Waterford residents share concerns about state budget cuts with legislators [New London Day]

March 31, 2015

Article as it appeared in the New London Day

Waterford – Residents who attended a meeting Monday hosted by Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, and Rep. Kathleen McCarty, R-Waterford, expressed concerns about planned cuts to social services and library programs in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposed 2015-16 state budget.

Waterford Library Director Roslyn Rubinstein said cuts to statewide library programs would negatively affect town libraries.

She specifically mentioned the Connecticut Library Consortium, which allows libraries throughout the state to leverage collective buying power to negotiate lower prices on purchases, and the Connecticard program that allows members of municipal libraries to use their cards outside the town of which they are residents.

She asked McCarty and Formica to “please vote to restore funding to library programs.”

Formica said that the state budget would inevitable involve cuts and shuffling of expenses.

McCarty noted that it is difficult to restart a program that has been entirely eliminated and said she was concerned library cuts could cause the state’s library system to lose federal funding.

Others said they were concerned about cuts to services for the disabled. One man said his daughter’s group home had sent him a letter saying its employees had not received a raise since 2008. Others raised concerns about cuts to homecare services for the elderly and mental health programs.

“I will go on the record tonight and tell you that, like Paul, I would not cut services to the disabled,” said McCarty.

Attendees also said they were concerned about how state allocation of funds could have led to overspending, with the state facing a budget deficit.

Waterford resident Atul Shah raised the issue of global warming during the meeting, asking the legislators whether they agreed with scientists who say carbon dioxide emissions from human activity were causing climate change.

Formica, who is on the Energy & Technology Committee, and McCarty said they felt they needed to do more research before they decided where they stood on the topic of climate change.

“I think it’s happening,” McCarty said of climate change, continuing, “Whether it’s totally man made, I think there are other aspects to it.”

“I don’t know the issue enough to agree or disagree,” Formica said after the meeting.

He said he planned to do further reading on the topic and said that he had not seen the topic of climate change come up in the Energy & Technology Committee.