In the News
Boughton for Governor Announces First Round of Endorsements
Leaders from across Connecticut are ready for the Connecticut Comeback
Hartford – Mark Boughton is honored to announce the following endorsements from across Connecticut in support of his Gubernatorial campaign:
Former Lt. Governor Michael Fedele – Stamford
State Sen. Michael McLachlan – 24th District (Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman)
State Rep. Holly Cheeseman – 37th District (East Lyme, Salem)
State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky – 106th District (Newtown, Monroe)
State Rep. Will Duff – 2nd District (Bethel, Danbury, Newtown, Redding)
State Rep. Michael Ferguson – 138th District (Danbury, New Fairfield, Ridgefield)
State Rep. Stephen Harding – 107th District (Brookfield, Bethel, Danbury)
State Rep. David Labriola – 131st District (Naugatuck, Oxford, Southbury)
State Rep. Richard Smith – 108th District (Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, Sherman)
State Rep. Bill Buckbee – 67th District (New Milford)
Mayor Pete Bass – New Milford
Mayor Elinor Carbone – Torrington
Mayor Daniel Champagne – Vernon
First Selectman Laura Francis – Durham
First Selectman Leo Paul – Litchfield
First Selectman Lori Spielman – Ellington
Selectman Les Pinter – Bridgewater
Selectman Alesia Kennerson – New Hartford
Deputy First Selectman Len Greene Jr.- Seymour
Minority Leader, Board of Aldermen Steven Giacomi – Waterbury
Republican Grassroots Leaders
Republican State Central Committee Member Arthur Mannion – 24th District (Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman)
Republican State Central Committee Member Thomas Torre – 20th District (Bozrah, East Lyme, Montville, New London, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Salem, Waterford)
Republican State Central Committee Member Paul Smith – 7th District (East Granby, Enfield, Somers, Suffield, Windsor Locks, Granby, Windsor)
Republican State Central Committee Member Robert Hall – 28th District (Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston, Westport)
Republican State Central Committee Member Casimir Mizera – 23rd District (Bridgeport, Stratford)
Former State Rep. & Present Republican Town Committee Chairman Robert Heagney – Simsbury
Republican Town Committee Chairman David Kelsey – Old Lyme
Republican Town Committee Chairman Louis DeCilio – Stratford
Republican Town Chairman Robert Kleinhans – East Lyme
Republican Town Committee Chairman Robert Hurd – Vernon
Republican Town Committee Chairman Jack Knapp – Danbury
Republican Town Committee Chairman Anna McGuire – North Canaan
“I am honored to have the support of such a broad array of Republican leaders from across Connecticut,” said Boughton. “Our campaign to revitalize our state and restore pride in Connecticut by implementing common sense, Republican principles will put us back on the winning path. I’ve done it as the Mayor of Danbury, and I will do it again for the people of the state of Connecticut.”
EXCLUSIVE: Boughton, Hitting Fundraising “Milestone,” Gets Down to Business on “Big Ideas”
January 19, 2018
By Staff- Reclaim CT
“Nobody brings the experience that we bring to this race,” Mayor Mark Boughton (R-Danbury) said. “We are putting together a program of initiatives with big ideas.”
Boughton has more time for “big ideas” in his gubernatorial campaign, now that he hit the coveted threshold for the Citizens Election Program (CEP). Hitting CEP marks means Boughton is ‘freed up,’ as he put it, “to do more besides fundraising.”
It’s “a real milestone for us,” Boughton said.
SOMEONE “PEOPLE CAN IDENTIFY”
In a Friday morning interview with Reclaim Connecticut, Boughton clearly had his eye on a long election ahead, listing off what he thinks makes him the best candidate for governor.
“I served in the legislature for two terms,” Boughton said. “I understand the process, I understand how it works.”
“I’m a small business owner, I taught high school, I was in the military,” he continued. “I think people can identify that and understand that.”
“We did the rich guy thing,” Boughton said, an apparent reference to Tom Foley’s two failed campaigns for governor. Now “we’ve got to appeal a broad base of votes.”
Of course, Boughton’s biggest idea so far, one he discussed with Reclaim Connecticut in 2017, is eliminating the income tax in Connecticut.
