EXCLUSIVE: Businessman Stemerman Brings “Outside-the-Box” Thinking to Gubernatorial RaceMarch 9, 2018
In our first of a two-part interview, businessman and new GOP gubernatorial candidate David Stemerman talks about the issues at length.
“I started a business here because it was the best place in the country,” David Stemerman said, in a lengthy interview with Reclaim Connecticut on Friday. “It is not that way anymore.”
Stemerman is the latest official entry into a crowded GOP gubernatorial field for 2018, launching his campaign at the former site of GE’s Connecticut headquarters on Monday
Stemerman took time to answer some of Reclaim Connecticut’s questions about his candidacy, and where he stands on the most important issues facing Connecticut in 2019 and beyond.
Asked why he’s running for governor, Stemerman gave two reasons:
- “To save Connecticut from a financial crisis that threatens our families and our jobs.”
- “To rebuild our strengths so Connecticut can realize its potential.”
“My background as an entrepreneur, as a political outsider,” Stemerman said, “positions me well to solve those problems.”
DIGGING DEEP ON…THE BUDGET
Stemerman also dug deep on some of the issues, as well, offering solutions for Connecticut’s cycle of budget crises and its stagnant economy in turn.
“Starting with the budget crisis, there are two components to it,” Stemerman said, “the spending aspect and the lack of growth.”
Stemerman said fixed costs for state employees and retirees are the biggest problem for the next governor to tackle.
“The origin of our crisis goes back decades,” Stemerman said, citing the deal ex-Gov. John Rowland (R-Conn.) made with union bosses “to make payments for retirement that we were not capable of making.”
“And now,” Stemerman added, “those bills are coming due.”
“In terms of how do we deal with that,” Stemerman offered. “two key principles” come to mind:
- “One is that we’re going to come up with a new plan that [the state and its taxpayers] are able to support.”
- “The other key is that the taxpayer needs to exit the business of guaranteeing retirement benefits.”
The current system, Stemerman noted, “is unfair for taxpayers who are paying for benefits they cannot earn themselves.”
DIGGING DEEP ON…THE ECONOMY
As for economic growth, Stemerman drew on his investment experience in identifying “three areas of competitive advantages”: 1) “our location,” 2) “our schools and workforce,” and 3) “we used to be lower-cost than our competitors.” Stemerman offered solutions for all three.
On location, Stemerman said the state has to build a “transportation network that can get us” to New York City and up north to New England “quickly.”
“The governor says there’s no money left,” Stemerman said. “He’s right. Not only has he spent it, he has mortgaged our future.”
Stemerman suggested he would focus on public-private partnerships.
“We could attract literally billions of dollars to rebuild our trains, roads, and airports,” Stemerman said. “We could put a large number of people back to work in good construction jobs.”
On schools, Stemerman suggested working with businesses to “redesign the curriculum” for career and technical high schools, and colleges and universities.
“This is an area that we need to revitalize for the 21st century,” Stemerman said of schools.
On costs, Stemerman noted Connecticut has become worse on taxes “than the state we used to mock as Taxachusetts.”
“In taxes, I’m gonna have a very broad-based proposal to cut personal income taxes and corporate income taxes … and to repeal or eliminate the state and the gift tax,” Stemerman said. He also suggested he’d undertake a “comprehensive, top-to-bottom review” of all regulations.
“And when we do all of those things,” Stemerman said, “that will bring back growth to our state.”
This was part one of Reclaim Connecticut’s interview with new gubernatorial candidate David Stemerman. Check reclaimct.com on Saturday, March 10 for part two.
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