Witkos, Simanski update Barkhamsted residents on legislative issues

July 24, 2014

BARKHAMSTED – State Sen Kevin Witkos (R-8) and State Rep. Bill Simanski (R-62) took aim at the state’s poor economic climate and out-of-control spending Tuesday during a town hall-style meeting in Barkhamsted.

With a packed room listening, Witkos and Simanski painted a picture of the spending spree occurring in Hartford and outlined the looming $1.4 billion deficit facing the next governor and 2015 legislature. The legislative update, however, wasn’t all bad news: the Barkhamsted delegation touted legislative accomplishments from the past lawmaking session.

“We faced an uphill battle during budget-fix negotiations,” Simanski said. “If our state keeps spending the way we have been, our outstanding debt will continue to rise and our economic problems will get much worse.”

“That said, it isn’t all doomsday news. We were able to crack down on sexual assaults on campuses and make it more difficult for retiring judges to get lucrative, politically-appointed pensions,” Simanski added. “These were necessary changes to the state laws that we were able to accomplish through bipartisan cooperation.”

Witkos agreed with Simanski.

“Clearly Connecticut has a long way to go to improve our economy and grow jobs,” said Witkos. “But this legislative session did have its highlights. I was proud to support multiple pieces of legislation that will help improve public safety, protect the environment and make Connecticut a better place to live and raise a family. New laws passed this session aim to increase recycling, decrease drunk driving, and make school athletics safer for all children – to name just a few successful initiatives.”

The legislators also celebrated a town accomplishment made during the session. The town’s lease for the Barkhamsted Senior Center was up this year. In helping the town negotiate a contract moving forward, the delegation was able to get the center conveyed to the town, eliminating the need for future leases. Through Special Act No. 14-23, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection will convey to the town of Barkhamsted the land on which the senior center sits.

The following question-and-answer segment gave Barkhamsted residents an opportunity to inquire on other pressing issues facing the state, from crumbling bridges and disintegrating roadways to hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and rising energy costs.