Senator Boucher’s Major Legislative Priorities and Proposals for 2015

January 8, 2015

Hartford, CT – State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) Chief Deputy Minority Leader of the Senate Republican Caucus joined her colleagues in the General Assembly at the swearing in of the newly elected 2015 Legislative body on Wednesday, January 7.

“Connecticut has one of the highest tax burdens in the nation and an anti-business climate that have resulted in lost population and jobs. This next legislative session will be crucial in moving our state in a more positive direction and bring prosperity back,” said Sen. Boucher.

Areas of concern Sen. Boucher will focus her proposal on include taxes, transportation, education and higher education. On taxes:

  • Tax free program for new start-up businesses modeled after the New York plan.
  • Tax reform including a flat income tax of 5%, in a movement to phase out the tax as was intended in 1991.
  • Sun setting the inheritance tax and gift tax.
  • Getting rid of unfunded mandates like the prevailing wage requirement that burdens cities and towns.

On transportation:

Boucher as ranking member of transportation committee will be proposing a bills to require the department of transportation to put the rail contract out to bid, garner support for Connecticut to have voting members on the Metro North Administrative board and prioritize spending of transportation dollars on transportation needs.

Boucher says, “Reliability and a safe working infrastructure are a state’s core function. We are in desperate need of better service, replacements, repairs and upgrades to roads, rails, bridges and ports.”

“We need to close the loop holes in state statues that protects (lock box) the special transportation funds from further raids to close budget gaps. This protection can NOT be exclusive to any new proposed revenues such as tolls, but must include gas tax revenues and all other fees, rail fares or department of motor vehicle fees,” added Sen. Boucher.

On education:

  • Address the continuing pressure of mandates as a result of Common Core and teacher evaluations.
  • Create safe school climates
  • Phase in new graduation requirements
  • Repeal the common calendar mandate

“Our local boards of education should have more flexibility and local control on issues that affect their district. For instance, why should lawmakers at the state capitol dictate the school calendar?” said Boucher.

On higher education:

Given the difficulty of the transition from the former agency known as the Department of Higher Education to the Board of Regents system – there are those who believe returning to the old structure may be more beneficial to the students. However, if the new system stays in place the following changes could improve the function of higher education systems that have different mission.

Boucher is proposing five new proposals including eliminating in statute the positions of the two Vice Presidents under the Board of Regents, Presidents of the community colleges and the state university system will be recruited, hired and evaluated by their own individual boards of trustees, individual colleges and universities will be responsible for their own fundraising through their own foundations. Additionally she is proposing the office of Higher Education will be under the oversight of the Board of Regents. The model will be of best practices from successful national models. Lastly, Boucher would like to bring the collective bargaining process to the campuses instead of going through the administration’s Office of Policy and Management.

“The bottom line is we as a collective body need to ask what kind of state do we want to be? What kind of state do we want to leave for our children and grandchildren?” remarked Sen. Boucher.

The new Senate includes 36 members: 15 Republicans and 21 Democrats. The House is comprised of 151 members: 87 Democrats and 64 Republicans.

Senator Boucher serves as The Ranking Member of both the Transportation and Education Committees and is a member of the Judiciary and the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committees.

She represents the towns of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton.

To follow Senator Boucher throughout the legislative session, visit or on facebook at www.Facebook/senatorboucher and twitter at @toniboucher