Boughton gave more details on the plan to Reclaim Connecticut on Friday.
“It’s not just about getting rid of the revenue, it’s about reorganizing state government,” Boughton said. The income tax will be a “10-year phase out,” Boughton said, because “we’ve gotta make sure that all these other pieces are in line here,” including the requisite spending cuts.
“And it’s really about enhancing growth in the state, and encouraging growth in the state,” Boughton said.
Reclaim Connecticut also asked Boughton about the prospect of a federal government shutdown.
“Republicans are more willing to compromise than people realize,” Boughton said. “Chuck Schumer’s putting interests and needs of people who are not here legally over children who are here legally.”
That said, Boughton said Congress needs to “hammer down an agreement on the DREAMers, hammer down an agreement on spending.”
Of a shutdown, the Danbury mayor said “I didn’t like it when it happened under President Obama. I don’t like it now.”
The mayor’s not the only one who’s busy. The campaign’s also humming along, and staffing up.
On Thursday, Boughton tapped Marc Dillon, a former chief of staff to Mayor John Harkins (R-Stratford), to run his campaign.
Boughton also announced the promotion of Lindsay Jacobs, from finance director to deputy campaign manager.
John Kleinhans rounds out the staff, as senior advisor.
Boughton makes run for governor official
By Rob Ryser Wednesday, January 10, 2018
DANBURY — Mayor Mark Boughton on his first day as a declared gubernatorial candidate touted his idea to phase out the state income tax and streamline Connecticut’s government as the sort of leadership voters want.
“Now I know what you are saying — ‘That’s impossible. It can’t be done’ — but the fact of the matter is the times demand that we think differently and we think outside of the bureaucratic box when it comes to how we govern our state,” Boughton said during a Tuesday news conference. “I believe that our financial distress that I call the death spiral in the state of Connecticut can only be fixed by a radical approach to how we govern.”
For example, Boughton said the Board of Regents had “basically become a dumping ground for political appointments for people who, frankly, couldn’t find a job in the private sector,” and could save the state as much as $10 million if eliminated.
“The state income tax is about $7.5 billion in revenue every two years, and the assumption everybody has is you need that money to run government,” Boughton said. “Part of our plan is to reduce the size and scope of state government with things like eliminating departments, combining departments and a wholesale reorganization of pretty much everything.”
The 53-year-old Republican, who is serving a record ninth term as mayor, made his third run for the state’s highest office in as many elections official at the brief and formal news news conference at the Courtyard Marriott. He later attended an hourlong rally for supporters in the evening at the Palace Theatre in downtown Danbury.
State Democrats were ready for his announcement on Tuesday with a lengthy statement from party Chairman Nick Balletto that was critical of Boughton’s record on immigration and his allegiance with parts of President Donald Trump’s agenda.
“Mark Boughton is nothing more than a cut out of Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” the statement said. “Boughton’s record shows he’d bring Trump’s agenda to Connecticut: divisive attacks on immigrant communities, an NRA anti-safety agenda on guns and a record of opposition to a woman’s right to choose.”
A Boughton campaign spokesman dismissed the statement as “laughable.”
“No amount of misinformation or spin can save the Connecticut Democrats from their abysmal record of ruining our state,” said John Kleinhans.
Boughton did take one question after his Tuesday announcement about the Trump effect on Connecticut’s 2018 gubernatorial race, but the Danbury mayor redirected it at unpopular incumbent Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who is not seeking re-election.
“[T]here is a consensus in the state, based on the latest polling, that Gov. Malloy hurt the Democrats more than Donald Trump could ever hurt the Republicans,” Boughton said. “At the end of the day, this election is about Connecticut — not the national conversation that is going on.”
Boughton’s first test as a declared candidate for the GOP nomination comes Wednesday at a Republican debate in Hebron.
As many as 10 GOP hopefuls could attend, including state Sen. Toni Boucher, former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, Fairfield immigration lawyer Peter Lumaj and former U.S. Comptroller General Dave Walker.
Boughton said he would emerge as the most electable GOP candidate — in part because he has already raised the minimum $250,000 in small donations needed to qualify for millions in state public campaign financing.
Lack of financing was the reason Boughton dropped out of the 2014 gubernatorial campaign.
