It is an honor to serve you in the legislature. This year’s legislative session has concluded and for the second year in a row we passed a bipartisan budget agreement.
The budget protects towns, restores cuts to the Medicare Savings and Renters Rebate Programs that help elderly and disabled individuals, and funds transportation infrastructure – all without raising taxes.
My number one priority is representing the interests of Wethersfield residents. The budget increases our town’s state education aid by $1,593,841. We also passed policies that support small businesses, enhance workforce development and help reduce prescription drug costs.
I hope you find the enclosed information helpful. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if I can be of service to you or your family.
Investing In Middle Class Families
In response to recent federal tax law changes, we passed legislation to protect the state and local tax deduction. The changes to this deduction on the federal level will likely increase taxes on families in our community. Under our new state law, towns can create non-profit charity-type programs that still qualify for federal deductions, as a way to both preserve local services and reduce your federal tax burden. Unfortunately, the IRS is already pushing back on these efforts. I will continue to work on lowering residents’ tax burden.
Pay Equity For Women
Women continue to earn less than men. This inequity is perpetuated by the practice of asking for salary history during the hiring process, ensuring that women who were underpaid at their first job continue to be underpaid. This session, I cosponsored legislation that strengthens our pay equity laws by preventing employers from asking about wage history.
Connecting Students To Manufacturing
Continuing our efforts to encourage students to consider careers in manufacturing, we are working to develop mobile manufacturing training labs that will visit middle and high schools to educate students about advanced manufacturing. This continues our work to invest in our community colleges and technical high schools, and reaffirms our belief that technical education and career training can lead students to family-supporting jobs.
A Bipartisan Budget Agreement For Connecticut
I proudly worked on and supported a bipartisan state budget that increased state aid to Wethersfield from $9,590,979 to $10,560,779 in the fiscal year that begins this July. By supporting this budget, I rejected the Governor’s proposed cuts to state education aid to Wethersfield schools (under the Education cost sharing formula). We increased education funding from what our town received in 2018 from $8,013,735 to $9,607,576 in the coming fiscal year. This restoration will ensure our students receive the funding they deserve and the middle class does not have to carry the burden. The budget agreement also:
- Has no income, sales, or other state tax increases
- Bolsters the Rainy Day fund to its highest level in state history
- Restores funding to the Medicare Savings Program
- Restores partial funding to the Energy Efficiency Fund, juvenile justice programs, and developmental services
Making Connecticut Safer
Last year’s tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas demonstrated the ability of bump stocks to dramatically increase a gun’s destructive power. These devices effectively turn semi-automatic firearms into weapons that can shoot as fast as machine guns. We responded by making it a crime to own or sell a bump stock, or similar device, unless you are a licensed military contractor.
Additionally, we took further steps to ensure that Connecticut schools are safe places to learn by increasing funding for school security measures by $15 million. Districts can use this funding for entrance upgrades, bullet-proof glass and security cameras. I also supported legislation that would have looked at how to incorporate more social-emotional learning into the school curriculum. Studies have shown that this helps students reach their full academic and social potential, as well as improve the school climate and reduce the likelihood of classroom violence. Unfortunately, this bill only passed in the House and not the Senate.
Supporting Our Veterans
The budget maintains funding for important programs such as the Bioscience Innovation Fund, Angel Investor Tax Credits, and the Women’s Business Development Council. Our small businesses depend on these programs as they provide resources and guidance for growing industries and Connecticut-based entrepreneurs.
The budget also invests in Connecticut’s Manufacturing Innovation Fund, which supports the growth of our advanced manufacturing sector by encouraging collaboration with universities; providing assistance with business development, technical needs, job training, and educational programs; and matching funds to leverage federal grants.
Reducing Prescription Drug Costs
Connecticut’s aging transportation infrastructure has a real impact on our bottom line. According to a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the average motorist in CT pays an extra $864 per year because of driving on roads that are in need of repair. As a member of the Transportation Committee, I am glad part of the budget includes a long-term plan to move more sales tax revenue into the Special Transportation Fund. These resources will help the fund stay solvent.