Stafstrom, Frustrated By Doomsayers, Highlights State Progress

Steve Stafstrom
Steve Stafstrom

In an eblast to contituents, State Rep. Steve Stafstrom declares he’s “frustrated with the Connecticut doomsayers … as if they are rooting for Connecticut to fail.” He sees a more optimistic outlook.

I love Connecticut! I take great pride in this state that I grew up in, went to school in and am raising my family in. That’s why I am so frustrated with the Connecticut doomsayers who seem to only want to harp on negative economic news. It is as if they are rooting for Connecticut to fail, rather than succeed.

It’s no secret that Connecticut has had a slow recovery from the Great Recession. We were ill-prepared for the 21st-century economy in large part because of our past failure to invest in transportation, our core cities and workforce development.

But we are working to reverse that trend. Recent economic indicators highlight the progress Connecticut is making to improve its business climate and become an even better place to live, work and raise a family.

Here are some of the factual economic indicators that underscore the progress Connecticut is making:

— This year, Connecticut jumped 10 spots to number 33 on CNBC’s “Top States for Business Rankings.” Connecticut was number 43 last year.

— The CNBC survey shows that Connecticut moved up from 18th to seventh place for the quality of its workforce and from 18th to third place for education. But it ranks 47 out of 50 for its infrastructure and is 43rd for the cost of doing business–areas we need to focus on.

— Connecticut experienced a 1 percent increase in new private businesses being formed, which has risen for five years in a row.

— Average annual wages for Connecticut jobs increased by half a percent.

— Connecticut added 7,000 jobs in June.

— Connecticut’s aerospace industry is gearing up for a production and jobs boom.

There is no question that there is still more work to be done to ensure a thriving future. But as we work through our state’s challenges together, I hope you will join me in seeing the glass as half full and remain a proud Nutmegger!



  1. According to Business Weekly, Currently, Connecticut has the third highest state and local tax burden in the country, the second highest property tax, and the eighth worst business climate. All of these rankings will be made worse by the new tax increases passed by the legislature.

    Connecticut was a manufacturing state, which became a finance hub, which is now bleeding both manufacturing and finance, as bankers have moved to New York or shut down their operations in the wake of the Great Recession. The fastest-growing job opportunities are mostly for low-wage workers in health care, leisure, and retail, whose income and sales taxes cannot fund the state’s expensive promises to teachers and pensioners. Connecticut is losing rich companies (and their tax revenues) while it’s adding low-wage workers, like personal-care aides and retail salespeople. Yet it remains a high-tax state. That’s a recipe for a budget crisis.

    Connecticut has the 8th Highest Housing Wage of $24.72/hr that is required to afford a two bedroom rental home in Bridgeport. One of the highest gas taxes, cigarette taxes, electric rates and property taxes in the country.

    State Rep. Steve Stafstrom, this is what most of us Connecticut doomsayers see, but I appreciate your blind optimism.

  2. Steve Stafsrom, i respect your thought but I am shocked and dismayed at the financial/fiscal mess that is called The Budget of The State of Connecticut. Beyond that,there really is no plan whatsoever for Connecticut going forward. It’s the same old thing that we have seen since the early 1960’s. Suburbs versus the urban area and the suburbs have the votes in The State Legislature and we have had a string do-nothing Governors and State Legislatures. The only governor that we have had that forced the State Legislature to make definitive decisions was Lowell Weicker. Every Governor and every State Legislature has just been happy to kick the can down the road. State Government in Connecticut is weak and ineffectual. That is the problem.

  3. Frank, Forbes would disagree with your observations about governor Lowell Wieker.

    Twenty-five years ago, amid economic turmoil and a looming budget crisis that put legislators at each other’s throats, the then-governor of Connecticut made a fateful decision. Unsure of the best way to dig Connecticut out of its financial hole, Governor Lowell Weicker implemented an income tax.

    The Nutmeg State would certainly come to rue that day.

    Of course, Governor Weicker did not anticipate that the adoption of an income tax would send the state into a tailspin. In fact, as he announced his plans on May 15, 1991, he said, “I feel great.” In 2015, however, Connecticut taxpayers are feeling less than great. Despite Governor Weicker’s promises – that the income-tax revenue would be spent responsibly, that the additional dollars would correct Connecticut’s financial course – the new tax only led to further disarray and decline.

    Numbers from How Money Walks corroborate The Yankee Institute’s findings, while showing the grim longer-term picture: Between 1992 and 2014 (the most recent year for which Internal Revenue Service taxpayer data is available), Connecticut lost $12.36 billion in net adjusted gross income (AGI). Perhaps not surprisingly, the bulk of this outwardly migrating AGI went to states that do not punish work by levying an income tax. The state of Florida won the lion’s share of Connecticut’s fleeing AGI, with $7.96 billion leaving the Nutmeg State for the Sunshine State.

    This is the legacy of the Governor’s income tax adoption. It doesn’t get better than that, does it?

