Over the past decade Washington has become addicted to red ink. Irresponsible spending and borrowing have brought us to the debt crisis we are now facing at nearly every level of government. We deserve better.
Record of protecting taxpayers and cutting debt. I have a strong record of forging responsible budgets that deliver for taxpayers. I first ran for local office in 2005 because I was fed up with politics as usual. The poor budget decisions didn't reflect the priorities and values of our town. By working hard and listening to the various constituencies that had concerns about programs and taxes, I was able to design and pass a local budget that not only ensured strong schools but also protected lower income seniors from unwarranted increases in their property tax. While the state government was increasing spending by leaps and bounds, on the local level I helped make certain that we use surpluses to pay cash for capital projects, establish a 9.5% Rainy Day Fund, and improve our bond rating, earning the town of Cheshire a ranking as one of the "100 best towns in America" by Money Magazine.
As a state legislator I continued to work to protect those with lower and fixed incomes, and to insist that government programs really deliver on their promises. I introduced legislation to require the state to use standard accounting rules and took on the House leadership by helping to craft an alternative state budget that said no to additional borrowing and redirected limited state funds to the most essential programs.
I will bring a serious commitment to honest and responsible budgeting to Washington, where it is sorely needed. We don't need people who just talk the talk about fixing budgets -- we need people who have actually done it.
Make government more efficient and smarter. Washington has to do more with less. We need real accountability that makes bureaucracy more efficient, requires government programs to deliver on the results they promise, and eliminates programs that don't.
End the Bush tax cuts for millionaires. We must fight for tax relief for those who need it the most -- the middle class. We should end the special Bush tax cuts for millionaires and use that money to help balance the budget.
End wasteful corporate tax subsidies. We should end wasteful tax loopholes and subsidies for industries that don't need them -- like the oil companies and large agribusinesses.
Lower health care costs. Government's fiscal crisis cannot be addressed without also lowering health care costs. The new health care reform makes a start, but we must do more to control health care costs. We should continue to modernize information technology to reduce medical errors and to root out fraud, waste, and abuse in the health care system. In addition, I support allowing Medicare to use its bargaining power to lower the cost of prescription drugs, just as the Veterans Administration does. We also need to make sure that doctors and hospitals are using best practices and save money by streamlining insurance paperwork.
Make the ban on Congressional earmarks permanent. We should make the ban on congressional earmarks permanent and stop members of Congress from loading up the budget with pork projects for their home districts. These are projects that the Defense Department does not want, that our national security does not require, and that our taxpayers cannot afford.
Cut Congressional pay and freeze it. We should cut Congressional pay 5% and there should be no pay raise for members of Congress until the budget is balanced. As a member of the state legislature, I led by example, giving back 10% of my salary to the taxpayers.