WSJ: Republican Bob Stefanowski Has GOP On Offense In Connecticut

Stefanowski’s idea-driven campaign promises to get the state back on track.

After eight years of high tax-and-spend policies under Failed Governor Dan Malloy that have driven Connecticut into economic decline, GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski’s energized candidacy has Republicans on offense in the traditionally deep-blue state. The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes that Stefanowski gives the GOP its “best chance of a statehouse pick-up this year” with bold economic goals for a state that “needs radical surgery.” While Malloy Enabler Ned Lamont promises to bring a third term of the same tax-hiking policies that have taken Connecticut backwards, Stefanowski’s idea-driven campaign promises to get the state back on track.

Democrats again showed their eagerness to send a message against President Trump in Tuesday’s primaries, which threatens GOP control of statehouses. But perhaps the most intriguing result came in Connecticut, where businessman Bob Stefanowski won the GOP nomination for Governor on a bold reform platform to save the sinking state after years of failed public-union governance…

The GOP’s best chance of a statehouse pick-up this year is Connecticut, where Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy’s tax and spending increases have punished the economy. Personal income grew by a mere 1.5% last year compared to 2.4% in Rhode Island and 3.3% in Massachusetts. Connecticut’s labor force has shrunk by 26,500 since January 2017.

Spending on state worker benefits has increased by about a third since 2012, and 35% of revenues go to debt service and retirement obligations. The state faces a $2.1 billion budget shortfall amid tepid revenue growth.

Mr. Stefanowski rose to the top of a crowded GOP field with a supply-side platform drafted with the advice of economist Art Laffer that calls for abolishing the estate and gift taxes immediately, phasing out the corporate tax in two years and the income tax over eight. He also wants term limits and the right to citizen referendums.

These goals are bold, to say least, but the state needs radical surgery. Corporate tax revenues account for less than 5% of the state budget, and estate taxes make up only about 1% even as they drive retirees to Florida. Both levies could be eliminated by trimming spending…

Before it adopted an income tax in 1991, Connecticut was one of the country’s fastest growing states. But tax rates have climbed relentlessly ever since and will continue to rise if progressive Democrat and wealthy businessman Ned Lamont is elected Governor. How else does he intend to pay for his plans to increase school and public works spending?

Mr. Stefanowski faces an uphill battle in what looks like a Democratic year, but even liberals should want to make Connecticut grow again.