(Reminder News) Suffield Taxpayers Get Update from Sen. Kissel, Rep. Zawistowski

July 7, 2014

Article as it appeared in the Reminder News

In an effort to keep constituents and taxpayers updated on the goings-on at the Capitol in Hartford, state Sen. John Kissel (R-7) and state Rep. Tami Zawistowski (R-61) hosted an informal Town Hall meeting in Suffield on June 26. Several local residents came out to sit down with them and listen to a presentation on the state of Connecticut finances and bills which were passed in the 2014 legislative session.

Kissel, despite a sore throat, took everyone back to 2011 when Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) passed his first budget in office. “With the recession and everything else, the state was facing a major shortfall,” Kissel said as a possible motivation behind why Malloy passed what Kissel called the “single biggest tax increase in Connecticut history.”

Zawistowski and Kissel agreed that the fiscal year 2014-2015’s budget has problems. “We believe that there are $550 million in budget gimmicks included,” said Kissel. They went on to tell Suffield residents that a two-year delay on the Economic Recovery Note payments has been approved. This delay, said the two Republicans, makes it appear as if $196 million was cut out of the spending budget for two years. But, Kissel warned, “If you push your bills forward, you’re going to have to pay the piper.”

A move was made this fiscal year to bond money for operating expenses, they said. “If you continue not paying bonded debt,” said Zawistowski, “it pushed it off on your kids and grandkids. The interest accrues.”

Both apologized to listeners for bringing such “doom and gloom” to the conversation.

Kissel told the group assembled in the meeting room that, despite adjustments, Connecticut still will face a $3 million deficit over the two budget years following this November’s election. “This is a reckoning – a reality,” he said.

Kissel and Zawistowski also took some time to weigh in on the legislative year. Kissel himself supported the move to universal pre-Kindergarten, but did not support the raising of the minimum wage in the last round of votes. Kissel, and many others, also supported a three-year moratorium on any fracking waste coming into the state of Connecticut as further study is presently being conducted on the waste material.

Suffield residents expressed concern about where their tax money is going, but also about how the rising cost to live, or own a business, in this state affects them and their neighbors. Some of those who attended were disgruntled with the Department of Social Services, which Zawistowski said was “barely functioning.”

The two officeholders made a mini-tour of local town halls to meet with taxpayers and present their standings. They have also traveled to Windsor, East Granby and Suffield.