Gunfire outside senator’s home shows need for more anti-crime funding in CT, Republicans say [Hearst]

April 7, 2022

From the Stamford Advocate/Hearst Media:


Amid Republican criticism that proposed adjustments to the next budget will set Connecticut on track for a multi-billion-dollar deficit, majority Democrats on the legislative Appropriations Committee on Thursday were poised to approve a $24.1-billion spending plan to start July 1.


The start of the anticipated multi-hour debate also focused on Democratic plans to use short-term federal COVID-relief money to provide more funding for law enforcement, including the state forensic lab.


“This should in no way to be an acceptable budget to the residents of Connecticut,” said Sen. Craig Miner, R-Litchfield, a top Republican on the Finance Committee, stressing the influx of violent crime in the state requires longer range funding, not the one-time spending of American Rescue Plan Act.


“I think it’s a very serious problem,” Miner said. “I think most people think it’s a very serious problem. We know what’s going on and we think we should appropriate some money there. We need increased enforcement. People need to be managing crime.”


Miner pointed out a recent shooting in New Haven that left bullet holes in the home of Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven.


In response, Winfield said he hopes for a broader discussion in the legislature on whether temporary or permanent funds are needed.


“The police are on it,” he said of the incident this week, in which a person was shot on the street in front of his home, sending his family to the floor inside.


“They are investigating it,” Winfield said. “It is just as important to think about keeping those young people from doing what they’re doing. But we’re not good at doing that.”


Miner agreed with Winfield that the public-safety budget is just one part of the state’s potential for “getting to the root cause of gun trafficking, the root cause of the sale of drugs” and other issues. “It should be represented in the budget on an ongoing basis, not a one-time basis.”


The committee slightly reduced Gov. Ned Lamont’s proposed spending plan, adding small amounts to the state’s tourism account and reducing funding for the Consumer Counsel and Public Utilities Control Fund.


The panel’s vote, combined with the tax plans approved Wednesday by the Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee, will become the basis of closed-door negotiations between Democratic leaders and Lamont’s budget staff as the General Assembly heads toward its May 4 adjournment deadline.