Gubernatorial Candidates Face Off at CBA Debate

For one hour inside Infinity Hall in Hartford, three gubernatorial candidates made their pitch on some of the state's most pressing issues.

"You know how we're going to get out of this budget deficit? It's growth," said Republican Bob Stefanowski.

Throughout the debate, Stefanowski touted his experience as a businessman, saying that the state needs to be run like a business. He says he'd zero out the budget for all departments and start from scratch.

"No tolls, lower taxes, skilled workforce. A business person running the state, that's what we need to do to keep companies like GE in Connecticut," said Stefanowski.

"The idea that you can run government like a business is preposterous. That's not what government is for. It's there to help create the environment for job growth for certain, but it's there to invest in transportation. It's there to invest in education," said unaffiliated candidate Oz Griebel.

"Bob's plan will stop our economic growth dead in its tracks. It will put us through every two years of fiscal hell," said Democrat New Lamont.

Lamont spoke about fixing the transportation system and working with employers on a daily basis to keep them in the state.

"I'm going to do everything I can to give you confidence that I'm going to bring down the high-cost of government without raising the income tax, without raising sales taxes, and get it done in that first year," said Lamont.

When it came to the budget, Lamont criticized raiding the rainy day fund, something Griebel took issue with.

"If you're not going to use the rainy day fund in a deluge, when are you going to use it? That's what it's there for. We've got to look over this budget over the next three, four budget cycles, and in this first one do as little harm as possible. That's why I would use the rainy day fund," said Griebel.

To keep businesses in the state, Griebel said the governor has to be the chief marketing officer for the state.

“Make sure you take the time to listen to them. Make sure you take the time to tell them that they're loved, the taxes they pay are appreciated, the taxes their employees pay are appreciated, that the investment they make in their plant and equipment is appreciated. We've taken the private sector for granted for far too long,” said Griebel.

When it came to tolls, both Lamont and Griebel spoke about installing tolls in a limited form, something Stefanowski pounced on.

"We need someone who is going to put taxpayers first, who is going to reduce regulation, and who is going to drive this economy so it can invest in healthcare, education, and all the things we need to do. But it's not putting up tolls, it's not yet another tax, it's fundamental change. I'm going to bring that change. These two are more of the same," said Stefanowski.

The third and final debate takes place in about two weeks.

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