Keeping In Touch During The Upcoming Legislative Session

January 22, 2010

I want to begin the New Year right by thanking everyone who has shared with me their concerns and ideas about the many issues that are important to our state. Your input is invaluable, and I hope that even more of you will communicate with me in the upcoming year.

I freely admit that my success as your state senator depends to a large extent on your willingness to tell me what you think government does right, what it does wrong, and how I can help to improve the quality of life for all Connecticut citizens, including those of us who live in the 32nd Senatorial District.

It is no secret that the state’s ongoing fiscal problems have followed us into the new year, and will undoubtedly affect most, if not all, that happens during this year’s legislative session. When we convene on February 3rd, Governor M. Jodi Rell will present her final state budget proposal to the General Assembly and no one expects her speech to be upbeat and cheerful. Despite meeting in special session several times over the past year to address the state’s persistent budget problems, Connecticut is looking at a projected $500 million deficit.

Finding a workable, responsible, lasting solution to the state’s budget problems has to be the General Assembly’s number one priority this year. I believe this is what Connecticut’s families and business owners want, and expect, their legislators to do. Despite the bickering of the past year, I believe that legislators can put aside their political differences and work together to put Connecticut back on solid footing. Anything else is unthinkable.

It is no secret that I believe our state government has become too big and too expensive. Like other Republican legislators, I believe that one of the best things we can do for the future of our state is to reinvent state government so that it is smaller, more efficient and more cost effective. Connecticut is a relatively small state and its already overburdened taxpayers need a government that provides necessary programs and services at a cost they can afford.

Furthermore, the General Assembly needs to be pro-active in its efforts to help local property taxpayers. Right now, the state imposes far too many expensive mandates on municipalities that are either unfunded or under funded. Not surprisingly, this drives up the cost of local government, a cost that is passed on to local taxpayers. As a former elected official here in Watertown, I know firsthand the impact that unfunded and underfunded state mandates has on municipal budgets and local taxpayers. As I have in the past, I will continue to support legislative proposals to alleviate and, when possible, abolish unfunded and underfunded state mandates on municipalities.

I will keep you informed of my proposals and their progress through the legislative process over the next few months. I hope that all of you will keep in touch, as well. As this is an even-numbered year, this regular legislative session will be “short”, beginning on February 3rd and ending at midnight on May 5th. Legislative committees will begin meeting and holding public hearings very early in the session, and it should not be long before the House and Senate begin voting on bills.

My job is to serve as your voice in the State Senate and, to that end, I need to know about your concerns and hear your ideas. You know my views on the issues, and I need to know yours. Please contact me at my legislative office in Hartford at 1-800-842-1421, or via e-mail to [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you.