Op-ed: Time to kick state’s reckless spending habits

Len Greene Jr.

On July 8, 2011, the town of Seymour faced devastation on a scale the likes of which hasn’t been seen in decades. A freak thunderstorm dropped more than five inches of rain on the town in less than 20 minutes, creating flash floods all over. The end result left the town of Seymour with more than $2.5 million in damage. Streets, sidewalks, yards, and parks were destroyed. The Seymour Land Trust property at Legion Pool, home of the only fishing rodeo dedicated to the blind in the country, was completely swept away.  To make matters worse, Seymour was the only town that was hit with the storm.

Given the extent of the damage I, along with the state delegation and representatives from the town, met with the Governor’s staff to plead for help. We were met with a cool reception and were given a vague, non-committal response that the Governor would consider the issue and get back to us. In spite of numerous contacts, we’re still waiting for an answer to our plea. I tell this story simply to point out the absurdity that is the state of Connecticut’s spending habits.

Most recently it has been publicized that the State Bond Commission, which is chaired by the Governor himself, will authorize a $300,000 grant to the New Haven People’s Center, a building which houses the headquarters for the Connecticut Communist Party. The Governor’s spokesperson has stated that the grant is being awarded primarily because of the building’s historical significance, yet it seems to me that there are hundreds if not thousands of historically significant properties in Connecticut which are in need of improvement. Why should this one be any different?

To make matters worse, it’s a building used by an actual political party. The state does not subsidize the headquarters of the Connecticut Republicans or the Connecticut Democrats, so why would we subsidize this building?

While the people of the state of Connecticut are still trying to overcome the damaging effects of the recession, the majority party in Hartford continues to spend tax-payer dollars with reckless abandon. Our roads and bridges are falling apart, but we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a busway that nobody is going to use. Our local school boards frantically search for money every year, and yet we’re giving a $300 million subsidy to a company that promised us 300 jobs over 10 years. Towns like Seymour face freak acts of nature and the state refuses to help. Instead, we’re going to pay for a place for the Communist Party in Connecticut to meet and discuss how to eliminate the private sector. Maybe we should kick in a little more so they don’t have to pay for their coffee and doughnuts when they meet. What in the world is going on here?

It truly is a sad state of affairs when taxpaying citizens are having more of their money taken out of their paychecks only to end up seeing less given back to their communities. Let’s get our priorities straight and drop these reckless spending habits, once and for all.

State Rep. Len Greene Jr. is a Republican who represents the towns of Seymour, Beacon Falls, and Ansonia.