Sunday, November 9th, 2008
Mary Glassman comes to some interesting conclusions:
Our town is not unique. Connecticut is more reliant on local property tax revenue to fund local education than any state in the nation. Our state contributes only 40 percent to our K-12 education, compared with other states such as Michigan, which contributes 78 percent. As a result, towns are forced to turn to the only revenue source available to them: the local property tax.
Funding education is not the only major challenge facing the state. Connecticut currently loses more young adults than any other state in the nation. That means that as our state population ages, there are fewer young people coming in to fill our jobs, buy our homes and purchase our goods and services.
Faced with these challenges, local and state elected officials must work together to create a long-term statewide plan that sets priorities, saves money and creates regional solutions.
In Connecticut and New England generally, regionalism is becoming more and more interesting, an idea that seeks to deeply link the fortunes of municipalities and states. It calls to attention, during these days where old paradigms will no longer provide answers to individuals wondering how they will fare in five years, the differences between theory and practice. Here’s what I mean by theory.
In another HC article, Jim Campbell offers advice to the GOP in how it can “come back,” providing a theoretical set of principles as a path, aiming at perceptions over realities. He writes
Second, it’s important to reassert the party’s traditional principles. Core Republican beliefs in lower taxes, fiscal responsibility and a strong national defense remain popular with most Americans, even as many have lost confidence in the GOP’s ability to govern. With Democrats back in power, they are already committed to an agenda that includes raising taxes on some and dramatically increasing spending. At the same time, it is hard to imagine that defense spending will rank as the new administration’s top priority.
In present contexts, none of the above hold contextual logic and amount to theoretical political science, as they always have. Lower taxes has never worked in practical terms, as Glassman shows above, and strong national defense must always come with qualifiers. What does “dramatically increasing” spending mean? Last week the auto industry travelled to Washington asking for bailout money. And why should national defense be a the “top priority” when the bricks are cracking at the local school?
Over the next few years we will be hearing a lot about “the parties” and why one is better than the other. Practical solutions will be on people minds. Not the great Platonic bridge. “I believe in lower taxes” in political framing is not quite a logical tautology but it’s pretty close.