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EXCLUSIVE: Stefanowski, Gov Candidate and “Local New Haven Guy,” Pledge to “Give Back” to CT

March 19, 2018 By Staff
EXCLUSIVE: Stefanowski, Gov Candidate and “Local New Haven Guy,” Pledge to “Give Back” to CT

Bob Stefanowski is running in a crowded Republican race for governor, not just as a successful businessman but as a "local New Haven guy" who wants to use his experience "to give back to the state."

He’s a “local New Haven guy that made good” because of what Connecticut used to offer young people.

“I worked my butt off, my parents never went to school,” Bob Stefanowski said, in an interview with Reclaim Connecticut on Friday. “They worked hard, they gave me an opportunity.”

“I’m using that experience to give back to the state of Connecticut,” Stefanowski added.

That was the businessman and GOP gubernatorial candidate’s pitch to voters, in a nutshell, as Stefanowski seeks a path through a crowded GOP primary and to the November election.

“TOO MANY POLITICIANS”

A central part of Stefanowski’s pitch is that Connecticut has had “too many politicians” running the show in the state for too long. The prime example, he suggested, was the man at the top.

“You had a mayor of a decent-sized city, Stamford,” Stefanowski said, referring to Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.). That didn’t work out, Stefanowski argued, so “I think what the state needs right now is an outsider … [with] business skills.”

“Somebody that’s run large organizations, somebody that’s willing to make tough decisions,” Stefanowski continued. “Putting another politician in office … I don’t think is the right answer.”

BUT WORKING WITH THEM?

Reclaim Connecticut asked how Stefanowski would work with the legislature if elected, given his “outsider” status. Stefanowski suggested there’s a path.

“I think government experience is a bit overrated,” the businessman said. “You gotta be able to build coalition, you have to be able to influence people, you have to be willing to have tough discussions, you have to be willing to build alliances.”

Stefanowski’s experience in business, he said, would allow him to do all of the above.

“I’ve spent a career working with people,” he said. “I teach negotiations at Oxford University in London. … I know how to negotiate with people.”

START WITH CUTTING SPENDING, TAXES

Where would Stefanowski start? Like many GOP candidates have pledged, he would cut spending and cut taxes.

Stefanowski touted his plan, which he developed with the help of former Reagan economist Art Laffer, that would phase out the income tax over eight years.

“It really focuses on lowering taxes,” Stefanowski said, highlighting reductions or eliminations of 1) the estate tax, 2) the corporate income tax, and 3) the personal income tax.

“We need to chip away at the income tax,” Stefanowski said. “My plan calls for eliminating it over eight years.”

Stefanowski also noted his plan has “been reviewed and supported by Larry Kudlow,” President Trump’s new director of the National Economic Council (NEC).

Stefanowski explained the broad outlines of the plan to Reclaim Connecticut: focus on spending cuts in the first two years of his administration, and begin phasing out the income tax in year three. Continue to reduce the income tax as long as the state hits “revenue triggers,” and cut spending through “zero-based budgeting” that compels agencies to justify every expense of taxpayer dollars.

This is part one of a two-part with Bob Stefanowski. See part two on Tuesday, March 20.