A Productive Legislative Session

June 19, 2019

Now that my first legislative session has ended, I wanted to take a moment to send you an update on a few issues I thought may be of interest. I am grateful and honored to have worked alongside my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on behalf of the people that sent me to Hartford.

Budget
One of the most talked about issues is the state budget. I am glad that we were able to pass a budget that, while imperfect, I still found enough good in it to support it. We were able to pass a responsible, sustainable, and balanced budget (on time!) that makes spending cuts, addresses our long-term debt, funds our Rainy Day Fund, & invests in vital services.

Education
I am delighted that with this budget, Danbury will receive $2.6 million more in education cost sharing funds for fiscal year 2020 than it did in the previous fiscal year, and another increase in fiscal year 2021 giving Danbury a total of $37 million in 2021 - up from $32 million in fiscal year 2019.


With Danbury colleagues, Reps. Godfrey, Allie-Brennan & Arconti

As a first term legislator, it’s extremely satisfying to deliver this welcoming news to my constituents and being able to make good on the will of the people that sent me to Hartford. Working with my Danbury colleagues to secure this increased funding for our public schools has been a gratifying experience. The school system and our students will definitely benefit from this significant investment and I look forward to more great work ahead.

I heard from many aging residents in our towns that the rising cost of living was pushing them out of their homes and the community they love. I am pleased to say that we will increase the income thresholds which taxpayers may deduct Social Security income and phase out the pension and annuity tax. I fought hard against any Medicare Asset Test, as we want to encourage people to save for retirement and stay in Connecticut during their retirement years.

The Medicare Savings Program was on the brink of being unfunded. We heard from many people in the community on the importance of this program so it was left whole in the budget.

Environment

To create a healthier planet and environment, which is such a vital part of our beautiful shoreline and farms, this budget will reduce waste by implementing a 10-cent tax on single-use plastic bags followed by full ban in 2021. This measure both protects our natural environment and reduces recycling costs for our towns. The budget creates rebate incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles to help reduce polluting emissions. We passed many different pieces of legislation that move us towards a carbon neutral economy.

We have also passed bipartisan legislation to authorize 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030. This legislation positions the state to grow as a leader in green energy technology and ultimately help Connecticut achieve its renewable energy goals, while also growing Connecticut’s maritime industry.

Additionally, an invasive species measure I championed and pushed through the finish line in the final week of session, is ready to be signed by the governor! As many of you may know, combating invasive species is a big issue for Candlewood Lake – and I am proud to have worked with my colleagues and the Environment Committee this session to get the support it needed. This legislation will help New Fairfield and adjacent towns with controlling such species as zebra mussel and others.

Serving as your State Representative is an incredible honor and I am grateful for your support, your thoughtful feedback throughout the session, and your advocacy on so many important bills. Thank you for the privilege of getting to represent you in the CT General Assembly and to get to work on policies every day to improve our wonderful city and state!

If you have any questions, or wish to meet with me for any reason, please don't hesitate to reach out by email, kenneth.gucker@cga.ct.gov, or call my office (860) 240-8585, or my Facebook page.