With the funding hurdle cleared, state residents should expect to hear from Boughton about his economic plan over the winter and spring months.
“In my first year of office we are going to reduce 15 percent of all executive order regulations that impact the business environment, and we are going to stop doing things like raiding the special transportation fund that is supposed to be used to fix our highways, bridges and roads,” Boughton said Tuesday. “We are going to rebuild our relationship with our businesses across the state of Connecticut.”
He added that he planned to implement “a pro-growth approach to our economy.”
“I want to create a one-stop permit center for the state of Connecticut, where you could be issued your permit in a matter of weeks instead of a matter of years,” Boughton said.
The mayor also answered a question about his health. In August, Boughton underwent emergency life-saving surgery to remove a brain tumor.
He emerged from that experience a changed man, he said. Some 300 guests at an annual business luncheon in December saw that when Boughton chose to close his state-of-the-city speech on a decidedly religious note, saying “There are no atheists in the ICU.”
“I have been open and honest about the impact that type of surgery had on the way I look at people and the way I govern,” Boughton during Tuesday’s news conference, adding that he would be happy to provide health documents to substantiate his fitness. “I am 100 percent back, and I feel great — I certainly feel a lot better than before the surgery.”
Boughton Calls on Malloy to Sign an Executive Order Allowing Early Tax Payments
Boughton says Malloy choosing politics over helping middle-class families
Today, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton demanded Governor Dan Malloy join the states of New York and New Jersey in ensuring institutions accept early tax payments before January 1, 2018 when new tax reform laws take effect.
“Signing an executive order is a great way to help families save money. Because Connecticut has such a high tax burden, we are not benefiting from the tax relief that the rest of the country is going to receive. Governor Malloy has a chance to lend a hand to working families and he has decided to snub them for the sake of petty politics. This is simply not right,” said Boughton. “What’s clear is that Dan Malloy has chosen once again to ignore the struggling people of Connecticut. It’s time for new leadership. We need someone who is focused on our resident’s needs,” added Boughton.
Issuing an executive order for all municipalities to accept early payments creates a uniformity through our state, and enables our residents to reduce their tax burden. The choice to prepay taxes should be available to all residents regardless of where they live.
Boughton back at work at Danbury City Hall
DANBURY – Don’t be surprised if Mayor Mark Boughton says something surprising as the November election season matures, and he makes a decision about a 2018 gubernatorial run.
Emergency life-saving brain surgery can affect a man that way.
“I do think there is a message here about how to look at things – differently,” said Boughton on Monday, his first official day back at City Hall after treatment to remove a benign brain tumor. “I have always thought I have been very compassionate, but this has taught me things.”
A man of faith, Boughton has been candid with The News-Times about crying and praying for forgiveness the night before his surgery as he felt the weight of his life upon him.
“Those are long days when you’re alone – I mean my sisters were there and they were awesome – but I was in ICU and they could only be there for two hours at a clip,” Boughton said. “You are alone a lot and you start thinking about all this stuff.”
Boughton appeared refreshed and collected in a blue tweed sports coat and a new scar curving above his left ear. His third-floor office at City Hall was decked with a welcome-back banner, balloons and get-well cards.
“I didn’t get called home, so I may be looking at things a little differently,” he said, sitting down to a desk of presents and papers to sign. “I am going to think about it some more, and when issues arise you very well could hear something different from me than you have heard before.”
Boughton, one of the GOP’s leading candidates for governor, plans to decide whether to run after the November 7 mayoral election, where he is seeking an unprecedented ninth two-year term.
A self-described compassionate conservative, Boughton is the second top-tier GOP gubernatorial contender to undergo serious surgery this year. In the spring Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst had surgery to treat thyroid cancer.
Boughton’s first priority is to get back to full strength – a goal that may take no longer than one month to reach, he said, by gradually increasing exercise and workload.
Although he is not yet back to work full-time, Boughton said he is back in spirit 100 percent.
The mayor’s fans, who know he likes to joke, sensed he was back to his old self last week, when he appeared for his usual Thursday morning radio spot and said he needed brain surgery like he needed a hole in the head.
The truth is Boughton started telling jokes as he came out of anesthesia.
