Press Release: Stefanowski Releases Bold Economic Recovery Plan for Connecticut
Republican gubernatorial candidate joined by father of ‘The Laffer Curve’
Hartford, Conn. – Bob Stefanowski, a Madison business leader and Republican candidate for governor, today unveiled a comprehensive plan to spur economic growth and restore Connecticut’s reputation as a premier place to live and work. The plan, formulated in consultation with and endorsed by Arthur Laffer, Ph.D., economic advisor to Presidents Reagan and Trump, centers on major tax reductions, strategic spending reductions and controls, and a Taxpayer Bill of Rights designed to give citizens more power over their government and elected leaders.
The centerpiece of Stefanowski’s plan is the elimination of three tax levies: (1) the gift and estate tax, to be eliminated immediately; (2) the corporate income and business entity taxes, eliminated over two years; and (3) the state income tax, phased out over eight years. The plan would also institute a zero-based budgeting approach to the state budget and enact a series of reforms – including term limits and the right of recall – to ensure the accountability of government officials.
“I’ve led complex organizations, built consensus, driven change in politically sensitive environments, and led thousands of people to successful outcomes,” Stefanowski said. “Like many Connecticut residents, I’ve watched in horror while the state of Connecticut I love has ended up in an economic free fall as a result of successive years of irresponsible governance, poor decision-making, and a failure to confront problems directly.”
A proven business leader with 30 years in top executive roles, Stefanowski served as Chief Financial Officer of UBS Investment Bank, where he effectively managed $500 billion in assets, and as a turnaround expert with General Electric, where he served as Chief Executive Officer of several divisions. During his management career, Stefanowski met and became friends with Dr. Laffer, the Stanford-trained economist who devised “The Laffer Curve,” which gave birth to the tax policy reforms advocated by President Reagan that led to the nation’s resurgent economy during the 1980s.
Laffer said Stefanowski is uniquely qualified to serve as governor of Connecticut at this critical time. “Bob has the intelligence, integrity, and leadership skills to reverse Connecticut’s fortunes and make it a leader once again on the national stage,” Laffer said. “Climbing out of a deep economic hole is not an easy job, but this plan, carefully executed, will bring prosperity back to this state.”
Stefanowski said Connecticut residents now endure the highest tax burden in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation, working until May 21 of every year, four weeks longer than the average U.S. citizen, simply to pay their federal, state, and local taxes. Despite the two largest tax increases in state history in recent years, the budget deficit continues to grow from contractual obligations while revenues decline and job losses mount. The state lost an estimated 6,600 jobs in October 2017 alone, he noted, while the outmigration of residents to places like Florida with friendly tax policies for retirees is draining state coffers.
The solution, Stefanowski said, must start with Connecticut “playing the tape backwards – that is, undoing the profound damage brought on by the tax-and-spend policies of the past 25 years.” His five-point plan to rebuild Connecticut’s economy would:
- Phase-out corporate income and business entity taxes over two years to create a powerful marketing advantage and spur Connecticut economic development efforts;
- Phase-out the state income tax over eight years, with the magnitude of cuts in any given year governed by the attainment of revenue targets achieved by new economic growth;
- Eliminate gift and estate taxes, immediately, to stem the outflow of people and wealth to locations where these transfer taxes are much lower or nonexistent;
- Embrace zero-based budgeting to reduce costs, where budgeting starts with a blank piece of paper with only essential services added back, while creative ways to do things cheaper and better are examined (e.g., private-sector management of Department of Motor Vehicles); and
- Create a Taxpayer Bill of Rights, to include term limits for state legislators and the governor, a citizens’ right of referendum and recall of state officials, a required super-majority to enact any tax or fee increase, and more transparency around private interests receiving taxpayer dollars.
Overall, Stefanowski’s plan would reduce the annual tax burden on Connecticut citizens by up to $10 billion over eight years, with $1.8 billion in tax relief part of his first two-year budget. Meanwhile, other state revenues will grow because lower tax rates will increase disposable income and boost consumer demand, which will increase sales and cause businesses to hire, he said. “Lower corporate and individual income taxes will unleash a business boom that will result in robust hiring and a renewed sense of hope, energy and optimism,” Stefanowski said.
A seasoned leader with expertise in financial management and turnarounds, Stefanowski is a Connecticut native, born in New Haven, who attended Connecticut public schools, graduated from Fairfield University and earned a master’s degree in Finance from Cornell University. Stefanowski is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Financial Analyst. He lectures on finance topics at Yale, Oxford and Cambridge universities. He resides in Madison with his wife, Amy, and three daughters.
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Editor’s Note: Bob Stefanowski and Art Laffer held a press briefing at The Society Room in Hartford with members of Stefanowski’s economic advisory council and other leaders. The event was part of a series of “Prosperity Summits” held on Dec. 4 and 5 in Windsor, Norwich, North Haven and Norwalk, where Republicans, the media, and interested citizens were invited to learn about the plan, a full version of which is available at www.bobforgovernor.com/economic-plan