Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Connecticut has a new state budget that will put us on the right fiscal path. The budget – nearly four months overdue – represents a true bipartisan agreement that prevents further cuts by executive order. Because Danbury is my first priority I believe my favorable vote on the budget is in the best interests of everyone in our city.
The highlights below demonstrate how Danbury residents will benefit from this bipartisan, compromise agreement:
- No increase to the income tax or sales tax.
- No highway tolls.
- No new fees on cell phones.
- Funding is preserved for higher education – good news for Western Connecticut State University.
- Firefighters receive funding for treating job-related cancer.
- New provisions allow hospitals to receive increased funding from Washington.
- The $200 property tax credit for seniors and residents with dependents remains intact.
- Much-needed relief from mandates on cities and towns.
- Increases Education Cost Sharing funds in the second year of the budget.
- Exempts Social Security benefit recipients from the state income tax starting in 2019.
I am particularly pleased that the budget does not cut funds to Danbury schools. Our Education Cost Sharing allotment will be the same as last year and will increase by nearly a million dollars next year. Also, exempting recipients of Social Security benefits from the state income tax beginning next year will help our senior citizens living on a fixed income.
I want to thank all of you who reached out to me during this budget process and look forward to hearing from you about other issues as well.
Strengthening Laws Concerning Domestic Violence
Connecticut is a leader in the effort to end domestic violence. This new law expands existing laws on strangulation and stalking; identifies social media as a means of stalking; increases the penalty for committing a family violence crime while on probation; and requires a pre-sentence investigation of anyone convicted of a family violence felony. PA 17-31
Making CT A Leader In Bioscience
Bioscience is a growing industry in Danbury and elsewhere in Connecticut. With the growth of bioscience educational programs throughout the state, under the bill, we will take an inventory of all of these training programs. I expect that from this legislation, we will be better able at focusing on which programs should be expanded and which should be scaled back based on industry needs. SA 17-20
The Fuel Cell And Electric Industries - Working Together
Fuel cell technology is a very important part of the renewable energy industry. Electric companies may now build, operate, and offer financial incentives for the installation of fuel cell-powered HVAC and other systems. With more of this technology being used, Danbury’s fuel cell industry should benefit and add jobs to the local economy. PA 17-144
Recruiting Businesses To Connecticut
Connecticut is a great place to live, work and raise a family – and we need to tell others about it. I voted in favor of HB 6749 that will create a working group to develop recommendations for how we can improve Connecticut’s efforts to attract new businesses to our state. This bipartisan effort, which had the support of the business community, will be an important stepping stone for us. PA 17-18
Training Our Future Workforce
This new law enables the Department of Labor to better match employers with skilled employees and training. It also creates a fund to provide training for in-demand jobs in growth industries, a “soft skills” program to help employees develop their interpersonal skills, and an Early College Opportunity Program to better link high school students with community colleges and employers.
The bill also establishes a working group to coordinate existing business support services and requires the department to report on the success of existing job training programs. PA 17-207