Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you for giving me the privilege to represent you in the General Assembly. This session, I was appointed as the new Vice Chair for the General Law Committee. I am proud to play an instrumental role in ensuring Danbury’s future continues to move in the right direction.
This session, I worked with my colleagues in the General Assembly on essential legislation that will make our state’s energy future a priority. This legislation increases our state targets for use of renewable energy over the next ten years, expands towns’ ability to use renewables, ensures better protections for our energy efficiency funding; and restores $10 million to help homeowners make energy efficiency upgrades.
I also secured bonding funds for the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury, and in a major school construction bill I negotiated a higher reimbursement for the construction project on the Westside Middle School Academy from 62% to 80%.
Additionally I worked with legislative leadership to ensure that the Special Transportation Fund retained its funding in this year’s bipartisan midterm budget adjustments so that the Department of Transportation will cancel its planned fare increases and service cuts to our rail and bus service. As we continue to work to fix our transportation infrastructure, I welcome your feedback and will continue to work hard to fix our roads, rails, bridges, and reduce traffic across our state, without putting the cost burden on commuters.
Please read through the rest of this newsletter with information on some of the other major legislation I helped to push through this year. As always, I welcome your input and appreciate all those who have contacted me over the last year. Please continue to reach out at any time.
David Arconti Jr.
Business Growth And Job Creation
One of my top priorities is to support business growth, job creation, and workforce training programs to grow our economy. I was proud to support several bills that work towards those goals, some of which include:
- Expanding Mobile Manufacturing Training Labs: This bill aims to expand mobile manufacturing labs to community colleges and public schools across the state so that students can learn manufacturing skills. (SA 18-24)
- Expedited Permitting for Businesses: These laws (PA 18-146 and SA 18-17) will improve the permitting process and create a one-stop, online permit portal. Together, the legislation gets companies up-and-running with new jobs for the economy – faster and with less red tape.
- The Connecticut Made Initiative: The new Made in Connecticut initiative highlights the many small businesses that make or manufacture their products locally. To learn more, visit: www.ct.gov/ctmade
For the second time in just over six months, the General Assembly came together to pass a historic, bipartisan budget that included the following:
- No income, sales or other state tax increases
- Increases State Aid for Education over 2018 levels
- Restores funding to Medicare Savings Program that helps low-income elderly individuals and the disabled pay for the cost of medicine and health care premiums
- Restores partial funding to the Energy Efficiency Fund, juvenile justice programs and developmental services
- Maintains reserves in the “Rainy Day Fund” at the highest level in over a decade
- Restores $12 million to the Husky A program
The bipartisan budget also restores solvency to the Special Transportation Fund (STF). The budget allows the state to avoid service cuts to mass transit, any fare increases, and keeps all of our transportation projects on track.
Danbury Women’s Center
The Women’s Center of Greater Danbury provides services to more than 13,000 women, children and men in 13 area towns. Thanks to a nearly $1 million grant-in-aid from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services the Center will be getting a variety of upgrades and improvements. This includes a new roof, windows, heating and cooling systems, masonry repairs and more.
This year’s school construction allocation saves City taxpayers a significant amount of money. Most important, the legislation allows for the relocatable classroom project at Westside Middle School Academy – adding much-needed space that will improve the school’s learning environment. I pushed hard to get an 80% reimbursement rate from the state which should save us as much as $1.1 million on this project.
Save Our Lakes License Plate
Our lakes, ponds and rivers offer the natural environment and recreational opportunities that add to the quality of life in Connecticut. Unfortunately, some of our waterways are under siege from aquatic invasive species so we need to set aside funds to fight back. Beginning January 2020, the DMV will offer commemorative “Save Our Lakes” license plates with an additional $15 donation placed in a fund to preserve our lakes and ponds. The fund will be especially helpful with efforts to stop cyanobacteria blooms in Candlewood Lake.
Prescription Drug Costs
Recognizing that prescription drug prices are the number one driver of rising healthcare costs, we passed legislation to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable by increasing transparency and requiring them to explain large price increases for drugs that have a substantial cost to the state. Additionally, insurance companies must now submit information about which drugs are most frequently prescribed and which are provided at the greatest cost. By collecting more data and holding drug companies accountable, we can get closer to lowering drug costs for Connecticut residents.
Connecticut’s Energy Future
I am very pleased that the legislature passed – and the governor signed into law – An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Energy Future. This wide-ranging legislation sets specific goals for the state’s use of renewable energy; seeks to broaden the base of energy sources; outlines guidelines for increasing energy efficiency; addresses shared clean energy programs; and looks at consumer-friendly price caps. The new law also bodes well for Danbury’s FuelCell Energy which will now be allowed to compete with other renewable energy sources to meet Connecticut’s energy needs.