EXCLUSIVE: Obsitnik’s 3 Steps to Tax Cuts, and What Makes Him Different From 4 GOP #CTGov OpponentsJune 27, 2018
The businessman and gubernatorial candidate talked to Reclaim Connecticut about tax cuts, creating 300,000 jobs, and distinguishing himself from his four Republican opponents.
Steve Obsitnik wants Republican voters who goes to the polls in the August 14 gubernatorial primary to believe he represents a unique, third category of candidate: “builder.”
“I’m a builder,” Obsitnik told Reclaim Connecticut in a Tuesday interview. “I build companies. I build products.”
Who are his opponents?
“Two mayors who are really collecting taxes,” referring to Mayor Mark Boughton (R-Danbury) and former First Selectman Tim Herbst (R-Trumbull), “and two billionaires who collect finance fees for a living,” referring to Bob Stefanowski and David Stemerman.
“You need a governor who has an owner’s mentality, a mentality for growth,” Obsitnik said. “If we don’t create a culture that inspires people to be here, to grow our economy, then we’ve failed.”
Obsitnik talked to Reclaim Connecticut about his vision for the state, from tax cuts to deficits to job creation, on Tuesday.
3 STEPS TO TAX CUTS
Obsitnik said cutting taxes will require three steps in 2019 and beyond:
- “One is targeted tax reform, which is hugging the most important customers of Connecticut to keep them here.” Obsitnik says those customers are seniors, middle-class workers, and businesses.
- “Step two, which you do [at the same time] is go after $3.5 billion of cost structure in the state.” That’s $3.5 billion annually.
- “As you’re successful with that then you can [step three] reduce taxes across the board, I believe, to a four-percent rate.”
“Some people running have these kind of far-fetched tax reduction plans,” Obsitnik said. “What I talk about is targeted tax reform.”
3 INDUSTRIES, 300,000 JOBS
Obsitnik needs to close the $11-billion deficit (it’s a state constitutional requirement) and wants to cut taxes, but he has an even bolder plan for job creation in the state: 300,000 new jobs.
“I really want it to be half a million. That’s such a better soundbite, right? But I couldn’t make the math work at half a million,” Obsitnik told Reclaim Connecticut.
Obsitnik will focus his job-creation efforts on three industries:
- Advanced manufacturing
- Finance and insurance
- Health care delivery
Obsitnik believes those three industries can “conservatively generate 115,000 jobs.” Other industries, Obsitnik says, will grow by about 160,000 jobs. And 140,000 new jobs will come from the workers needed to support new employees working in Connecticut (e.g., the restaurant industry, home construction and repair).
“If you take the growth in Massachusett’s economy over the last eight years, and you scale it to our population — interestingly enough, it’s 300,000 jobs,” Obsitnik said, suggesting he would emulate Connecticut’s neighbor to the north.
ONLINE SALES TAX, ONLINE FIGHTS
Reclaim Connecticut asked Obsitnik two other questions we have asked other gubernatorial candidates this week: 1) any thoughts on whether online retailers should be required to collect sales tax in Connecticut? 2) What’s your take on the fighting between Stefanowski, Boughton, and Herbst over Citizens’ Election Program (CEP) funding?
On the first, Obsitnik suggested he wants to look more into the idea of the state collecting sales tax for online purchases.
“I think part of our solutions here are rightfully collecting taxes owed the state of Connecticut. That’s another way you kind of solve these equations, these problems,” Obsitnik said. “I would look into what the impact is gonna be, how much it’s gonna cost to enforce it.”
As for the CT GOP Twitter war, Obsitnik – who stayed out of it – suggested it’s beneath voters.
“I don’t think the voters of Connecticut — it’s beneath them to have this squabbling,” Obsitnik said. “There’s no value added to this conversation.”
Obsitnik runs against Boughton, Herbst, Stefanowski, and Stemerman, in a five-way primary that will take place on August 14.
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