Working For a Better Connecticut In 2010

January 19, 2010

The General Assembly will convene this year’s regular legislative session on February 3rd, the same day that Governor M. Jodi Rell will present her last state budget address to the General Assembly. The news will not be good.

Usually, the first day of the annual legislative session is festive. Everyone is dressed in their Sunday best, excited families sometimes accompany legislators to witness the opening ceremonies and, generally speaking, everybody is happy and optimistic.

It remains to be seen how happy and optimistic everyone will be on opening day this year when, despite numerous special session days and last year’s adoption of several mitigation plans, Connecticut is still facing a projected $500 million deficit, falling tax revenues, and families and businesses continuing to struggle with high unemployment and other lingering effects of the national recession.

So, I do not expect the first day of this year’s opening session to be particularly festive. Nevertheless, it is extremely important that we legislators approach our work this year with a high degree of optimism so that we can do what needs to be done to put Connecticut back on solid footing. I certainly plan to. We have a huge, critically important job before us – and we had better begin working together to do it beginning on the very first day of the 2010 Legislative session.

I, for one, am listening. I believe that Connecticut’s taxpayers are paying close attention to the state’s ongoing fiscal problems and the inability, or unwillingness, of the General Assembly to come up with any meaningful solutions, at least so far. As a result, I predict that legislators will soon get the message that the people we represent want us to stop arguing and begin working together in a bipartisan manner to restore prosperity to our state. The general public does not care about partisan politics and are not sympathetic to the desire of some elected state officials to avoid making politically difficult decisions. They care about their ability to make a good life for themselves and their families, and their ability to afford to live and work here.

Connecticut’s families and business owners want legislators to put aside their partisan differences and do what they elected us to do. That means working together to abolish the state deficit and to pass legislation that will lead to the creation of jobs and a revitalized economy. I agree.

As I have said many times before, and will continue to say, Connecticut needs a smaller, more efficient, more cost effective state government than what we now have. Legislators must work together to find creative ways to provide necessary programs and services at a cost the taxpayers can afford. We need to resist the temptation to spend more of the taxpayers’ money than necessary. Instead, we must cut state spending and, whenever possible, reduce taxes. Raising taxes should always be a last resort, in good economic times as well as in bad economic times.

In the weeks ahead, I will be explaining my legislative proposals for this year, along with my ongoing efforts to work with my legislative colleagues in a bipartisan manner for the good of our state. As always, I will look forward to hearing from you. I value your opinions, and am always grateful for the opportunity to share my ideas with constituents and, in return, listen to your ideas and concerns. Please contact me at my legislative office in office at 1-800-842-1421 or via e-mail to [email protected].