Sampson, Mastrofrancesco Respond to CT House GOP Proposed $50M Restaurant Aid  

December 17, 2020

Time for government to get out of the way and let these businesses, customers make decisions for themselves.


Yesterday, the CT House Republican caucus leadership released their plan for a bailout of “targeted” restaurants and bars. ( Republican State Senator Rob Sampson and Republican State Representative Gale Mastrofrancesco have issued the following statement in response.

We share the concerns of our Republican colleagues about the damage being done to Connecticut restaurants. We also strongly support returning tax dollars to overtaxed citizens. However, this specific proposal is misguided, and we believe it to be counterproductive.

Senator Sampson asks “Where will the money come from to support these ailing restaurants? From other people who are also struggling of course. What aid is offered countless other businesses and individuals who continue to struggle as a direct result of the lockdowns and impositions? Why are landlords and gym owners not being helped in the same way? Offering assistance is a nice gesture but it is worth noting that these businesses are suffering because of the government’s inexplicable and unscientific response, and not the virus itself.

This proposal exemplifies big government policy making, and I am disappointed to see my Republican colleagues support it. I’ve been speaking out for the last six months in opposition to pseudo-science and government overreach. Sadly, I have had little help from most of my Republican colleagues (with a few courageous and patriotic exceptions) and now I see the Republican party leadership in the state has progressed from pleading for the Governor’s attention to also abetting a gross abuse of power. The Republican Party exists to defend individual liberty – not government transfer payments, picking winners or losers, or prolonging an unnecessary and unconstitutional lockdown.”

Rep Mastrofrancesco commented “Having family in business that have suffered through the pandemic due to the governor’s restrictions, I am sympathetic to the goals of the republican proposal. It will undoubtedly serve to help some struggling restaurants and bars in the short term. However, it falls short of addressing the long-term economic impact that Governor Lamont and the Democrat party’s response to the pandemic has had on all our businesses and families.

Offering small amounts of money to certain restaurants and bars while still restricting their ability to operate and make a living only treats the symptoms and not the cause of the problem. There are also many other businesses that have suffered due to the governor’s restrictions – like movie theatres, bowling centers, churches, sporting events, and even landlords not getting paid – just to name a few.

I am extremely concerned that this type of proposal sends the wrong message and will only prolong the governor’s broad executive powers which are set to expire on Feb 9th. We are in the tenth month of the so-called 2 week shut down to “flatten the curve.” The original goal was to prevent our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Now there is no end in sight, nor has there been any legitimate, let alone bipartisan, discussion. If we want to truly help our struggling businesses, we need to restore the legislature’s law-making authority and end the unnecessary restrictions on businesses of all types.”

Sampson added “I find it offensive that our state government, and most municipal governments, have done nothing to limit their own expenses and the resulting cost to each of us as taxpayers. If they want to do something productive, start by shutting down aspects of the government and reducing the tax burden. Most of all, get out of the way and let these businesses and their customers make decisions for themselves. This is what it means to live in a free country.”

We certainly don’t blame restaurant owners in the state for seeking relief. We have been frequenting local restaurants regularly since this all began to support them. We encourage them to use their strength in numbers to remind Governor Lamont and the General Assembly that the government is supposed to work for them, not the other way around. Tell Governor Lamont that no one is forced to visit your establishments against their will, and that you simply want an opportunity to serve your customers and earn a living.

It is far past time for us to reclaim our state, country, and way of life from those who seek to limit us as free people.


Sen. Sampson serves the 16th Senatorial District representing Cheshire, Prospect, Southington, Waterbury and Wolcott.


Rep. Mastrofrancesco serves the 80th Assembly District representing Southington and Wolcott.


Both were reelected to serve their second terms in their respective seats in November 2020.