On Oct. 26 the Connecticut General Assembly held a special legislative session that cost our taxpayers a total of $1.5 billion in mostly borrowed money. In so doing the legislature passed what it called a "jobs bill." One member of the House of Representative voted against it - me.
My opposition was based on the simple philosophy that we should not raise taxes on each and every Connecticut family by $800 a year to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in grants to a few private companies.
The bill includes tax credits, subsidies and grants programs for private companies. It mirrors the failed Obama administration "stimulus" programs, which have failed to produce one new net job after three years.
The bottom line is that more government spending does not create jobs, it just creates more government, more spending and more debt.
Over the past few months I have talked to hundreds of business owners from across eastern Connecticut. They have simple advice: Stop spending.
The problem is that during 2011, the governor and Hartford's tax-and-spend legislature did just the opposite. The new state budget, which did not include a single Republican yes vote, increased spending by $2 billion. That's right, while facing a $3.5 billion deficit, the government actually increased spending and continued to borrow for projects we cannot afford.
One example of frivolous spending by this administration is the controversial "Busway To Nowhere," a project that will cost taxpayers close to $600 million for a 9.4 mile bus route from New Britain to Hartford, about $1,000 an inch.
The state also bonded about $1 billion for the University of Connecticut Health Center expansion and renovation. Typically the legislature would carefully examine a $1 billion project, but it pushed this one through in just a few days. I had previously opposed Gov. M. Jodi Rell's proposed $300 million "investment." Now Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has multiplied that number by three-fold.
The state has also made a $411 million "investment" in Jackson Labs, a non-profit organization that will never pay corporate or property taxes.
With his so-called jobs bill, Gov. Malloy has won passage of another $400 million to enable even more corporate welfare.
In the name of job creation, companies that generate jobs, which they are supposed to do in order to stay in business, get hundreds of millions of hard earned taxpayers' dollars. I do not oppose measures to create a pro-business environment, but increasing taxes on every citizen and business in the state to hand over to corporations is not the answer.
The real solution is to help small business now.
Connecticut is among the least business-friendly states in America. Companies with less than 49 employees generate more than 90 percent of new jobs. So how does it make sense to raise taxes and fees on families and small businesses in order to support a few corporations and a non-profit research venture?
My call to stop spending is not new. Last month 20 governors met in Hartford for a National Governor's Association meeting. Democrat and Republican governors across America proudly stated they had cut taxes to stimulate job creation and prosperity. Only one governor, Connecticut's own Dannel Malloy, stood out and said, "Our state is a little different."
The only thing different between Connecticut and the rest of America is we have a governor and state legislature that are addicted to spending.
The total cost of the so-called jobs package approved during the special session - for the grants, credits, incentives and subsidies for a few companies - was $646 million before figuring in the interest taxpayers will pay on that amount over the next twenty years.
For all the taxpayers and small businesses who have had endured enough taxes, I proudly said "no more spending" with my lonely "no" vote.
Christopher Coutu is a Republican state representative from Norwich. He is also seeking the Republican nomination to run for the 2nd Congressional District seat in 2012. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.