“It’s another tax and it’s another cost coming out of my wallet.”

January 27, 2020


(Please read and share the attached Waterbury Republican American story about our recent meeting with area taxpayers in Middlebury. I am listening, and I will continue to fight against tolls and other attempts to add to the cost of living in Connecticut.  Thank you!)


MIDDLEBURY — A small but vocal group of residents peppered state legislators representing local districts with questions about tolls, taxes, and why people are fleeing Connecticut as part of an annual meeting at the Shepardson Community Center preceding the start of the legislative session next month.

State Sen. Eric C. Berthel (R-Watertown), Sen. Joan V. Hartley (D-Waterbury) and Rep. Anthony J. D’Amelio (R-Waterbury) sat facing about 10 residents from towns including Middlebury, Oxford, Seymour, Waterbury and Woodbury Wednesday night to discuss issues the legislature will be discussing in 2020.

Mark Vaghi, 66, a longtime Connecticut resident and a retired Brookfield science teacher, expressed confusion about Gov. Ned Lamont’s plan to implement tolls on Connecticut highways.

He said the lack of clarity from state politicians has pushed him and many of his friends to consider moving out of Connecticut.

“You like to be able to trust people, and I have no trust for the administration in Hartford right now,” he said. “I never thought I would leave Connecticut as a resident, but that’s in the cards.”

Under Lamont’s transportation plan, tolls would be collected on 12 bridges in Connecticut, including in the Waterbury and Southbury areas.

Berthel said he believes tolls are not the answer to the need for more revenue, and he does not want to cut social spending such as food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid.

He doesn’t think tolls are the most efficient solution.

“We can’t afford the government we have,” he said. “We are not making it any easier for anyone to stay. All we are doing is adding to the cost of living in Connecticut.”

Greg Kszywienski, 38, of Seymour, said he is staying in Connecticut to be close to his family, but would move south or to the Midwest if it was feasible. But, he said, he knows people who have already left.

“Most of my friends and most people I have gone to school with, they have great jobs but they can’t afford this state anymore,” he said. “We pay more and more in taxes just to take care of our family.”

Kszywienski said he also opposes tolls.

“It’s another tax and it’s another cost coming out of my wallet,” Kszywienski said.

The people who remain in the state “need to hold politicians to the fire,” he said.

D’Amelio, who opposes tolls, said he understands Kszywienski’s opinion as the father of three children who have moved out of the state because they could not find a job in Connecticut.

His son still lives in New York. One of his daughters wants to come back, but remains in Washington, D.C. because she has not found a job in her home state.

D’Amelio’s other daughter moved back to Connecticut after building her resume in Boston.

“Being a young person in this state, making a good living and still finding it tough to make ends meet – that’s common,” he said.


Residents grill state legislators on tolls and taxes // WITH VIDEO