Election time. Television and on-line ads everywhere. Social media swimming in political content. All trying to hit the target that will motivate voters for or against a candidate, or even an entire party. This column has made it a point to focus on Woodbridge issues and now that we’re in the thick of the “silly season” it is incumbent upon the local Republican Party to present our state candidates in the context of their stances and potential impact on Woodbridge. Draw your own conclusions on national issues, we’re keeping this column close to home.
The most serious issue we face as a town is the lawsuit regarding affordable housing. We’re being accused of terrible things, but the root cause of the situation is the state law that pushes the “10%” formula for affordable housing on all 169 towns and cities in the state. It’s been on the books for decades, but recent legislative changes – imposed by the Democrat majority in Hartford – have created a punitive scheme designed to dismantle local zoning control in communities like Woodbridge that do not meet the 10% goal. We are facing an expensive and likely drawn-out process as the result of the lawsuit. The Republican answer? In the 2022 Republican Contract with Connecticut, our candidates are committed to “take a more honest and equitable approach to affordable housing rules” and “lead the fight for local control of development.” The idea is to change the current approach to create incentives for towns to encourage development of affordable housing instead of dealing with the specter of having local zoning control stripped away (in other words, use a carrot, not a stick). This is a better pro-affordable housing approach. To Woodbridge, and towns throughout Connecticut, this means the one-size-fits-all statute imposed by the Democrat majority in Hartford will be revised to provide a sensible approach to solving Connecticut’s housing crisis. This is what Republican candidates want to bring to Woodbridge – and the entire state for that matter – a smarter approach to affordable housing that starts with local control.
Such an important change must come from the state legislature, so who we send to Hartford matters. State Senate candidates Kathy Hoyt (17th District) and Kim-Marie Mullin (14th) and House candidate Dan Cowan are squarely in our corner when it comes to defending Woodbridge against the public attacks levied against us and have promised to work for legislation to rid us of the state laws that have created this turmoil. It is appropriate to ask their Democrat opponents where they stand on this sensitive issue. Woodbridge’s future hangs in the balance.
Gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski supports changes to the affordable housing laws and has also offered his Connecticut F.I.R.S.T. Plan – Fight Inflation, Reduce State Taxes. On the Fight Inflation side, he proposes reducing the sales tax to 5.99% and eliminating the additional 1% tax on prepared food. This would take a little of the sting out of the record inflation hurting so many family budgets. Yes, Woodbridge is considered an affluent town, but there are many, many families here who would welcome the break. Similarly, for the many self-employed residents eliminating nuisance taxes that you’re now paying the state would offer relief. On the Reduce State Taxes side, Bob proposes making up to $10,000 in property taxes (excluding vehicle taxes) deductible from your state income tax calculations. With our mill rate being the seventh highest in the state, every one of us could benefit. And where is Governor Lamont on this? Do you see anything in his platform that addresses the needs of Woodbridge as Bob Stefanowski’s does?
Candidly, divisive issues like abortion are not on the table in Connecticut. Stefanowski is pro-choice and thus cannot be tagged with the “anti-women” label that Democrats are quick to stick on Republicans. Bob Stefanowski’s consulting work in Saudi Arabia does not translate to his endorsement of Saudi human rights violations any more than Gov. Lamont’s personal contribution to the re-election of pro-second amendment Montana Governor Steve Bullock makes Governor Lamont a member of the NRA. These are distractions we need to filter out to make an informed decision about which slate and which candidates, when viewed through a Woodbridge lens, is and are best for us. The case is strong that a vote for Republicans on November 8th is a vote for a better future for Woodbridge.