NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Job creation and property taxes were among the issues touched on Monday night by state Sen. Toni Boucher and Carolanne Curry, the women looking to represent the Connecticut State Senate’s 26th District that includes Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Westport and Wilton.
Boucher, the incumbent Republican, told the New Canaan audience that the state has to work to fix the perception that Connecticut is not friendly to business by lowering taxes and cutting through red tape.
“Businesses will only expand and grow jobs if there’s a demand for the goods and services, and if we’re taking money out of their pockets, the disposable income, they have less to spend,” said Boucher during the League of Women Voters Candidates’ Forum in New Canaan. “The state can help employers (by letting them) create the jobs, not government.”
Curry, the Democratic challenger, said government should play a role in adding jobs, saying the idea that government doesn’t create jobs is a myth, especially since positions like firefighters, teachers, police officers, military personnel and first selectmen are government positions.
“If I were to talk about jobs, I would be looking to my federal government, I would be looking to my state government, I would be looking to my local government to help create jobs – and they won’t be outsourced overseas,” Curry said.
Boucher said New Canaan’s greatest needs are not unlike the rest of the state. Residents are worried about financial security and jobs. They also worry about tax increases and unfunded liabilities. “We really can improve this position with a bipartisan approach in revisiting our alternative budget proposals that we (Republicans) put on the table last year,” she said.
Curry said the state’s most pressing problem is a “regressive" property tax that puts Connecticut properties in competition with those in New York state. The property tax, Curry said, has prevented Connecticut localities from looking into other revenue streams. “If we can get a cap on the property tax, we can begin, in a cooperative manner, to look at the other revenue-producing streams that can be generated for New Canaan and the rest of the state,” she said.
Regarding infrastructure, Boucher said the state should work on electrifying some of the rail lines and adding more parking. Curry said the state hasn’t used previous transportation dollars from the federal government as wisely as it could, but said it’s a prime example of where government-created jobs can help in long term in building up infrastructure.