The Connecticut Broadcaster’s Association debate was held at Infinity Music Hall & Bistro in Hartford on October 18th.
The three major candidates for Governor kept pretty much ‘on message’ stressing the campaign themes they’ve used in other debates and in TV commercials.
Democrat Ned Lamont saying, “Bob’s tax scheme wold offer a $1.4 billion tax cut for the 400 richest families in the state.
That means higher Property Taxes for you, a cut in education. I’m going to do just the opposite; cut the Property Tax and invest in education.”
Petitioning candidate Oz Griebel; “Only an independent Governor and and independent Lt. Governor not beholden to a party, not beholden to the dogma, can bring both parties together. The moderates in both parties and the private sector together.”
Republican Bob Stefanowski, “Oz and Ned who are more of the same. They want to raise taxes. They want to make bigger government and they want to drive this economy into another term of Dan Malloy.”
A panel of local broadcasters, including News 8’s Keith Kountz asked the questions and the biggest problem the next Governor will face came up near the end.
The staggering $4 billion dollar deficit over the next two years. Stefanowski saying, “You know why we’re growing significantly less thant the national economy? Because of fundamentally flawed tax policy. We need to reduce the state income tax. We need to reduce the corporate tax. We need to fight tolls tooth and nail.”
Lamont coming back quickly saying, “Bob’s plan will stop our economic growth dead in its tracks. It will put us through every two years of fiscal hell. We’re not going to have a balanced budget as far as the eye can see.”
Noting that the Governor has little or no control over 40% of the budget, Petitioning candidate Oz Griebel said, “There are no choices in here that are easy. These are very difficult serious issues. It’s not child’s play about cutting taxes or saying we’re not going to use the ‘Rainy Day Fund’. If you’re not going to use the ‘Rainy Day Fund’ in a deluge, when are you going to use it?”
Just 18 days remain in this campaign and one more debate on October 30th and you’ll see it live here on News 8.
Lamont and Griebel said Stefanowski’s income tax plan can’t work.
The candidates argued their perspectives on one of the hottest topics in the race, tolls.
“We can’t rely on the gasoline tax anymore. That’s become prohibitive. So we should do a toll on tractor trailer trucks. That’s $250 million to fix those bridges. That allows our service to pick up”, Lamont said.
“All of the trouble to get tolls approved and put up the technology that every worker in Connecticut is not going to be going through two to three tolls on their way to work. By the way, that same philosophy is being litigated right now in Rhode Island because it’s against state commerce. No tolls, lower taxes, skilled workforce”, Stefanowski said.
“My point about tolling the HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes is a pilot. Obviously for those who come in carpools, we’ll make sure we’ll find a way that you’re not penalized for that. If we don’t have serious discussion about funding our transportation infrastructure…we’ve got real problems on our hands”, Griebel said.
WEB EXTRA: Watch Thursday’s full debate from the Infinity Music Hall & Bistro in Hartford