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Stefanowski eyes gubernatorial seat

Ballotpedia

Justin Dinis, Staff Reporter

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On November 6, 2018, the Connecticut gubernatorial election will take place to elect the next Governor and Lieutenant Governor, along with Connecticut’s Class I U.S. Senate seat. The 2018 gubernatorial race candidates for governor are 2006 Democratic Senate nominee and businessman Ned Lamont, Republican businessman Bob Stefanowski, and Independent Oz Griebel.

Connecticut does not have gubernatorial term limits, so Governor Dannel Malloy is eligible to run for a third term, but has declined to do so.

Stefanowski is a political newcomer, winning the Republican five-way primary on August, 13, 2018. Stefanowski received 42,119 votes, beating out runner-up Mark Boughton, and candidates David Stemerman, Tim Herbst, and Steve Obsitnik.

Since becoming involved in politics, he has dealt with a couple controversies. He hasn’t voted in over a decade, 16 years to be exact, to which he attributes to living overseas and traveling extensively.

Stefanowski has a lot of plans for the state of Connecticut if he is to be elected governor, mainly centered around the state’s economy, due to the fact Connecticut has one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. Stefanowski wants to solve this issue, as well as, attempt to counter out of control spending, job losses, a declining population, and a dysfunctional government.

For starters, he wants to phase out corporate income tax and business entity tax over two years, state income tax over 8 years, and also completely eliminate gift and estate taxes as soon as possible. These taxes only add approximately .8 percent of the state’s total tax revenue, or $160 million, but takes a huge toll on the state’s economy. Specifically, these gift and estate taxes drive people to other tax-free states, as Connecticut is the only state that has both taxes.

To add on, approximately $6 billion of adjusted gross income has left Connecticut for Florida. The state also lost $1.3 billion in reported adjusted gross income in just 2015. Thus, Stefanowski wants to attempt to keep retirees in the state of Connecticut, instead of moving to a different state.

Besides retaining retirees, Stefanowski wants to also retain recent graduates. Connecticut tops the national charts of the highest-earning graduates, but most of these graduates move to a different state, such as Massachusetts or New York. The current business climate is not attractive or favorable to many young adults, and thus, Stefanowski wants to make the climate more welcoming.

Additionally, Stefanowski wants to contract out certain government services, such as the DMV, and move them to the private sector, or the part of the national economy that is not under direct government control. California’s DMV, for example, has successfully implemented a Business Partner Automation Program (BPA), which allows industries to process vehicle-related transactions from remote locations. In addition, Stefanowski wants to implement zero-based budgeting to reduce spending. Zero-based budgeting is focusing only on the services the state absolutely needs while finding cheaper alternatives to do everything else. To achieve this, Stefanowski plans to review every department and agency for waste, fraud, and abuse. Furthermore, he wants to reward employees with cost saving ideas.

Moreover, Stefanowski wants to enact a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. This includes a 10-year term limit for state legislators and an 8-year term for governor, along with the ability for citizens to recall an elected official who doesn’t live up to their promises. He wants to give voters referendum power, which gives voters the power to approve or disprove proposed legislation. Furthermore, he will try to impose a constitutional amendment to require a supermajority to enact any tax or fee increase.  

Stefanowski also has a plan to help small businesses in the state of Connecticut. Between the years 19776 and 1992, Connecticut had the highest rate of job creation in the entire country. Afterward, however, this came to a halt as the state income tax was passed. Stefanowski has organized an Economic Advisory Council of small and medium-sized business owners to make sure his plan will work to grow jobs in Connecticut.

Stefanowski wants to also modernize Connecticut’s infrastructure. In a recent US News study, only 14.6% of Connecticut’s residents said they were satisfied with the state’s current infrastructure. To achieve this, Stefanowski wants to improve the approval process for major construction programs, spend more money on bettering infrastructure, and get funding from local banks.

 

Stefanowski was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and is the grandson of Polish immigrants. His father worked for the Southern New England Telephone Company and operated the scoreboard at the Yale Bowl for 40 years, where Stefanowski worked as an usher. His mother returned to work to put him through college without relying on financial aid. Stefanowski attended Connecticut public schools, graduated from Fairfield University, received a Masters degree in finance at Cornell University, and is the first generation in his family to attend college.

Stefanowski currently resides in Madison, Connecticut, with his wife Amy and three daughters, Lauren (23), Rachel (19), and Meghan (15).  

Stefanowski has over 30 years of business experience, including many high-level positions. He was Chief Executive Officer of several, $100 million-plus divisions of General Electric from 1994 to 2007. He was also Chief Financial Officer of UBS Investment Bank where he managed $500 billion in assets across 35 countries, and reduced costs at the bank by over $700 million. Moreover, Stefanowski was Chief Executive Officer of DFC Global Corporation in London and Philadelphia.

Stefanowski has also published books on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and has conducted lectures on finance at top-tier universities.

“I had the pleasure of working for Bob. I witnessed him negotiate deals, balance risk, stand up for his beliefs and do it with integrity. He is the best person to lead Connecticut,” Irene Mcgeachy, a former employee at General Electric, said.  

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Stefanowski eyes gubernatorial seat