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politics

It's The Economy, Stupid: CT Gubernatorial Candidates Put Issue Front, Center With Final Debate

Gubernatorial candidates, from left to right, Richard "Oz" Griebel, Bob Stefanowski and Ned Lamont during a televised debate last month at the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs.
Gubernatorial candidates, from left to right, Richard "Oz" Griebel, Bob Stefanowski and Ned Lamont during a televised debate last month at the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs. Photo Credit: Screengrab

Economy, economy, economy.

Poll
Do you think the economy is the most important issue in the governor's election on Nov. 6?
Final Results Voting Closed

Do you think the economy is the most important issue in the governor's election on Nov. 6?

  • Yes
    83%
  • No
    13%
  • Undecided
    4%

Although they agree that the state's economy is the top campaign issue, the two major party candidates for governor offer very different plans for fixing it.

And the television ads and radio airwaves are filled with concern and criticism. The Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) sponsored a radio ad this week with Connecticut residents of various age groups saying change is urgent and promoting this web site: www.fixconnecticut.com

The final gubernatorial debate on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. is one last live public chance for Democrat Ned Lamont , Republican Bob Stefanowski and independent petitioning candidate Richard "Oz" Griebel to air their platforms.

News 8 is hosting Tuesday night's live debate along with the Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

A variety of topics, led by the economy, will be front and center when they take the stage at Foxwoods. The debate can be viewed on Channel 8 or online by clicking here.

Stefanowski, a former corporate executive officer, proposes eliminating state personal income and corporate earnings taxes to stimulate the economy, while cutting government spending to reduce the massive budget deficit. The Madison resident has dubbed his campaign the "Rebuild Connecticut Road Tour."

Lamont, a cable TV entrepreneur from Greenwich, says Stefanowski's tax-cut and budget plans lack details, favor millionaires and are irresponsible. Lamont concedes he may have to raise taxes to balance the budget and reduce the state's multi-billion dollar budget gap.

Public opinion polls say residents of the Nutmeg State are most concerned about the economy, but also favor adding tolls back on Connecticut highways and interstates.

Lamont favors tolls for out-of-state tractor trailers.

Stefanowski opposes restoring tolls on state highways, calling them a new tax, and insisting Lamont will toll all cars and trucks if he is elected on Nov. 6.

Griebel favors charging tolls to all cars and trucks.

On fiscal issues, Griebel is more aligned with Lamont and is expected to sift more votes away from Stefanowski on Election Day.

Stefanowski is traveling the state in a campaign van and plans to make at least 60 stops during the final week.

On Monday, Stefanowski toured a manufacturing company in Southington where he slammed Lamont for proposing a new payroll tax.

Lamont, meanwhile, spent Monday in Hartford talking about Saturday's fatal shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, saying that Stefanowski will weaken state gun control laws.

Stefanowski has repeatedly tried to link Lamont to outgoing two-term Gov Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, and his failed fiscal politics, insisting Lamont would offer "more of the same."

Kendall Marr, Stefanowski's campaign spokesman, said in a statement: "After finally realizing that Connecticut residents are tired of the horrible economic policies of Dan Malloy, Ned is desperately trying to reinvent himself. . . . Why should we suddenly believe Ned now?”

Lamont proposed freeing businesses with less than $10,000 in taxable personal property from that tax as a way to help startups and small businesses.

Lamont cited his role among business leaders in bringing the India-based Infosys to Hartford, where the tech firm is expected to hire 1,000 employees. During last month's debate in New Haven, Stefanowski charged that Infosys is an out-sourcing firm.

“It didn’t happen by chance,” Lamont said of the Infosys deal. “It happened because we convened a group of business leaders including Travelers, the head of Aetna, the head of Hartford HealthCare, and the head of Stanley Black and Decker to convince Infosys to build its new training and innovation hub in Hartford.”

Lamont also has promised to work with business, education and labor leaders to create more apprentice training programs and invest more on the state’s vocational-and-agricultural tech high school systems.

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