“I was coming out of it with the surgeon and the anesthesiologist and nurses, and I was making jokes but they weren’t making any sense, except to my sisters,” Boughton said on Monday. “So my sisters, who have been with me for 50 years, knew what I was trying to say and they were laughing, but the doctor is like ‘Oh, no. What did I do?’”
Boughton: Income tax phase-out is one piece of 10-year plan
Mark Boughton: A Plan to Phase Out the Income Tax
It’s not surprising Aetna has decided to move its corporate headquarters out of Hartford, but the lack of surprise does not make it less of a jolt to our state’s failing economy. Meanwhile, the same old refrain regarding tolls, the legalization of recreational marijuana, and “taxing the rich” for more revenue keeps coming from media pundits and politicians at the Capitol.
Connecticut flourished as a state without an income tax. Our cities thrived, our population grew, people had good jobs that supported a family and the most vulnerable had a safety net they could count on.
Like it or not, Connecticut is in a regional competition with states like Massachusetts and New York for jobs, and the businesses that create those opportunities. Since the implementation of the state income tax, Connecticut has become less affordable for residents and much more anti-business than our neighboring states. When Massachusetts seems like a tax haven compared to Connecticut, you know we have a tax issue that we must wrap our collective arms around.
How can we afford to repeal the income tax? Connecticut must acknowledge that this a critical moment for our state. Under our current tax structure, we are in a perpetual state of financial crisis. We have an opportunity to dramatically reshape state government, including eliminating the income tax. The writing is on the wall and our current path is clearly unsustainable. The reality is we cannot afford to keep this tax in place. Nothing short of bold leadership and dramatic change will stop the bleeding.
Nine states thrive without an income tax. According to Forbes Magazine, economic growth in those states grew nearly 50 percent faster between 1998-2008 than it did in the nine states with the highest top personal income tax rates. Job growth climbed more than twice as fast in those states without income taxes, compared to the states with the top income tax rates. We need to look at these success stories and implement similar fiscal policies here in Connecticut to get our economy moving.
Many will argue that eliminating the income tax will unfairly benefit the wealthy, but the opposite is true. When the income tax was implemented, it shifted the tax burden from our wealthiest residents onto the middle class because the income tax replaced the capital gains tax of 7 percent, as well as 14 percent tax on major interest. Promises that the income tax would reduce property taxes never materialized, only adding to the pain of Connecticut’s families. Simply put, eliminating the income tax will benefit all of Connecticut’s residents regardless of socioeconomic status.
We need to focus on core state government services such as plowing highways, educating our youth, keeping people safe and ensuring that those who cannot care for themselves receive the help they need. I have always been an advocate of these core government services and that will not change. When we talk about innovation and reform one example that should be employed is the creation of an education equity fund that would remove state education dollars away from the political process and toward a more impartial procedure.
There is no simple, painless way with which to eliminate the state income tax. But I am committed to working with the best and brightest to restore Connecticut to its former glory. Our plan to eliminate the income tax is a comprehensive approach. It redesigns and reorganizes state government and examines the nexus between municipalities and the state.
Connecticut is a great place to raise a family and we have wonderful schools and tremendous talent. We need to get back to a sustainable, and most importantly attractive, pathway forward. I am willing to ask the tough questions and to have the hard conversations.
Mark Boughton, a Republican eight-term mayor of Danbury, is exploring a run for statewide office in 2018.
Boughton pushes for state income tax repeal
Mark Boughton is molding himself as the anti-Lowell P. Weicker Jr.
The longtime Danbury mayor — trying to separate himself from a pack of Republicans with gubernatorial ambitions — wants to abolish the state income tax ushered in by Weicker a quarter-century ago.
Connecticut has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, said Boughton, who blamed the income tax for the exodus of residents and businesses to other states. Since it came onto the books, he said, the state has lost $13.7 billion in net adjusted gross income.
“Obviously, one only has to look at companies like Aetna and GE,” he said. “I recently met with some portfolio managers in lower Fairfield County. Probably 70 to 80 percent of them are leaving.”
The concept quickly drew plaudits and skepticism during a recent rollout by Boughton, who is raising money for a presumptive run for governor in 2018, in what would be his third shot at the state’s top office. The income tax accounts for $9 billion of the $15 billion in annual tax revenue collected by the state.
