Connecticut has a history of opportunity and promise. But people across our district and our state now fear that neither they nor their children can have a future here.

Over the last decade, Connecticut’s economy has shrunk by 8%, and it still hasn’t recovered all jobs lost during the recession. Home prices have fallen and remain fragile. We have one of the country’s highest overall tax burdens, one of the most unfriendly business climates, and massive unfunded retirement obligations. Even after two historic tax increases, we’re facing a $4.5-billion deficit in the next biennium. All this creates an environment of financial and job insecurity that’s driving people and businesses to other states.

It’s urgent to restore Connecticut’s economy. How? Reduce tax pressure to help retirees, attract graduates and businesses, and grow the tax base. Reduce spending by renegotiating state union contracts, streamlining government, optimizing technology, and providing services through nonprofits. Stop borrowing for nonessential projects. Pay off debt and reduce unfunded liabilities. Implement an aggressive economic development plan grounded in consistent, sound fiscal and regulatory policy. Invest in education, transportation infrastructure, and critical services for the needy.

We can succeed if the legislature rises above politics to face the facts and address the issues. It’s possible: we’ve passed many bipartisan bills in areas like education, jobs, gun safety, pay equity, and energy. Now, we must focus on working together to ensure that everyone can count on a future in Connecticut. It’s a matter of respect for all our residents.