Despite Supreme Court news, Bob Stefanowski focuses on inflation
If somewhat consciously, Republican Bob Stefanowski used puns and free “diesel donuts” at Donut Crazy stores on Friday to remind voters that Governor Ned Lamont did nothing to prevent a tax hike on diesel fuel to take effect.
“OK, so here’s the sentence: What’s happening in Connecticut today is crazy. And Governor Lamont is leaving the people of Connecticut with nothing but crumbs,” Stefanowski said, recording a social media campaign spot at West Hartford “I know it’s a bit of a goofy saying, but there’s some truth to it.”
While much of the political world is still talking about the legal and political ramifications of the United States Supreme Court overturning nearly half a century of abortion law, the Republican gubernatorial candidate is betting the Inflation will ultimately drive more voters to the polls than social issues.
“These social issues are important – don’t get me wrong,” Stefanowski said. “But when I go out with people, they talk about inflation, government spending, gas prices, and this governor is ignoring it right now.”
Lamont was one of the governors scheduled to take part in a virtual meeting Friday afternoon with President Joe Biden to discuss how to protect abortion access after the court overturned Roe v. Wade a week ago, freeing states to restrict or ban abortion.
Earlier, Governor and Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz released an open letter to business owners who may be interested in relocating to a state where reproductive rights are protected by state law.
And on Monday, Lamont began airing a television ad outlining his wholehearted support for abortion rights.
Stefanowski, meanwhile, downplayed abortion as a problem in Connecticut, using the same reasoning behind Lamont’s portrayal of the state as a safe harbor: the state codified the principles de Roe years ago with a law affirming the unrestricted legality of abortion by fetal viability, about 23 weeks.
While declaring his support for the state’s decades-old abortion law, Stefanowski called for a change that Lamont opposes: a parental notification rule for minors under 16, as opposed to current state counseling law which encourages but does not require consultation with a parent.
Stefanowski also declined to say whether he would have signed Connecticut’s first law offering legal protections to abortion providers and patients from “civil bounty” lawsuits. Texas has allowed its citizens to sue anyone involved in an abortion in violation of that state’s law.
His running mate, Rep. Laura Devlin, R-Fairfield, voted for the law.
For now, at least, the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court is generating unnecessary news and headlines for New England Republicans who prefer to keep voters focused on inflation, the cost of living and taxes.
The court on Thursday struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants, a decision that challenges regulatory rules not explicitly approved by Congress – and bolsters the role of States in the fight against climate change.
“I will continue to do everything I can to keep Connecticut leading the way, and I will continue to work collaboratively with governors across the country to make sure we do everything we can as a ‘States to reduce carbon pollution,’ Lamont said. . “The climate crisis requires a national strategy and federal inaction is unacceptable. I urge Congress to pass meaningful legislation to avert this crisis.
Stefanowski spoke cautiously about climate change, suggesting opposition to any policy that could increase the cost of fuel or electricity.
On Friday, Stefanowski and Devlin went separately to Donut Crazy stores, where the campaign offered Boston cream donuts decorated with an edible message: Stop the diesel tax. The channel owner contributed $120 to his 2018 campaign.
Stefanowski started his day with a 7 a.m. stop outside the West Hartford store. Foot traffic was light, but Stefanowski held a donut and recorded a video message for the campaign’s social media.
“Why the hell, when you have a budget surplus of three and a half billion dollars in Hartford, and people are struggling to decide whether they should pay rent, whether they should pay food, whether they should pay for gas, if they have to pay for prescription drugs, why the hell would you raise taxes today?” he said.
Technically, Lamont did not raise the tax, which is adjusted every July 1 according to a formula set by state law. The tax increased from 9.1 cents to 49.2 cents on every gallon of diesel, which sells for about $6.
But the governor did not ask the General Assembly to change the formula, suspend the increase or the entire tax, as Stefanowski suggested. Lamont and the legislature suspended the 25-cent-per-gallon excise tax on gasoline, which produced the lowest average gasoline price in the northeast.
AAA’s Daily Gasoline Tracker showed the average cost of regular gasoline in Connecticut was $4,814, pennies below the national average of $4,842. The average cost of diesel in the state was $6,069 per gallon, compared to $5,760 nationally.
“So either way, I understand what people are going through right now,” Stefanowski told his Twitter and Facebook followers. “Try to keep things in perspective. Have a free donut today, free coffee. Hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend. Wait. Help is on the way. We will win this election in November.
If so, how would a Governor Stefanowski tame the inflation that is raging in the United States, the red and blue states, and most of the world?
“Expense control, zero-based budgeting. Let’s take a close look at this budget. Let’s start with a blank sheet of paper. It is growing by two to three billion a year,” replied Stefanowski, a former accountant and business executive.