Where and how should state government focus its efforts to grow private sector jobs and improve the business climate?
The prism through which every decision will be evaluated by the Griebel-Frank Administration will be, “does this action help the state create 200,000 net new jobs by the year 2028?” Our administration will aim to restore private sector confidence by: (1) privatizing some state services, (2) promoting the regional delivery of certain municipal services, (3) prioritizing state investment to achieve job growth, (4) promoting tourism and the arts; (5) providing stability in State government; (6) engaging the private sector; (7) getting out of the Capitol and acting as the Chief Marketing Officers for the State by meeting with employers and local officials; and (8) developing 21st Century transportation and education systems to support the economy and improve quality of life.
Connecticut has a history of ‘kicking the can down the road’ with annual political gamesmanship, budget gimmicks and short term fixes. All of these practices have contributed to our massive deficit and unstable business climate.
Would you sign a bill legalizing recreational marijuana? Why or why not?
Yes, I would sign a bill legalizing the use of recreational marijuana, similar to the Massachusetts law that specifies the age of purchase (21 years of age or older), addresses public safety matters (such as DUI) and regulates the amount that a homeowner can possess or grow for personal use.
All tax revenue from marijuana sales would go towards supporting efforts from state agencies (DMHAS) and non-profits aimed at the opioid crisis, substance abuse, and mental health issues.
Projections suggest we’re facing yet another massive budget gap for 2019. What concrete steps will you take to close that gap?
We will complete a holistic audit of state government and consult the Executive Officers (Attorney General, Comptroller, Treasurer, and Secretary of the State) to develop concrete proposals for appropriate reductions in State government.
We will propose concrete steps relating to tax policy as outlined on page 13 of our plan.
Would you support legislation requiring private employers to "ban the box," prohibiting them from asking the question about criminal convictions on a job application?
Yes, a Griebel-Frank administration would sign legislation to ban the box, prohibiting private employers from inquiring about prior criminal convictions. Our administration would also encourage the legislature to fix two of the “loopholes” in Public Act 16-83 including verbal inquiry of past violations and remediation for individuals who encounter private businesses violating this ‘ban’.
A recent report found 40 percent of Connecticut residents can't afford basic needs such as housing, food, health care, or child care. What would you do to improve their situation?
We must strive to ensure a livable wage for our citizens. Our administration will strive to maintain funding for housing affordability as a way to spur employment and economic growth. We will work with State agencies responsible for reducing homelessness and work with municipalities to reduce evictions.
For more detail, see Page 18 of our plan.
Based on estimates that out-of-state drivers would contribute 30-40% of overall revenue if highway tolls are implemented in Connecticut, would you support tolls with or without offsetting cuts in the state's gas taxes?
First, we would cancel the $10 million “toll study”. We would re-appoint the transportation strategy board to engage the private sector, develop transportation strategies, and identify funding sources. Our administration supports implementation of a pilot of electronic tolling on the HOV lanes on I-84 and I-91 by July 1, 2019 using a congestion-based pricing model. Lastly, on January 9, 2019 we would start the process to secure the necessary federal approvals to establish limited electronic tolling by July 1, 2021.
What are your transportation priorities?
Griebel-Frank Administration priorities include re-establishing the Transportation Strategy Board with private sector representation. We support the Constitutional “lockbox” referendum question on the November 6th ballot. We will cancel the ten million toll study and instead would start the process on January 9, 2019 to secure the federal approval necessary to establish limited electronic tolling by July 1, 2021. We would implement an electronic tolling pilot with a private sector operator on the HOV lanes on I-84 and I-95 by July 1, 2019 using a congestion-based pricing model.
To summarize, a Griebel-Frank administration's priorities for transportation are: (1) re-establish the transportation strategy board, (2) supporting the Constitutional Lockbox Amendment, (3) canceling the “toll study”, and (4) exploring options for limited electronic tolling on major highways.
Should Connecticut be cooperating with President Trump’s zero-tolerance policies on illegal immigration or resisting?
We would ensure a respect for the rule of law and due process by ensuring that those facing deportation have adequate legal representation. We will advocate for comprehensive federal immigration reform which includes appropriate security along both national borders and provides a clear pathway to citizenship for current and future immigrants. We will aim to limit the State’s involvement in federal deportation program, while ensuring justice, equality, and safety for all residents. We will support strengthening Connecticut’s TRUST Act, to prohibit state and local law enforcement from serving federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers without a valid federal judicial warrant.
Would you seek to repeal a new Connecticut law that mandates insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions if the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act?
