112th District Race: How can Connecticut be more affordable?

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The following is the fifth part of a series leading up to the special election for the Connecticut General Assembly’s open 112th District seat, representing Monroe and portions of Newtown. Each article will feature one question for the candidates.

MONROE, CT — Retirees and young professionals often have a hard time paying their taxes in Connecticut or finding affordable housing in the state. So what can be done to make Connecticut more affordable for young people and senior citizens living on fixed incomes?

The Monroe Sun asked the three candidates running for the General Assembly’s open 112th District seat for their ideas.

On Tuesday, voters in Monroe and Newtown will decide between Tony Scott of Monroe, Democrat, Nick Kapoor of Monroe, and Independent Party candidate William “Bill” Furrier of Sandy Hook, in a special election.

The Sun will pose a series of questions leading up to Election Day, changing up the order of the candidates’ answers. Today, Nick Kapoor will answer first.

What can Connecticut do to make the state a more affordable place to live for retirees and young professionals, who want to stay here?

Nick Kapoor: The legislature must ensure that taxes are both fair and as low as possible. As a young professional myself, I could not imagine living anywhere but Connecticut, but it can be a struggle at times.

Giving employers a small tax credit if they hire a graduate from an institution of higher education in Connecticut (within two years of graduation) would certainly encourage some of those graduates to stay in the state and have the potential to create long-lasting residents of Connecticut.

Seniors are also extremely important to our state. Making day-to-day life livable for those on a fixed income is vitally important. That includes not increasing our gas tax, honoring pension obligations made decades ago, and providing essential services needed by our growing elderly population at the local and state levels.

Tony Scott: Property taxes are too high for young professionals to buy a home and for retirees to stay in Connecticut on fixed incomes. Unfunded mandates that continuously come down from Hartford put an undue burden on the mill rate. I will fight against bills that pass these mandates to towns.

Also, any new taxes need to be reconsidered to allow residents some much needed financial relief.

Bill Furrier: For retirees, I like special tax districts that are age restricted. For the younger workers, this is not something that is easily solvable in a meaningful way. Zoning flexibility, especially around transportation and commercial hubs should be encouraged to allow for more affordable options.

Connecticut has lagged recovering property values lost in the last real estate downturn and are now catching up. Explore incentives that help companies provide retention housing allowances for young professionals in industries that we want to attract and develop.

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