Bob Stefanowski was the first 2018 gubernatorial candidate to sign a pledge not to raise taxes and drafted his plan to eliminate the income tax with help from an advisor to two Republican presidents.
So when opponent David Stemerman hammered Stefanowski for being registered as a Democrat last year, Stefanowski called the attack a desperation move.
“My record speaks for itself, my plan speaks for itself,” Stefanowski said Wednesday during a visit to the Record-Journal for an episode of the “Morning Record.” “I’m going to govern this state with responsible Republican fiscal discipline, and anyone who says otherwise is, quite honestly, wrong and lashing out.”
Stefanowski and Stemerman are both running in the Aug. 14 primary. They, along with Steve Obsitnik, are running on their business experience, but also face endorsed candidate Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and former Trumbull first selectman Tim Herbst.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has announced he won’t seek re-election.
Stefanowski quickly responded to Stemerman’s criticism, launching an ad last week that notes Stemerman was also registered as a Democrat.
Stefanowski also pointed out that President Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan were both registered as Democrats.
He also touted endorsements by Sen. Len Suzio, R-Meriden, among the most conservative state senators, and Peter Lumaj, regarded as the most conservative gubernatorial candidate prior to dropping out.
Stefanowski is one of two Republicans who is proposing a phase out of the state income tax, saying it can be done in eight years. Boughton is also proposing an eventual elimination, but Stefanowski worked with Arthur Laffer, an economic advisor for Reagan and Trump, on his plan.
He also signed Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection” pledge.
To account for tax cuts while also balancing a $4.5 billion two-year deficit, he would privatize the Department of Motor Vehicle and close Malloy’s Washington, D.C. office, among other cuts. He also said economic growth from his tax cuts would increase state revenues in the future.
Stefanowski also said he wants to leverage private donations to fund transportation projects, opposes tolls, and supports expansions of gambling. He didn’t voice opposition to recreational marijuana, but he said he has concerns that need to be addressed before supporting it.
He worked as an executive for several companies, included General Electric, UBS Investment Bank and, most recently, DFC Global Corp.
For more from Stefanowski, listen to the “Morning Record,” the Record-Journal’s daily news podcast, at https://bit.ly/2A9Y57h