State Rep. David Labriola, R-Oxford, favors tax cuts to promote economic growth and take on Connecticut’s fiscal crisis, while his Democratic challenger, James Krochko, promotes an educated workforce.
The two candidates are fighting for the 131st House District seat covering the town of Oxford and parts of Naugatuck and Southbury.
“We need to reduce taxes on individuals and small businesses,” Labriola said. “We need to control spending and cut regulations. We can grow our economy by reducing the red tape of government bureaucracy that’s holding our business community down. We must create a business-friendly climate to create jobs and spur economic growth.”
Labriola declined to mention specific regulations he finds overly stringent, but said the permitting process is way too burdensome and needs to be streamlined.
“First and foremost, the path to recovery of Connecticut’s economy is through education,” Krochko said. “GE left and one reason was there are not enough employees with the skills they need.”
Krochko said the state should partner businesses with its universities, vocational and technical schools to train a young workforce and reduce the unemployment rate of college graduates.
“We’re losing people in Connecticut in droves, especially our younger people, who are not afforded the opportunity to raise a family and invest their lives in Connecticut,” he said, “because they don’t have the well-paying jobs to afford living here, where the cost of living is so high.”
Krochko favors an expansion of the program for first-time homebuyers so more young people can afford to put down roots in Connecticut.
Labriola also supports more job training in the state.
“We do need to engage the private sector in apprenticeship and intern programs in concert with our colleges and universities,” he said.
However, he added, “the main reason businesses are fleeing Connecticut is because of the taxes. Reducing taxes will not only retain the businesses we have now, but attract good businesses with good paying jobs.”
Krochko agrees on the need to control spending. For example, he said Connecticut spends almost four times the national average administrative cost per mile of its roads. According to the Yankee Institute, Connecticut spent $83,282 per mile in administrative costs and $477,875 per mile in total.
“We have to look at our government as a whole,” he said. “We’re spending money where we don’t have to and not spending where we need to.”
Krochko said money should be spent on education, health care and infrastructure. He also favors a statewide system for special education so funds are more equitably distributed among towns and reforming the education cost sharing formula to reduce the burden on property taxes.
Labriola believes a thriving economy can put the state in a position to solve its other issues.
“A rising tide lifts all boats,” he said. “By spurring economic growth, we can eliminate budget deficits, create new jobs and keep our businesses and citizens here in Connecticut thriving.”