Mark Stewart Greenstein

We should be amazed. The first piece of 2019 proposed legislation coming from our General Assembly was to fund more restrictions on our liberties. That was State Sen. Alexandra Bergstein’s tolling plan, offered in Week One of the legislative session.

Not a proposal to re-fashion government programs. Not a proposal to entice new businesses. Not a proposal to improve education. Not a proposal to keep citizens from leaving Connecticut.

This is simply a sweeping way (far more than Gov. Ned Lamont’s trucks-only toll proposal) to put more money in the hands of state government.

State government does almost nothing well with our money. I believe the Agricultural Inspection Station’s Mosquito Control Program, at $600,000 annually, does a necessary service efficiently. There are scarce few others.

How do we define “well” in government work? Potentially by comparing it to how well you’d run a household. Here, our General Assembly shows epic failure.

No home maker would pay 11 times market value for a non-luxury item; but the GA nearly did for a parcel of land in Hamden whose seller was, naturally, politically connected. No homemaker whose child mistakenly spent money bails him out without any consequences for the future. But the GA did this too, with a no-strings-attached $550 million bailout of Hartford for its waywardness.

No homemaker pays for the mileage expense of her contractor when he is being driven to his workplace in another’s vehicle. But that, too, is the rule for fellow Assemblymen in a cushy scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours legislature.

So when legislators want to grab revenue, we must realize it is revenue to do little good, and likely to perpetuate unfairness. At a minimum, more revenue in the state’s hands means less money for YOU to do good.

Whether you are saving for a child’s education, investing in a better home, spending on household items, buying food, or even spending on “frivolous” things, you spend your money more wisely and more helpfully to the economy, than the state does. Remember, it’s the General Assembly who for year after year, voted for lavish pensions that are now spent by ex-Connecticut workers living in Florida.

Government spending can’t help the economy as well as private individuals, private firms, and private charities can.

For once, Democrat legislators might want to look at how thry might SAVE taxpayers money. Or perhaps INCREASE people’s freedom. Our wallets, and our freedoms, are at best an afterthought to the Martin Looneys and Josh Elliotts in the General Assembly.

Don’t worry. Our Democrat leaders, particularly those from Hamden and New Haven, have dozens more pieces of legislation in the pipeline, including a “Green New Deal.”

Lest you see “New Deal” in hagiographic terms, please know it was the New Deal legislation that brought on exceptionally broad business regulation and cemented our high federal taxation. The New Deal re-distributed wealth; it did not create wealth. Democrats’ government programs, if anything, exacerbated the 1929 recession, turning it into an 11 year “Great Drpression.” It was the need for war materials production and the need for manpower (FDR instituted a peacetime draft in 1940) that lifted us out of the 1930s recession.

And lest you be tempted by the cries of “we should get the New Yorkers’ money with tolls,” please remember, we tax ourSELVES the most with tolls.

Even if toll revenue could come exclusively from big out-of-state business (perhaps on Big Bad Texas-based oil companies!) remember – funneling more money to the state simply gives the General Assembly more control over our lives.

It’s about time we took more control for ourselves. Until the General Assembly ends unnecessary state spending, we should resist any increase in state revenue.

Mark Stewart Greenstein is Co-Founder of the Americans for Minimal Government Party
AMiGo and a former candidate for governor.

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  1. Someone finally said it. Make all those retired folks come on home. If they want to live off our hard earned tax dollar, at least make them keep our money in our economy. They take our money and spend it down south .And most of them will tell you they left because of the high taxes they had here. There was a courant article about this some time ago and its over 1 billion. That is 1/2 our debt gone. If they get to live off of us. The least they can do i stay in the state that gives them so much.

    1. I agree. I think it’s fair legislation that if you leave the state your pension is in, you no longer are entitled to it by law. That said, it should be up to the state in question to decide just what terms the individual is entitled to. In the least, I think it fair to reduce the amount to people who leave. The individuals and municipalities shouldn’t be on the hook for someone who no longer participates actively in the community they’ve served, and should no longer be obligated by any means to support a pension of someone who no longer participates(resides) in that community/state.

      All in all things need to be changed, and it starts exactly with what this article conveys: Start cutting unnecessary funding, frivolous expenditures, and cumbersome tax-laden regulations.

  2. By paying tolls we are giving up our freedoms –a very interesting perspective. If I started in Portland, Maine and drove to Miami, Florida, I would not go through a single state that does not have highway tolls, except — you guessed it — Connecticut! A large percentage of the people using our interstate highways are from out of state. And if you haven’t noticed another high user group are truckers all hours of the day and night and they do the most damage to our highways.

    Tolls as witnessed by our neighboring states are unobtrusive. You don’t even have to slow down and they would be a good source of revenue for Connecticut to support infrastructure improvements. This would not reduce our freedom, but increase it. I think that those of us who use the roads should help pay for their upkeep. And maybe it would get more people to use public transit, reducing the wear and tear on the roads and bridges.

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