“I tell Mark Boughton to get with the real world,” Weicker said. “We’re way past the point in this state where that’s in any way conceivable. All that’s going to mean is a huge sales tax, and that will really hurt the lower-income families in our state.”
History of Controversy
Weicker, a former U.S. senator and ex-Greenwich first selectman, said his immediate successor vowed to do the same as Boughton proposes.
“This is what John Rowland said he was going to do,” Weicker said. “I’m sure we’d all like to get rid of it. Just take a look at how much in debt we are with the income tax. You’re obviously going to have to raise corporate taxes, the very thing you’re trying to avoid.”
But Boughton’s stock among conservatives, led by CNBC’s Larry Kudlow, appeared to be on the uptick with his call to repeal the state income tax. The one-time Ronald Reagan budget guru and Redding resident tweeted “Right On!” at Boughton Monday night.
“It’s the right spirit,” Kudlow told Hearst Connecticut Media. “I don’t know if it’s the right precise policy. Whichever Republican runs in 2018, they’ve got to understand this: You’re not going to balance the budget or significantly reduce the deficit or, for that matter, attract new people and new businesses to the state unless you have growth-oriented tax cuts across the board. If the GOP runs root canal with Novocaine — just cutting the budget, cutting pensions for state workers and so forth — they’re not going to win.”
On top of the income tax, Kudlow said, taxes on corporations, property and inheritance, as well as regulations, make Connecticut one of the least competitive states.
“Who the hell wants to move to Connecticut?” Kudlow said. “It’s a tragedy. It’s a great state.”
S.E. Cupp, the conservative CNN talking head, also took notice of Boughton’s proposal.
“Yaaaassss, @MayorMark,” she tweeted Tuesday.
Boughton can use the additional exposure in a logjam of Republicans with gubernatorial hopes, which includes Tim Herbst, Trumbull’s first selectman; Peter Lumaj, the GOP’s 2014 nominee for secretary of the state; and Dave Walker, the former comptroller general under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Also on that list are Mark Lauretti, the longtime Shelton mayor; Prasad Srinivasan, a state representative from Glastonbury; Steve Obsitnik, a Westport businessman; Toni Boucher, a state senator from Wilton; and Joe Visconti, a former West Hartford councilman.
Themis Klarides and Len Fasano, the GOP leaders of the state House and Senate, haven’t ruled out running. Neither has Fasano’s predecessor, Fairfield’s John McKinney.
‘Here’s an opportunity’
Connecticut’s Republican Party boss from 2011 to 2015, Jerry Labriola Jr., said it takes courage to propose wholesale changes the way Boughton has.
“It’s bold, and not many candidates are willing to take bold positions,” Labriola said.
Looking to be the heir apparent to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who is not running for re-election, several Democrats are raising money for presumptive bids for the state’s top office. They include state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, former Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris and former prosecutor Chris Mattei.
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and state Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr. haven’t shut the door, either.
“Like many Republicans, Mark (Boughton) is doubling down on a trickle-down economic theory that’s never worked,” said Drew, head of the state’s Democratic mayors group. “If you ended the state income tax, particularly for the wealthiest people among us, then state deficits will explode even further and it will lead to the dissolution of many public services, including safety and education. It will hurt the economy in the long run.”
Lembo, the chief fiscal guardian of the state, declined to comment through a spokeswoman.
Should Boughton go from exploratory phase to a full-fledged candidate, he said, he will unveil a framework for eliminating the income tax and recalibrating state government.
“If you exist and live in the current status quo, you’re going to look at it and go, ‘where are we going to find $9 billion?’ ” Boughton said. “That’s part of the problem. The vision of the candidates in the field right now can’t see past the huge looming deficits to say, ‘Hey, wait here’s an opportunity.’ ”
But Boughton’s skeptics say that until the mayor fleshes out his proposal, it’s a leap of faith.
“Unless he’s got some other plan to magically raise money or eliminate the vast majority of the state spending, I don’t see how it could be viable,” said David Cadden, a professor emeritus in the School of Business at Quinnipiac University in Hamden. “It would put (the state) in bankruptcy.”
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