I’m a firm believer that people get the government they deserve. I’m not sure what we were thinking when we created the crisis-driven, short-sighted leadership we have today, but now is the time to contemplate change. As a state, Connecticut faces structural changes that will require big changes to fix. Unless we take the time to get informed and involved, we will continue to get what we deserve.
Webster Bank has sponsored a forum titled, “Fiscal Sustainability: Critical to Connecticut’s Growth.” This forum has been presented in a number of locations and I caught the presentation in New Haven last week (see http://statebudgetcrisis.org ). I define a structural problem as a condition when the available processes and resources no longer are able to satisfy the obligations and objectives of the organization. It’s all too common for businesses to run into sustainability issues; but seeing a state veer into that territory is new ground for me. Some of the key points addressed in the discussion are:
- 28% of the General Operating Fund are used to service debt and entitlement obligations
- In 2016, Connecticut must begin repaying additional bonded debt
- Medicaid expenses have surpassed K-12 education expenses
- Federal sequester will constrict funding that has been available to municipal government
- The electorate needs to spend less time worrying about new taxes and more time reviewing how government funds are actually spent
Harry Browne said, “Security…it’s simply the recognition that changes will take place and the knowledge that you’re willing to deal with whatever comes.” The message I took from the presentation is that education and healthcare are going to be delivered very differently in the future and we had best be ready to guide the change.
I find it ironic that while economic projections show that Connecticut will not recover all the jobs lost in 2008 until 2017, there are a significant number of high-paying jobs in manufacturing that go unfilled due to a lack of skilled labor. I hear educators complain that with current policies and regulations, it is difficult to target new programs to address the STEM and vocational skills issue. This fall, plan some time to understand the issues and your local candidates’ views. This is a time when we all need to vote smart.
Let me know what you think is important and what you’d like to see in our future.