EXCLUSIVE: State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) on How to Rev Up CT’s “Recessionary” EconomyMay 11, 2017
State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton), who recently announced she's exploring a statewide run for office, spoke to Reclaim Connecticut about the economy, the budget, and more.
“We’re right back to a recessionary period,” State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) said. And “the rest of the country is going gangbusters.”
That’s how Boucher summed up the economic problem in Connecticut during a lengthy interview with Reclaim Connecticut on Wednesday.
Boucher recently announced she’s exploring a statewide run for office. If she runs for governor, she would be the ninth Republican candidate to declare or explore such a run. She would also be the first woman to run in this cycle.
Boucher got down in the weeds with Reclaim Connecticut on the problems facing the state, and how the right leaders in place can fix them.
Boucher said that her diverse background would benefit the state.
“I was born in Italy, came to the United States when I was five with my parents,” Boucher said. Her parents worked minimum-wage jobs, became naturalized citizens, and made “sure [their] children got the best education the could get.”
“We have been the beneficiaries of a governmental system in Connecticut that had such opportunity that the aspirational class like ourselves were really able to experience the American Dream,” Boucher said.
The problem? Those opportunities are fading in Connecticut, according to Boucher.
“We’re really in deep trouble,” Boucher said. “It’s gonna be very difficult to get out” of the hole the state is in.
The deficit for this fiscal year is almost $400 million, the deficit for next year is $2.2 billion, and the deficit for the following year is $2.5 billion.
“I do not like deficits,” Boucher said. “I do not like spending more than you bring in in tax revenues.”
So, how to fix it? Boucher had some ideas.
First, the state senator said, bring everyone to the table.
Make “sure that you’re listening the groups that are a significant and vital part of the economy of Connecticut,” she said, citing “businesses large and small, realtors, homebuilders, [the] medical community, [the] educational community, [the] non-profit community.”
Also, “sit down with the state employee union group” and tell them “we’re going under.”
“We have salary ranges that have far surpassed the private sector,” Boucher said. “It is so unsustainable. It is not what our towns and cities passed.”
She added that the legislature “should be required to vote on” union contracts, that items like overtime and mileage should not be count into state employee pensions, and that more negotiating should be down with “individual units” rather than large employee unions.
PROOF OF SUPPORT
How does Boucher see her chances in an already-large field for statewide office? She has not yet decided on a run, but she thinks there’s “some proof there that there’s a base of support” for her.
Boucher has won by comfortable margins, in what she described as a district mixed with Republicans and Democrats, in the last several elections.
“There’s something there that resonates very strongly,” Boucher concluded.
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