Boughton wants to cut regulations, grow businesses

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is the endorsed candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

In a 10-point plan spelled out at boughton2018.com, he proposes reducing taxes and eliminating “onerous” regulations to make Connecticut more business friendly.

“Malloy’s era of crony capitalism and multi-million dollar handouts to billionaire hedge fund managers will end,” Boughton wrote. “We will begin concentrating on growing our state’s base of small and medium sized businesses to help fuel the productivity and expansion of our state’s largest employers.”

Boughton’s plan proposes preparing that workforce by expanding Connecticut’s vocational and technical school system, and to open evening courses for those wishing to switch careers. He also called for computer programming and information technology classes in the tech schools, and incentives for local schools districts to expand online classes.

Looking at Massachusetts as a model for improving struggling schools, Boughton proposes eliminating the Board of Regents, which he wrote, “has become a dumping ground for political appointments.”

While there are transportation projects that need to be done, Boughton says the transportation fund is only expected to be in balance for the next five years.

He calls fo reducing the capital program and costs as much as possible.

“Scaling back our infrastructure projects is not an ideal solution as the needs far outstrip even the most optimistic proposals for capital spending,” Boughton wrote. “But our current fiscal crisis demands that we seek to reign in these costs.”

He proposes ending the plan to widen I-95 across the state, scaling back proposals to increase service on Shoreline East, and revisiting projects such as replacement of the Walk Bridge in Norwalk.

Boughton also says costs can be cut using private sector workers, and alternative means of construction and financing, and by reorganizing the Department of Transportation, which he said “has a disjointed structure with a top-heavy head office,” and moving the policy office to the Office of Policy and Management.

Blasting second-chance laws, Boughton said he would increase the time served for a violence crime or repeat offender required for parole from 85% of a sentence to 95%. Boughton also wants to prohibit parole in violent cases such as first-degree sexual assault, first-degree assault using a deadly weapon, and first-degree assault on an elderly, blind, or disabled person or a pregnant woman, resulting in the loss of a baby.

Boughton said he would restore minimum sentences for drug sales within 1,500 feet of a school, and undo “Dan Malloy’s ‘Drug Dealer Loophole’” which reduced possession of a narcotic from a felony to a misdemeanor. “Those who have dealt drugs and are caught can now plead guilty to simple possession and no longer be subject to a felony,” Boughton said.

Calling public safety a priority, Boughton proposes relaxing laws to encourage first responders to seek help when needed, ending human trafficking, taking steps to reduce traffic injuries, addressing the backlog in background checks at the state level and funding regional fire training schools.

Boughton calls for improved access to job training and mental health services for veterans.

Saying everyone wants “clean water and air, and to preserve the beauty of our state,” Boughton said state government must be stopped from selling space. He also said regulations should be made more business-friendly by being aligned with national standards.

Boughton blamed cuts by Malloy for hurting human services agencies. However, he said, the state could save over $150,000 per person per year by converting state-operated facilities to private nonprofit providers.

A modernized approach to stopping Medicaid and other fraud would net more savings, according to his plan.

The state must rely heavily on local mental health authorities to “address the opioid crisis head-on” and “save more than $7,000 per client per year” using local providers.

The nine-term mayor of Danbury, his hometown, promised transparency and a “completely interactive” government.

Boughton also made “Respect for both the Connecticut and United States constitutions” part of his platform.

“The reason that our government has a constitution is to set forth in writing the powers that a particular government are allowed to have,” according to his plan. “If a power is not prescribed in these documents, then it is not a power of that government.”

A teacher for 15 years, Boughton said, “We as a society have lost part of this understanding,” blaming the reduction in time spent teaching civics, “particularly the Bill of Rights.”

A lifelong Danbury resident, Boughton graduated from Danbury High School in 1982. He earned a bachelor of science degree in history from Central Connecticut State University and a master’s degree in educational psychology from Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.

Serving in the United States Army Reserve from 1983 to 1989, Boughton reached the rank of sergeant.

In 1987, according to his website, “He decided to explore his passion for education and returned to Danbury High School to teach social studies. After experiencing first-hand the deficiencies of Connecticut’s education system, Boughton ran for state representative of Connecticut’s 138th District in order to take his passion for education and public service to the Capitol.”

Mark Boughton