Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We worked together to pass significant legislation during the 2016 session of the General Assembly to help protect and improve the quality of life for Connecticut families.

This was a session dominated by the budget. Although there were no easy solutions, we approved a budget that is balanced, without tax or fee increases, without borrowing, and without dipping into the Rainy Day Fund.

Improving public health, increasing public safety, and encouraging financial security for everyone were featured elements of some of the major bills approved by the legislature this year.

Since the Small Business Express Program was established in 2012, 20 companies from Meriden and Middlefield have been awarded low cost loans under this innovative program.

Keeping Connecticut a great place to live, work, and raise a family is our ongoing responsibility. Though the 2016 legislative session presented one of the toughest budget challenges in decades, we succeeded to help move our state forward.

Sincerely,


Economic News

Legislators have always understood the importance of promoting job growth in Connecticut. To improve the state’s business climate, we passed several laws this session that establish an Entrepreneur Learner’s Permit Pilot Program, and encourage careers in manufacturing.

Here are some economic indicators for the state of Connecticut from The Connecticut Economic Digest July ‘16 Issue:

  • Manufacturing production workers’ hours have increased 4.5% and earnings are up 8.4% from April 2015 to April 2016
  • Connecticut personal income is projected to rise 2.8% and manufacturing jobs are holding steady
  • Consumer price index increased by only 1%
  • Business starts up 23% year over year
  • Terminations were down 7.8%
  • Unemployment level markets have markedly decreased over the past 5 years
  • Meriden’s unemployment rate decreased 37% to the current rate of 6.9%
  • Middlefield’s unemployment rate decreased 33% to the current rate of 4.5%

Energy

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority announced that standard service electric rates for the second half of 2016 will be at their lowest in more than a decade and are going down for a large segment of Eversource Energy customers (formerly CL&P). Eversource’s residential generation rate, a cost driver on Connecticut electric bills, will decrease nearly 3 cents per kilowatt hour, from 9.5 cents to 6.6 cents, a 31% decrease. Remember to check your utility bill for a number to call if you would like the standard offer through Eversource. These new standard service rates will take effect July 1 and last through the end of the year. The new, lower standard service rate does not mean, however, that people should stop shopping for the best bargain on the price of electricity in Connecticut’s competitive marketplace.


Ending The Sales Tax On Parking In State Parks

Helping municipalities to meet their budgetary needs and keeping taxes in check have always been priorities - this measure accomplishes both. To relieve the cost associated with collecting the current sales tax on parking fees, we exempted seasonal parking lots or parking lots operated by municipalities from the sales and use tax. This not only aids the municipalities, but also will save consumers money.


Farms

To boost our state’s agriculture business, we are encouraging companies to work with farmers to provide locally grown products to our schoolchildren. We also improve the database for the Connecticut FarmLink program, which connects those who want to sell their farm or land with those who wish to buy it.  Lastly, farm wineries will have the opportunity to sell wine two hours earlier time than they are currently allowed.


Pollinators

Honeybees don’t just give us delicious honey, as pollinators they’re also crucial to the environment and local agriculture. That’s why we’ve passed legislation to address the collapse of bee colonies and ensure our pollinators remain healthy. This legislation will prohibit the use of certain harmful pesticides and encourage the planting of pollinator-friendly vegetation.


Animal Cruelty

This year, we sent a message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated in Connecticut. We passed legislation that makes malicious and intentional animal cruelty a class C felony, which carries the potential of jail time or a fine of up to $10,000. The legislature also approved a law that aims to increase animal cruelty conviction rates by allowing judges to appoint volunteer legal advocates to assist prosecutors in animal cruelty cases.