Fiscal conservatives pin economic stagnation in Connecticut on the implementation of the income tax, but Mark Stewart Greenstein said it’s not the only culprit.
Greenstein, a petitioning candidate for governor, says the departure of the Hartford Whalers for Raleigh, North Carolina in 1997 also took away from residents’ sense of community spirit.
Greenstein, one of five candidates running for governor, thinks the state should be willing to offer incentives to get a National Hockey League team back in Hartford.
“If there’s a billionaire committed to bringing a team, we’ll find the money,” he said Tuesday during a visit to the Record-Journal for an episode of the “Morning Record.” “We found $550 million for Hartford recently, no strings attached… The state can find money for that.”
Greenstein, who formed his own Amigo Constitution Party, faces Democrat Ned Lamont, Republican Bob Stefanowski, Libertarian Rod Hanscomb, and unaffiliated candidate Oz Griebel, in the race to replace outgoing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
Greenstein doesn’t want to bank all of Connecticut’s hopes on the return of the Whalers. He also wants to eliminate the income tax in just three years, less than half the time of Stefanowski’s eight-year plan.
He believes cutting Connecticut’s welfare programs would allow the state to start cutting the income tax, which would then boost the economy and improve revenues from other taxes. Greenstein believes private charities, bolstered by donations spurred by tax cuts, would be able to take up the mantle and help needy residents.
Greenstein, who initially tried to secure the Democratic nomination, said he has a “socially liberal, fiscally conservative stance.” He supports the legalization of recreational marijuana, and also expressed opposition to the criminalization of prostitution.
He also supports the expansion of gambling, saying the state should allow towns to decide for themselves if they want casinos.
Greenstein opposes the Affordable Care Act, but said the state should first monitor what happens at the federal level over the next few years before taking action.
On opioid addiction, Greenstein said he believes people need to focus more on the risks of addiction. He said many multi-step programs are successful when members focus on the long-term goal of sobriety, for example.
“You could leave a full pound of cocaine on my doorstep, I don’t want any part of it,” he said. “The addiction starts with some desire to be out of your mind.”
Greenstein also said he’d look to work with President Donald Trump, seeing it as an opportunity to secure more federal funding for transportation and other needs in Connecticut.
“He of all people is so malleable — he likes to do deals,” he said.
To hear more from Greenstein, listen to the “Morning Record,” the Record-Journal’s daily news podcast, at https://bit.ly/2oZINtA