Instead of addressing tough problems that make a real difference in the lives of its citizens, Connecticut continues to waste money.
Earlier this year, Governor Malloy announced his intent to defer more than 400 capital projects costing $4.3 billion – many transportation related – for lack of funding. The state Department of Transportation Commissioner reported that eight projects with a price tag of $27 million have already been suspended.
Stretches of I-95 in Connecticut are reported to be among the busiest in the country – with jams and back-ups up to nine miles long. Efficient transportation is critical to businesses moving goods, commuters going to work. Some observers have said that if Connecticut fails to solve its transportation problems, it may become an economic cul-de-sac.
As recently as November 29 of last year, Governor Malloy announced that he would award $56.8 million in state grants and loans – some of which may be forgivable -- to select businesses. This award, under the “First Five Plus” program is a stunning example of how Connecticut wastes taxpayer money, and promotes programs that do not contribute to growth.
The administration claimed that these grants and awards will retain and increase jobs in Connecticut. But the truth is, this type of financing is more like rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.
Overall, these grants and loans raise serious questions about the efficacy and intent of Governor Malloy’s First Five Plus Program.
- First, the program assumes that government employees are capable of selecting economic winners and losers. History has shown time and again that government employees are like other mere mortals and possess no crystal ball which enables them to predict market winners.
- Second, the program empowers unelected government staffers to give favors to some companies and withhold them from others on a highly discretionary basis. History shows that such discretion breeds corruption.
Governor’s Malloy apparent disdain for competition is indicative not only of what is wrong with the First Five Plus program but with so many of Connecticut’s government programs. States must and should compete for business and for residents.
It’s a necessary result of the fact that American citizens have a choice. We can choose where to live, where to raise a family, what work to engage in, whether to start a business, and so much more.
Spending money on corporate giveaways rather than good, safe roads and bridges is not a solution to Connecticut’s problems.
Individuals and companies leave Connecticut seeking states where they can enjoy lower taxes, lower costs of living, more job opportunities and other good things that competition brings.
Connecticut can bring these people back not by awarding government favors to a few companies, but by lowering barriers to job creation for all, by increasing choice and quality in public education, addressing head-on unfunded pension liabilities and high-cost government contracts.
Competition and choice are the solution, not the problem. Connecticut can change, grow and become a destination state again – it can start with the $27 million in deferred transportation projects rather than corporate giveaways.
Opinion-Editorial by Marisa Manley
(Edited version of article submitted to Connecticut newspapers - January 2018)
Marisa Manley is running for governor as an independent candidate because Connecticut needs leadership. She has solved tough problems for some of the world’s largest financial service companies, for the country’s largest law firms, for governments, and for small not-for-profits. Now she’s asking voters to work with her to solve Connecticut’s problems and give people a reason to stay.