    1. Donald….. the three sources you used are well known right wing conservative outlets and all still believe in the trickle down economic theory. Forbes Magazine….please look up Steve Forbes. The Yankee Institute is right wing conservative mouthpiece. The website “HowMoneyWalks” is the same thing. Travis Brown is the guy behind howmoneywalks and is another right wing conservative wing nut. If you do any research on Travis Brown,you will also come across the names Arthur Laffler,Stephen Moore,Rex Sinquefield. All four cowrote a book. Google those three names and you’ll see what their economic and political theories are. Connecticut is a very rich state. It consistently rates among the top 5 for income. Lowell Weicker said Connecticut needs to take full responsibility to maintain its fiscal house and to look at and use various tools to pay its bills. The problem today is that Connecticut is facing decades where governors and legislatures-both Democratic and Republican- stuck their heads into the sand and refused to take full fiscal responsibility. For decades,CT governors and legislatures did not pay the bills- namely funding pension funds so that prior budgets were kept artificially low. So now we are screwed because decades of state leaders did not pay the pension bills because they refused to look at all sources of raising revenue. Nothing in life is free and that includes government. Pay now or pay later but sooner or later,the bill must be paid.

  4. Well Frank, most fiscally responsible and respected publications and think tanks are conservative, in that they believe in paying your bills when due and don’t spend more than you earn. Put money away for both retirement and emergencies. You are correct, decades of tax and spend, bonding debt (shall we ignore that Stafstroms law firm profits greatly from that pice of legislation he promoted? Shall we ignore how as a very JR state rep he was appointed to the highly coveted and powerful finance committee) however, your statement CT is a wealthy state is a bit confusing to me. You agree decades of legalsive lack of fiscal responsibility has gotten us here, so,are you proposing taxing the wealth in CT to make up the shortfall, when year over year the state has misappropriated tax dollars? Do you really believe new taxes on wealth will be allocated to pension funding?
    I believe one day Stafstrom will be Governor of CT. He looks like he came from central casting, very well spoken, well connected and is respected and well liked, overall. While I think his article is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as it sinks, I do give him great credit for putting a positive face on the State. Somehow I doubt he’s having a struggle paying his property taxes and maintaining a very comfortable lifestyle.

    1. Sorry Jennifer. I just don’t agree with you. If you follow the Laffler and Moore,economic bible ,I will acknowledge your decision and file it away in my mental bible. I don’t agree with that economic and political vein of thought. I call it the Jay Pierpont Morgan economic model. Let’s go back to the 1920’s economic model of wealth and income distribution.

      1. Amazing how the haves and have nots view wealth and income re distribution. Morgan started his forays in the panic of 1887 (?) year in question, by backing the government, not individuals, and profited greatly throughout his lifetime. It was the government he backed, not individual people. Today, Gates, Buffett etc do the same through foundations, helping underserved groups with health and education needs. They also chose how to redistribute their wealth by who and what they back. Is this what you mean, or do you want for yourself and others in CT a check from Gates to meet your debt and or tax obligations.

        1. Jennifer..all I am saying is that we dig deeper into any source of information. If I posted some information from and if anyone says that MoveOn is a left wing/liberal? progressive(whatever progressive means today) I will certainly acknowledge that MoveOn.Org does indeed reflect a liberal/left wing agenda. I have no problem calling a spade a spade. I just like to investigate the background of any (dot)com sources because,invariably,there is a political agenda befind the sources. It’s like being in higher levels of education and using Wikipedia as a source,footnote.

        2. Morgan and Company(basically NYC finaciers were the only sources of raising money for the Federal Government. Look at World War II. Look at how the Federal Government had to go to Bernard Baruch to help finance the war effort and look at the coast to coast non-stop War Bonds effort because the Federal Government was not able to raise money. We were fighting a war and the Federal Government was forced to go out and beg for financing for the war effort. That shows how weak the federal government was in the 1930’s-1940’s. And this is a round robin argument since The founding of The United States;The role of The Federal Government versus the role od State Governments. We have been discussing this since the publication of The Federal Papers by Alexander Hamilton et al.

          1. I’ll give you that one Frank, if the Federal government is not overreacting, then the states are. You live in one of the most over regulated nanny states in America. The balance seems a bit off in CT, and the state financial wreck certainly reflects that.

  5. Connecticut — with it’s central location in the Northeaster population core, access to all modes of transportation, home to world-class technology education programs, access to cutting-edge medical care and technology, very moderate weather/climate, and many other assets/positive attributes, should be the among the top-10 states for business climate… Except for our economic self-strangulation with respect to the conscious, deliberate overdevelopment of the Stamford area, which has choked-off essential transportation movement necessary for development and commercial activity in the rest of the state, even as the rest of the state (e.g., the urban centers) have been denied state and federal money for essential jobs and tax-base development, making for a very poor urban and overall business environment in the state… Oh. And let’s not forget the corrupt, incestuous relationship between the energy utilities and government in our state which has resulted in the highest cost of doing business in the country per the highest energy costs for business in the country… (Hawaii has higher electric rates, but less need for heating and cooling energy usage…)

    So: Connecticut has positioned itself near the bottom of lthe list, with respect to business and economic development climate because of the blatant, contraindicated accommodation of elitist business and lifestyle interests in Gold Coast Connecticut and because of government/public utility greed and corruption… As a result, the whole state economy and business-climate are trending downward and nearing the bottom of the national barrel…

    It’s OK to be a cheerleader, Steve, but your take on the state might be perceived as self-serving, disingenuous, and inaccurate…

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