[Torrington Register Citizen] Senator Witkos Attends Litchfield County Realtors and Builders Legislative Night

January 24, 2012


Story as it appeared in the Torrington Register Citizen on January 24, 2012

Litchfield County Realtors, builders host Legislative Night, setting objectives, airing concerns

By Mike Agogliati

TORRINGTON — Goals and objectives were laid out by local politicians during the Legislative Night, sponsored by the Litchfield County Board of Realtors and the Home Builders Association of Northwest Connecticut.

The state of government spending was a topic addressed by all of the legislators at the meeting, and one clear message was heard from the two groups – cut government spending. The event at the Cornucopia Banquet Hall, which is held each year, gives legislators the chance to meet with the two groups and hear some of the concerns each is facing.

The groups hosted state Senators Andrew Roraback, R-30 and Kevin Witkos, R-30 along with state Reps. Michelle Cook, D-65, Craig Miner, R-66, Sean Williams, R-68, John Piscopo, R-76 and William Simanski, R-63. Witkos said he has concerns over the governor’s proposal to add sources of revenue and not cut spending.

“What you are seeing are ways the state can increase revenue; through online gambling and advocating for Sunday liquor sales,” Witkos said. “These ideas are going to cause more problems down the road, and spending still won’t decrease.”

Miner agreed with Witkos and added, “This bill, the way it is written will put your local liquor stores in direct competition with the large grocery stores and could run them out of business. The bill will drastically change the way liquor is distributed across the state.”

Miner also questioned how the state can pay for educational reform, as proposed by the governor Dannel Malloy. “I think something has to be done, but I don’t see a way to pay for it unless you raise taxes, and I don’t think you are going to see this governor do that.”

Cook said the need for the state to reform education will be an important topic in the upcoming session and said legislators are hoping to see drafts of documents from Malloy’s office soon.

“I think you are going to see something in terms of early childhood educational reform from the governor,” Cook said. “Reorganizing Educational Cost sharing could also be up for discussion, but we have to figure in the money and bring people back to the table for a discussion.”

Cook said the reform could bring the “greatest change in Connecticut.”

Simanski, serving his first term in office said the biggest problem he sees statewide is the economy. “We have seen the biggest tax increase in state history, additional proposed streams of revenue, but yet we have seen no decrease in spending,” he said. “Connecticut is addicted to spending and until we stop, the economy is going to suffer.

Williams, who represents Watertown and Woodbury, said several things are inhibiting economic growth in the state. “Increased taxes, increased healthcare costs and increased regulations on business are limiting the state’s growth. Do you think businesses are going to want to move to the Connecticut when they see how we as legislators treat them? No.”

Williams encouraged the groups to “hold us to our word in the upcoming session.”