Increasing minimum wage
If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation from its high point in the 1970’s, it would be over $20 an hour now. We cannot expect Connecticut residents to support themselves in a high-cost state when a full-time, minimum-wage job pays barely over $20,000 per year. Once we get the minimum salary to a livable wage, we can index it to inflation and prevent this problem from occurring in the future.
Allowing the dreamers to access institutional aid
Right now, an entire generation of children pays into our public higher education system, but do not have the ability to access the funds to which a percentage of their tuition is diverted. This institutional inequity could be resolved easily.
Aid in dying
Rather than watching a loved one die in agony over a long period, this legislation would give adults who provide informed consent the ability to pass when they choose.
Paid family and medical leave
A medical leave system would be relatively inexpensive to administer, and would be funded by employees at a 0.5 percent payroll tax. New Jersey and New York now have paid leave laws and will quickly begin to attract our best and brightest if we do not provide the same.
Regulation of marijuana
If cigarettes and liquor are legal, then marijuana should be too. Colorado just passed the $500 million mark for revenues raised in nearly three years. Let’s focus on how to deal with how to enforce DUIs and ensuring that marijuana doesn’t get into the hands of children, not whether to legalize.
Increased taxation on the wealthy
In the past 30 years, the top 1 percent of Connecticut income earners have obtained 84 percent of all income gains, while everyone else’s wages have stagnated or declined. In the richest state in the wealthiest country, we should be asking our top-earners to pay their fair share. If you earn $165,000 or more, you pay at most 8 percent of your income to state and local taxes, and those who make $75,000 or less pay at minimum 14 percent. We need to establish a tax structure where everyone pays their fair share.
Increasing police accountability
Lawmakers sought to restore trust between citizens and law enforcement by passing legislation that established more police accountability and increased transparency. By immediately suspending any police officer who uses excessive force, prohibiting the use of deadly force, and requiring a preliminary status report to be completed within 15 days, not only will our communities be better protected but our officers can do their jobs more safely and effectively.
Universal basic income
To help address poverty and unemployment rates, we could adopt a universal basic income, which would give individuals more financial security. Under this measure, every person would be guaranteed an established minimum income regardless of their social class, gender, place of residency, employment status or age.
We can create a bank that is better aligned with our priorities for Connecticut by establishing a banking system that is owned, operated and controlled by the state. Not only will this increase access to capital for businesses, but it will spur economic development, and allow Connecticut to partner with local banks to help them grow and multiply.
Property tax reform
Greenwich’s property tax rate is set at 11 mills, Hamden residents pay a tax rate of 47 mills, and Hartford comes in at 75 mills. We can equalize property tax rates by having a single, statewide property tax which would be used for equitable funding of our public education system.
Eliminate property tax exemptions
Each year, $750 million is lost to property tax exemptions for education systems, religious institutions, and government-owned property. A large chunk of this loss is in New Haven and Hartford alone. I believe all property should be taxed the same.
Closing the carried interest loophole
Hedge fund and equity fund managers pay the federal capital gains rate, not the federal income tax. Since these hedge funds are providing a service, the money they make should be treated like income, not capital. This misclassification is costing the state over $500 million a year.
Large employer fee
When big box stores open a branch in Connecticut, oftentimes, its workers are underpaid and profits are siphoned out of the state. Wal-Mart has protocols to direct its workers to apply for state aid. This means the average Connecticut taxpayer is subsidizing these large businesses to underpay its employees. By instituting a large employer fee, we would offset this cost.
National popular vote
Every vote should count and the delegate system we have today is outdated. If Connecticut joins the pact; we become closer to ensuring that there is no such thing as a wasted national vote.
Ranked choice voting
Another name for this is run-off elections. Instead of being forced to vote for the person you dislike the least, because you don’t want to waste your vote, you would be able to vote in order of preference.
No-excuse absentee ballots
Rather than forcing citizens to vote on a workday, we could implement an opt-out mail-in voting system. You would have weeks ahead of time to mail in your ballot, but if you want to vote at a ballot box you could also choose to do so. We would need less polling locations, there would be fewer lines, and it would cost less to have elections.
No subsidies for companies with high executive pay
If a company’s Chief Executive Officer earns more than 100 times the average Connecticut income – around $71,000 – the company should be ineligible for subsidies and grants from the state.
Increasing legislative pay
Legislators, representatives and senators are paid $28,000 per year, which has not increased since 2001. The people who are able to hold this job is severely limited, and attracts retirees and the independently wealthy. The number of working class individuals I have personally asked to run for office is now in the double digits, because working families cannot take the pay cut. What we are left with is a non-representative sample holding office.
Our state could provide funding for municipalities that want to start expanding their Internet capabilities, increasing speeds, access and decreasing costs. This is a large upfront cost, with exceptional long-term benefits. This access would bring up the educational floor, provide better user experiences to tech entrepreneurs, and would bring Connecticut to the forefront of the information technology era.
CEO-pay ratio tax
As average CEO pay explodes to over 200 times their average employee, we need regulations to help our labor force. As a company pays its CEO more, they should pay a higher corporate tax rate.
Presidential disclosure of tax returns
The American public deserves to know who is leading them. For 40 years, this has been an accepted fact, but now it is clear that we will need to begin to regulate transparency.
Ninety-eight percent of funding that goes toward Medicare is paid back out for service. Compare that to 80 percent or less for private health insurers. Government does insurance very well; because there is no research and development necessary. We just need to collect the money, and divvy it back out. A public option would go a long way to reducing health care costs – an important goal when 50 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States stems from a health crisis.
Increasing vaccination rates
Any parent can send their child to public school without vaccinating their child by using a religious exemption loophole. As a result, Connecticut vaccination has decreased by 10 percent since just 2014 – only 70 percent of children are getting their recommended vaccinations by the time they are two. We need to undergo an education campaign regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccinations.
Advocating for statewide net neutrality regulation
With the likely elimination of net neutrality regulations by the Trump administration, I will be advocating for state-based regulation. Multi-national corporations should not have the power to eliminate or limit what we view on the internet. Abolishing net neutrality regulations concentrates even more power with these large corporations, hurting consumers and reducing competition, making it harder for smaller companies to get off the ground and see success. I’ll be fighting for a free and open internet.
Establishing a minimum wage for inmates in state prisons
Inmates produce goods, such as state license plates, that the rest of use on a daily basis. The majority of these inmates are men of color, there for victimless crimes. They are paid between $0.75 to a $1.25 a day to do this work. Establishing a minimum wage for inmates would allow them to save money for when they are released, reducing recidivism and saving the state money over the long term.