Two hours before dawn on August 22, 1991, a tie vote in the state Senate was broken by Lowell Weicker’s lieutenant governor, whose action guaranteed that a state income tax would be imposed on the people of Connecticut. The spending spree enabled by that infamous vote was the chief cause of our subsequent economic decline. Since the tax took effect, we rank dead last in economic growth among the 50 states.
Fast forward to August 1, 2017: Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman casts the deciding vote to break an 18-18 deadlock and approve Dan Malloy’s SEBAC deal, locking in pay raises, benefits, and no-layoff provisions until 2027, and dooming Connecticut taxpayers to escalating costs and ongoing budget crises for at another decade.
It matters who breaks ties in the Connecticut Senate. With that chamber split 18-18 between Democrats and Republicans, tie votes have occurred nearly 40 times in two years.
The lieutenant governor needs to be taxpayers’ last line of defense.
As a 10-year veteran of the Senate, I’ve frequently done battle with entrenched legislative and administrative bureaucrats in Hartford. I know the powers, processes and players. I can be of major value to the new Republican governor. And, as president of the Senate, I will break any tie votes in favor of state taxpayers.
I stand for limited government, individual freedom, and the rights of law-abiding citizens. I will work to block tax increases and excessive spending, lessen regulations and mandates, and turn back attacks on our Constitutional rights and personal liberties.
As spelled out in Connecticut’s constitution, the lieutenant governor stands in for the governor if he or she is absent from the state or temporarily unable to serve. In the unfortunate event that a governor dies, resigns, or is removed from office, the lieutenant governor becomes governor. During legislative sessions, the lieutenant governor moderates the debate in the Senate, puts questions to a vote, rules on parliamentary questions, and refers bills to committees.
Aside from these specified duties, the governor often relies on the lieutenant governor for policy advice, and typically asks the lieutenant to chair or serve on various state boards, commissions and task forces.
To that end, I will seek to serve as a business advocate for the governor. I see the lieutenant governor’s office functioning as a clearinghouse for thoughtful ideas on how state agencies can work to improve the statutory, regulatory and tax climate for business and entrepreneurs, while placing a high value on service to taxpayers. To borrow an acronym from the private sector, we need to make Connecticut “ETDBW” – Easy To Do Business With.
Most importantly, we must show that Connecticut is no longer hostile to those willing to invest capital, create jobs, and live here in retirement.
The new state administration elected this November must signal, in word and deed, that Connecticut has left the wreckage of the Malloy years behind. Every effort must be focused on demonstrating respect for taxpayers – individual and business alike. State officials must shed any semblance of arrogance and admit the critical need to put in place policies that will attract and retain business and wealth, and reverse the outmigration of families, retirees, and young talent.
The lieutenant governor has a vital role to play in the restoration of Connecticut’s proud reputation as a place of choice. Our state is worth the fight. I invite you to look carefully at the records of those seeking this office, as there are important differences in experience and outlook. Decide who you can trust – implicitly – to serve as a firewall between you and the tax-and-spend crowd at the State Capitol.
I invite you to visit my website for more information, and to reach out with any questions you may have about my candidacy or my stands on the issues.
Joe Markley, a candidate for lieutenant governor, represents the 16th Senatorial District in the Connecticut General Assembly, which includes a portion of Waterbury, Cheshire, Southington, Prospect and Wolcott.