the north face coats mens Connecticut Exporting Too Many Millennials

What are Connecticut’s biggest exports? On paper, it was $5.8 billion in aircraft parts and engines in 2016. In reality: millennials and their families a priceless commodity. This weekend, I’ll be returning for my first high school reunion. Connecticut isn’t the same as when I left. It’s worse off.

They’re in Boston, San Francisco, New York City they’re seemingly everywhere but Connecticut. They work in real estate, tech, finance, consulting and, in many cases, attend some of the nation’s top post graduate programs. (Others fall into the nearly 40 percent of millennials in Connecticut who live with their parents.)

Connecticut is exporting some of its best young minds and innovators.

They’re not planning on coming back. According to a 2016 study from The Connecticut Mirror, the Hartford area retains the fewest four year graduates of any metro region in the country. Among recent departing graduates, 60 percent cited jobs as the reason.

And it’s not just millennials, their parents are jumping ship too. Just last week on Facebook, I saw another friend wave goodbye to his childhood home. Numerous headlines and studies over the past few years have highlighted the exodus of baby boomers and their assets from the state.

But it wasn’t always this way here.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Connecticut was teeming with jobs in finance, defense, agriculture, insurance, trade,
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education and more. The state’s population more than doubled from 1900 to 1950.

Almost 100 years ago, my great grandfather, the son of immigrants, said “No” to his parents when they packed the family up to move to Argentina. He saw opportunity in Hartford. He would never see his parents again. Instead, he lived with an uncle on Market Street in Hartford and just months later enlisted in the Army.

After the war, he returned to Hartford, got married, raised three kids, built a home in the South End and spent the rest of his life there.

So should I, as a well educated millennial move back and keep the cycle going for the next generation?

Hartford had “it.” Connecticut had “it.” Hartford doesn’t have it anymore unless you’re referring to the city’s massive $545 million debt. Connecticut doesn’t have it either. Moving back is essentially painting a target on my wallet.

Decades of financial mismanagement, overtaxing to keep up spending habits and the crippling grip of public sector unions can be blamed for our problems.

The Land of Steady Habits has developed a bad habit we overspend while overtaxing. Our share of the nation’s millionaires and billionaires as a percentage has fallen. We’re running out of people to tax: In years like 2013, we have squeaked by on an estate tax windfall to stay afloat.

Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. and Democrats in the General Assembly made a deal with the devil with the 1991 income tax. Republican Gov. John G. Rowland pushed off bargaining agreements. And, more recently, Dannel P. Malloy and the Democrats gave businesses and entrepreneurs numerous reasons to leave Connecticut.

Something needs to change. If the nearly 100 day budget debacle is any clue, it’s time to change the leadership in Hartford. Democrats in the General Assembly and Gov. Malloy have not earned Connecticut’s trust: they’ve spent it irresponsibly. We need tax reform, entitlement reform, education spending reform and pension reform items Democrats have pushed off for decades.

New, Republican leadership is needed to keep and attract a new generation of innovators and thinkers the next Igor Sikorsky, Samuel Colt or Mark Twain.
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