March 25, 2016
Op Ed Editor
The Record Journal
11 Crown Street
Meriden, CT 06450
Recently the Record-Journal reported on a bill proposed by Rep. Mary Mushinsky that would eliminate an admissions tax on Wallingford’s Oakdale theatre and requested a $1.2 million bond to sound-proof the facility. While I agree with the elimination of the admissions tax, Connecticut simply cannot take on any more debt. It is precisely this type of thinking that has led Connecticut into a financial hole. While it is a Representative’s responsibility to act in their constituent’s best interests, they must also look at the ‘big picture.’ Right now the ‘big picture’ includes stopping Connecticut from declaring bankruptcy. Spending $1.2 million we don’t have only makes our State budget crisis worse. It is scary to even think anyone would propose such a bill.
Why government needs to interfere with business especially when that business is fully capable of tending to its own needs is astonishing. Last year, the entertainment company Live Nation, which owns the Oakdale theatre, sold $9.2 billion dollars in tickets, a sum that should have spoken for itself. Government often has difficulty managing their own affairs, never mind someone else’s. To step in and waste precious tax dollars is misguided. It is Live Nation’s responsibility to fix the Oakdale, not the State of Connecticut or Wallingford.
I believe Government’s role in business is to create and nurture a positive economic environment that encourages businesses to make their own decisions, invest where they believe is best and compete in a strong economy. Bonding anything at this time is inappropriate and dangerous. Right now Connecticut’s economy is struggling. If anything, we need to take a hard look at what State programs and Departments we really need in Hartford, cut personal and business taxes to free up capital so businesses can reinvest and create more jobs, end unfunded mandates for municipalities and reduce burdensome regulations on businesses both large and small. Businesses can’t grow and create jobs if they are over regulated and over taxed, which in Connecticut, they are. They will also leave if the State they call home continues to be fiscally irresponsible. We only need to look at General Electric, Aetna, and, reportedly now Duracell. I believe there are more than a few ‘Oakdale bonds’ or ‘programs’ that have bloated our State government damaging what was once a well-functioning and efficient institution. It is this bloat that we need to eliminate.
With projected State deficits in the 100’s of millions of dollars, and very soon 2-4 billion dollars, it is absurd to consider that any new bond or any new program, including this one, is acceptable. The continued call for more and more taxes is financially suicidal. There is only so much money to be taxed and much of that, I believe, ought to stay in the hands of the voters. Excessive taxation is a sign of failed government led by failed policies. It is clear that Hartford is broken. If we want to return Connecticut to fiscal solvency, State spending must stabilize, then intelligently decrease over time. Simply put we cannot and should not afford everything. This state is hemorrhaging and everyone knows it.
We need to get our fiscal priorities in order, but we will never do this if we keep mindlessly adding to our list of ‘wants.’ There is no more room for pet projects or ‘one time’ exceptions. These ‘exceptions’ may look harmless, but they add up leading us to where we are now, in debt and in trouble.
Serge G. Mihaly, Jr
70 Southwind Drive
Wallingford, CT 06492