A Griebel-Frank Administration will never sign a repeal, nor propose elimination, of Connecticut’s pre-existing conditions law. We will aim to find individuals, who have expertise in one or more elements of healthcare, who can serve on the Access Health’s Board of Directors. We would aim to provide the most affordable, accessible and high quality healthcare to all residents.
Much of Connecticut is economically and racially segregated because many towns lack affordable housing and local zoning regulations prohibit multi-family dwellings. How would you propose incentivizing municipalities to start allowing multi-family units and other affordable housing options?
Connecticut has a long, rich history of local autonomy and control and we must ensure that our zoning laws are protected. However, local control should never be used to exclude. We must reform what is known as “8-30g”, the Affordable Housing statute, to encourage municipalities to explore transit-oriented development (TOD), and provide support to our state’s 72 opportunity zones (across 27 municipalities). See page 18 of plan.
How should the state address disparities in the Education Cost Sharing formula? What specific modifications would you suggest, if any?
The state must work with the legislature to rewrite the ECS formula. The achievement gap must be reduced -- it is a civil rights issue, an economic issue and a social justice issue. Our administration is committed to providing equitable funding for charter schools and allowing parents and students to have greater choice.
Will you work to regionalize local services with an eye toward creating efficiencies and reducing the state's obligations under ECS and other town aid? How would you go about it?
Property taxes are a major component of the high cost of doing business here in Connecticut. We must leverage existing organizational infrastructure in our Council of Governments (CoGs) in order to find efficiencies. As one example, we could provide 50% of municipal aid to municipalities and 50% of municipal aid to CoGs to encourage but not mandate, regional cost-sharing initiatives. Working with municipalities and advocacy groups (such as CCM) we will identify unfunded mandates and work towards elimination or reduction within our first legislative session.
Will you try to reopen the SEBAC agreement before it's due to expire in 2027? If so, what might you offer the unions in order to get them to agree to reopen the contract early?
The State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) agreement is the 800 pound gorilla in the room when it comes to budget discussions and poses a major threat to the state when it comes to employment and economic stability for the next twenty plus years. We would first propose moving all non-unionized state employees and legislators over to a defined-contribution plan by July 1, 2019. As Governor-elect and Lt. Governor-elect we would ask the union leadership to come to the table to begin 2020 negotiations on base compensation, work rules and include central elements of SEBAC in those discussion.
Guiding Principle: We are not anti-union and value the very important work and contributions of State employees. We believe that it is in the interest of both state employees, their unions, and the state that we make changes necessary to ensure Connecticut remains solvent and has a chance to grow.
Should the government's response to the opioid crisis be to focus on law enforcement to stop drug dealers, or improving access to treatment for addiction and reducing the overprescription of painkillers?
On Day One, Governor Griebel will sign an Executive Order establishing a substance abuse tax force which will include leaders of state agencies, private providers, and other leaders. The Substance Abuse and Recovery Task Force will be chaired by Lt. Governor Frank. We would also follow the example of Massachusetts in making Narcan available over the counter. See plan at page 21.
In summary, the Griebel Administration’s focus will be on improving access to treatment and reduction in overprescription of painkillers while providing the funding needed to our law enforcement to stop drug dealers.
Eversource and some out-of-state entities appear to be attempting to buy control of Connecticut's water resources, and some of our quasi-public water agencies have signed away large amounts of water to commercial interests with little regard to future water shortages. What can you do to ensure that Connecticut residents maintain control of public water supplies in perpetuity?
With many experts maintaining that water is going to increasingly become a source of political conflict in the coming years we must ensure that this vital public health and economic resource is kept for public consumption and protected.
The 459,000 family caregivers in Connecticut provide an estimated 427 million hours of care each year. Nationwide, nearly seven in ten caregivers report making work accommodations because of caregiving, including arriving late/leaving early, cutting back their hours, changing jobs, or stopping work entirely. Would you support a family leave law that provides paid leave to employees who have to take time off for family caregiving purposes?
Yes. The Griebel-Frank Administration would support paid family medical leave. We have to work together across party lines to find the best way to administer the program.
In 2016 the Connecticut Retirement Security Program was created. It will give over 600,000 residents in our state a way to save for retirement at work. Knowing that employees are 15 times more likely to save merely by having access to payroll deduction, how will you continue the implementation of this important program?
A Griebel-Frank Administration will work with the Treasurer, Comptroller, and other Executive Branch officials to encourage residents to save money for retirement, both through the Connecticut Retirement Security (CTRS) Program and with private sector retirement options. It is critical that the State encourages residents to save money for retirement with payroll deductions similar to what is being done in the private sector.
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