Toni Boucher Position on Affordability and the CT Economy

We must do more to make Connecticut affordable and ease burdens on our families. The cost-of-living in Connecticut is unaffordable and has been exacerbated by a forty-year high in inflation and skyrocketing gas prices.

I am committed to making our state less costly by providing responsible tax relief to CT families, and focusing on policies that will grow jobs and create opportunity. There is much more the state can do to make Connecticut more affordable, and that’s what I will work for.

It’s not surprising that last year more people fled Connecticut than moved in. At the same time our state is known for its high costs, Democrats in Hartford have added even further burdens onto our residents. They approved $1.8 billion in tax increases during Gov. Lamont’s first year in office. They approved a new tax on trucks that deliver groceries, home heating oil, and other necessities to residents across the state, which now threatens to further raise prices on goods and services. They added an additional 1% tax on prepared food on top of the 6.35% sales tax – impacting restaurant meals, take out and even prepared foods you pick up in the grocery store. The Democratic majority has also refused to adopt common-sense responsible tax relief as inflation surges – rejecting proposals to suspend the diesel tax, cut the sales tax, cut the income tax, and provide energy assistance to more families.

Coming out of a pandemic, the state’s Democratic leadership is making it even harder for people to live, work, raise a family, and retire in our state. It’s no wonder that we still haven’t recovered from the Great Recession, we remain near dead last in the nation for job growth and income growth, and we lag behind the rest of the nation in pandemic recovery. We can rebuild, we can recover, but it will take a change in direction.

Our state benefits most when there is balance in the legislature. In 2017, for the first time in a century, the State Senate was tied with 18 Democrats and 18 Republicans. This allowed both sides to have an equal say in the budget process. As a result, Republicans were able to pass a spending cap after decades of trying, a bonding cap, and a volatility cap to ensure the state properly manages its finances. The result of these Republican led policies: a record-breaking budget reserve fund and historic contributions to pay down on state debt. This progress would not have been possible without the historic bipartisanship that occurred as a result of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. We must strive for far greater balance and common sense moving forward.

Following the historic 2017 budget, the State Legislature fell out of balance. As one-party-rule returned, onerous bills increasing burdens, weakening local voices in education and housing, and rampant spending have plagued the state. Now a bear stock market reaction to trillions in government spending and inflation is putting pensions, 401Ks and IRAs at risk.  

So what are we doing about it? Republicans are responding with a $1.2 billion tax relief package. This plan was rejected by Democrats in the legislature during the regular session. But we continue to push for action on proposals to cut the income tax, suspend the diesel fuel tax, reduce the sales tax, suspend the 1% meal tax, repeal the new truck tax, and provide energy assistance.

Inflation is surging and in Connecticut new taxes are taking effect that will only worsen the situation. A 23% increase to the diesel tax, plus a new truck tax, will further drive up the prices of goods, groceries, and services around our state. A University of Connecticut economist has said that the timing of the major bump in diesel taxes and the new highway use fee ‘is going to be brutal.’

Instead of new taxes, we must provide relief.

Instead of new spending, instead of $1.9 billion on new state employee bonuses and raises, instead of short-term one-time rebates, we must focus on real, long-term relief to help families suffering from the pain of inflation.

“Be it dry goods or seafood,[the prices of] everything has gone up, and there’s no sign of prices coming back down. When you add inflation, it’s a challenge for all restaurants,” says a Norwalk restaurant owner.

This impacts everybody. Connecticut motorist Tanya Marquez says “we’re struggling to put gas in our car. The prices are ridiculous!” Stephanie Eiseman, a Bristol driver says “it’s just breaking the bank. I have to work every day, and I’m not making any more money.” 

A Stamford florist told me that his “competitors used to be other flower shops, now it is the state of Connecticut.”

This is why I’m getting off the sidelines and running. If elected, I will fight to keep more money in your pocket so that you can provide for your loved ones.