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Ahead of primary, Stemerman promotes his business-minded approach in Mystic

August 7, 2018

Mystic — Standing in the Lighthouse Bakery, Republican gubernatorial candidate David Stemerman and Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons want to make a point about tourism.

The men reach into their wallets. Stemerman doesn’t have a 3. Their point: every 3 in tax revenues, a statistic often cited by the tourism industry.

That’s why, Stemerman said, he wants to lower Connecticut’s hotel lodging tax, which is at 15 percent, and increase, or at least restore, the tourism budget.

A day after announcing his plan for eastern Connecticut, which includes his tourism proposals, Stemerman made a stop in Stonington, where he received a warm welcome from Simmons.

Simmons, who said “I don’t endorse,” carried around a hard copy of the Hartford Courant’s endorsement of Stemerman on the Republican side tucked in his back pocket.

Stemerman, 49, of Greenwich, who is married with five children, is one of five Republicans on the ballot for the Aug. 14 primary. It’s his first time running for political office.

The two men visited several businesses on the Stonington side of Mystic on Tuesday afternoon, including two owned by Simmons’ son-in-law. In visiting with business owners, the two pushed for eliminating the business-entity tax, a 3 billion in taxes, including cutting personal income taxes and reducing the state’s tax brackets from seven to three, and eliminating the business entity tax.

To pay for that, Stemerman is proposing $2 billion in spending cuts, which he said would come from privatizing health care and social services, and “attracting” private investment and management of the state’s bridges, roads and airports. Other savings would come from restructuring state employee bargaining agreements, reducing the state employee compensation to match the level of the private sector and reducing the number of state employees, he said.

j.bergman@theday.com

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