‘Tax talk:’ And why it might be misleading our votes

In many ways, Connecticut’s gubernatorial race has boiled down to a referendum on taxes. Many residents feel they can’t spare another cent on taxes, especially when it doesn’t seem like it ‘comes back’ to them in any substantial way. We want to ‘save money.’ But how? ‘Tax talk,’ as I like to call it, is often convoluted at best. One candidate will say he would ‘cut taxes’ and argue that his opponent would ‘raise’ them. But then his opponent will say the very opposite. Voters are left scrambling to make sense out of what often feels like an overwhelming, convoluted heap of conflicting claims. In this chaos, it’s all too easy for us to end up voting against our own interests.

Singular suggestions for the would-be governor

During this election season The Connecticut Mirror is convening groups of people from around the state to ask their opinions on key campaign issues and their perceptions of the appropriate role of government. The participants in each group share a common circumstance or stage of life: University of Connecticut students, people with children in Bridgeport, and people who qualify as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) in Waterbury.

In this installment, we asked people living with a behavioral health challenge in the New Haven area the following question: If you could make one suggestion to the gubernatorial candidates, what would it be?

How can government make a difference in your life?

During this election season The Connecticut Mirror is convening groups of people from around the state to ask their opinions on key campaign issues and their perceptions of the appropriate role of government. The participants in each group share a common circumstance or stage of life: people living with a behavioral health challenge in New Haven, people with children in Bridgeport, and people who qualify as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) in Waterbury. In this first installment, we asked a group of University of Connecticut freshmen in Hartford the following question: What is the most important thing government could do to make a difference in your life, to enhance your community, or to improve the state?

Candidates have a responsibility to dispel anti-vax myths

Vaccinations, and especially mandatory vaccination policies, are critical to the health of our society. In the past 20 years, some have questioned the efficacy of vaccinations, skeptical of the plethora of science indicating they are safe, effective and cost-effective. While we all can agree that our state’s mandatory vaccination policies must be based on solid evidence, parents must trust our governmental public health agencies to ensure this is the case. As some rare diseases, such as Mumps or Whooping Cough are making a resurgence in Connecticut, now more than ever, public figures have the responsibility to educate questioning parents about the underlying science and dispel any myths that they may hold.

Pension debt proposals that exacerbate the problem

Two candidates compete against each other for office in one of Connecticut’s electoral districts.  Each candidate seeks to distinguish himself by offering a purportedly creative solution to the problem of Connecticut’s massive and growing debt for public employee pensions. Each deserves credit for an attempt to move beyond a naked demand that taxpayers pay more and receive less, but taxpayers should be informed about the potential pitfalls of each proposal, and should be aware that neither candidate is willing to address the fundamental problems creating and increasing the debt arising from Connecticut’s public employee pensions. 

Advice to a would-be governor: Make healthcare affordable

During this election season The Connecticut Mirror is convening groups of people from around the state to ask their opinions on key campaign issues and their perceptions of the appropriate role of government. The participants in each group share a common circumstance or stage of life. 

In this   installment, we asked a group of people from the Waterbury area, all of whom qualify as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) the following questions: If one of the gubernatorial candidates walked into the room right now, what you would say to him about health care? And What is the most important thing government can do to make a difference in your life, to enhance your community, or to improve the state?

No words – until now

It is April 11, 1914. Fannie Saphirstein, 28, signs the Department of Labor’s Naturalization Form #2203 in which she describes herself as white of fair complexion, height 5 feet and weight 118 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. She was born in Bialistock, Russia, on the 25th day of March in 1886. She immigrated to America from Antwerp on the vessel Zeeland. She attests that her last foreign residence was Bialistock, Russia. Her occupation? A cigar maker.

Health care insurance issues loom large in this election

During this election season The Connecticut Mirror is convening groups of people from around the state to ask their opinions on key campaign issues and their perceptions of the appropriate role of government. The participants in each group share a common circumstance or stage of life.  In this   installment, we asked a group of Bridgeport people, all of whom have children, the following questions: What are your primary economic concerns? And if a gubernatorial candidate walked into the room, what would you tell him?

Voters need to test candidates on how their policies will support seniors

In the coming weeks, our state’s elected leaders – from governor to senators and representatives – must face the voters and win their support in the November elections. There are many important issues confronting our state, including negative economic growth, huge debt in our state employees’ and teachers’ pension funds, aging infrastructure, high taxes at both state and local levels, and diminishing state financial support of our towns. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that to make Connecticut’s recovery a reality, we also need to keep our seniors from moving away.

Babies don’t vote—we need to vote for them 

Election Day is coming up, and adults across Connecticut will be casting their ballots based on the issues that matter most to them. Babies, however, don’t get a say in what comes next. So it’s up to us grownups to vote on their behalf. What we know about the importance of early learning has changed drastically over the years. We used to think that a child’s education started when they entered kindergarten. Then, we began to recognize the value of preschool. Now, thanks to illuminating science on brain development, we know that education starts much earlier.

We have income tax fever because the real issues are boring

I have to admit that I am confused by this year’s election season income tax fever in Connecticut. I have heard over and over how 2018 is the moment where jobs and economic growth will be the major concern. So my question is: why are we constantly talking about the income tax? What does the income tax have to do with creating jobs? I conducted my own very unscientific research to find companies that would expand or create new jobs and facilities in Connecticut only if the state cut the income tax. I could not find one.

Voters! Combat outside campaign spending with critical thinking

Freedom of Speech is meant to safeguard democracy, to protect people’s ability to freely engage in public discourse and govern themselves. But when outside donors (often unknown and untraceable) inject substantial sums to influence my community’s elections, such donors overstep the prerogative of choosing their representatives and encroach upon my community’s process of choosing our own.