {part of affluent Greenwich, Conn.} Yacht Club  (1894)''  by Theodore Robinson.

Ned Lamont, the Connecticut Democratic Party’s certified candidate for governor, having run the nomination knout, is now proceeding to run primary-election bases.

NBC Connecticut has noted a pronounced difference in messaging:
"Lamont Distances from Malloy at Technology Forum''.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has relied on targeted tax reductions and tax grants to try to persuade companies to remain in Connecticut and avoid migrating to other states in order to escape the governor’s burdensome taxes and the Democratic-dominated General Assembly’s noxious regulations.

"I think we've gone snap happy in terms of trying get and keep businesses,” Lamont said at a forum hosted by the Connecticut Technology Council. Lamont told the group he was not interested in providing bailouts to Connecticut’s tax starved cities: "I'm not interested in bailouts, I didn't like that deal at all, but there have to be other ways to help our cities,” which are, never-the-less, critical to the growth of the state.

“This version of Ned Lamont” the report pointedly notes, “is new on the campaign trail. Before the Democratic State Convention last month in Hartford, he seldom ever mentioned policies or moments of the political past, insisting on looking forward and having a message to reflect that effort.” Right, for politicians uncomfortable with offering rational solutions to pressing problems, glittering talk about a mythical future is the last refuge of scoundrels.

Unless sound measures are adopted to rein in spending, clip the power of unions to shape budgets, address Connecticut’s ruinous pension liabilities,  reduce taxes as an incentive to lure companies from surrounding states – Massachusetts, formerly called Taxachusetts, led by a Republican governor, is eating Connecticut’s lunch – strip away burdensome regulations and offer some hope to entrepreneurial talent in the state inexorably gravitating toward greener pastures in low governmental-impact states, Connecticut’s future will remain bleak. And everyone who is not a wall-eyed optimist or a Panglossian politician knows it -- especially intelligent voters weary of the usual glittering propaganda of politicians on the make.

The politically barbed question Lamont will be asked once he enters debates with his Republican counterpart is: Can he reverse the direction set by Malloy, the nominal head of the Democrat Party, and deliver prosperity?

That question is a slightly different one than asking Lamont, in one form or another, to denounce Malloy. Denunciation will come more easily to Republicans than Democrats, because Malloy’s operative principle -- Connecticut is not suffering from a spending problem; it is suffering from a revenue problem, the solution for which is tax increases – is the battle flag of the modern progressive movement.

Connecticut’s progressives go to bed dreaming, and they wake up dreaming.  If only Connecticut were better able to identify sources of wealth and tax them properly, the state will revive. What Connecticut desperately needs is a heavy progressive tax on hedge fund managers huddled together in Connecticut’s Gold Coast.
 

The state must spend more on early-childhood education, listen with a learning ear to the lights of the progressive National Democrat Party, Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, and uber-progressive demagogue Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, rebuild the state’s infrastructure with congestion tolling, invest in solar and wind energy, increase the minimum wage, make all schools in Connecticut gun-free zones, open more sanctuary cities -- impeach President Trump! Ah, if these things were done, then Connecticut would rise in splendor from its ashes and once again become the progressive pearl in New England’s crown. Such is the dream that progressives dream.

“I think we do need to bring our revenue structure into the 21st Century and when it comes to transportation,” Lamont told the techies at the Trumbull Marriott. “I need a more reliable and predictable revenue stream that we can leverage and make the investments we need, and I think that starts with electronic tolling on some of our biggest trucks that are coming in from out of state using our roads, tax-free, creating tons of maintenance issues and we’ll see where it goes from there (emphasis mine)”

Aye… starts with taxing the guy behind the tree, out-of-state truck drivers, and ends with yet another broad-based tax on middle-class working people; this in addition to the  {former Gov.} Lowell Weicker income tax and Malloy's two massive tax increases, the largest and the second largest in state history. And we know where tax increases go -- mostly to satisfy special-interest groups that regularly vote Democratic.  These accumulative tax increases have boosted spending in Connecticut threefold since former Gov. William O’Neill took a hike in 1991, having been replaced by the father of Connecticut’s income tax.   

For decades, the message of Connecticut’s government to the state’s diminishing wealth pots, including its techies, has been – if you have wealth, run. And they ran; they are running still. Connecticut is bleeding wealth, and its wounds will not be cauterized by increasing taxes. Only permanent, long-term reductions in spending will do the trick.

Techies take note: Connecticut has become the entrepreneurial graveyard of New England. The only dreams that live here are those of its progressive tax obsessed politicians.

Don Pesci is a Vernon, Conn.-based columnist.