Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ashford Democrats send the State a message

At the recent Democratic Town Committee meeting, State House Representative Mike Cardin updated the committee on legislative news from the State Capitol - emminent domain, identity theft, and more. However, the conversation soon turned to job creation and tax relief for small towns.

A recent Face the State program discussed CT's economy in unflattering terms.

...a new study warns that other states are growing much faster, and Connecticut is losing ground, in many key areas that affect business development and job creation.

The legislature should pay urgent heed to this discussion. The issue of tax relief for small town Connecticut is not far behind in importance.

Massachsetts is facing a similar situation and here is what Romney recently suggested,

Underlining the challenge, Romney said leaders of one technology firm in Massachusetts anticipated that 90 percent of its skilled labor would be in Asia in 10 years. He also pointed to statistics that show the United States graduating only 4,400 mathematics and science PhDs each year compared with 24,900 math and science PhDs for greater Asia.

"China and India have a population a multiple of ours. They have natural resources. There is no reason they can't emerge as the superpower. The only way we can preserve that role for ourselves is through innovation. It's erroneous that we do high-level work here and send low-level work abroad. When our market is no longer the largest market in the world, the idea that we're going to be innovating and they're going to be copying is erroneous," Romney said.

In response to the looming crisis, Romney pointed to some specific problems and proposed some remedies. He said we must close the educational achievement gap between racial groups in the United States. "The education gap is the civil rights issue of our age." He also said all U.S. students must raise their standing compared with students in other industrialized countries. According to one study, U. S. students rank 25th out of 41 industrial nations. "Fewer and fewer are performing at the top level," he said.

He suggested paying teachers a $5,000 bonus for teaching Advanced Placement courses, as well as giving the top third of teachers a $5,000 bonus. He also suggested a bonus for teachers that teach in troubled school districts. Romney also favored giving secondary school students laptop computers.

He pointed to some educational achievements in Massachusetts, where fourth graders ranked first in the country in math and English. He also noted that Massachusetts students ranking in the top fourth of their class can attend state institutions tuition-free under a scholarship program he supported.

"I want to make sure that Massachusetts remains competitive." Speaking of the nation, he said, "I want the center of technology and innovation to remain here. I am overwhelmingly optimistic about our ability to rise to the occasion."

Connecticut needs to wake up.

I also want to thank Mike for sending a warm congratulations letter on my election to Region 19. I hope not to let anyone down.

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