This Week at the Capitol
This year in the legislature we are on the “long session” schedule -- meaning that a budget must be proposed and passed by the governor. Three weeks ago, the governor released his proposal and it is now in the appropriations committee where they will work to get a bill for the full legislature to vote on later in the session.
As the first two months of my term come to a close, I am struck by two distinct impressions, one, there are a lot of dedicated and hardworking members of the Connecticut Legislature, and two, it is time to change the conversation in Hartford.
We all know the problems: out of control spending, borrowing against our children’s futures, and an unfriendly business climate. Our current situation is cause for concern, but not a reason to pick up and leave.
Budgets are blueprints. They set the direction of our state, outline our priorities, pay for necessities, as well as invest for our future. The state sets a budget - just as our families do. The governor’s proposals tell you a lot about his intentions and priorities. I see a number of issues with the governor’s proposed budget – deep cuts to hospitals, tuition hikes at our state universities, and more restriction in telling local town governments how to spend there money.
This is not the right direction for our state – but we can change course.
Our budget woes stem from few major drivers, out of control spending and borrowing, lagging economic growth, and a jobs crisis in our state. Each budget relies on estimated job and revenue assumptions that never seem to come true. I believe a good start to spur job growth and stem the time of our young people leaving the state is the “Learn Here Live Here” program - an initiative that provides incentives for our college students to stay in Connecticut after graduation.
Additionally we need a budget that lives within our means. With a difficult economy families and local governments have had to adjust, Hartford must do the same. Common sense solutions such as empowering our nonprofits, who are more efficient and effective in delivering many state services, will result in not only better services for our community but more savings for our state. These solutions, coupled with tightening our state finances, will lead to more opportunity in our state.
I could not be prouder to represent the people of Trumbull in Hartford. I know that with a few common sense solutions, a tightening of our state finances, and a change of conversation from penalizing the productive to promoting growth and opportunity we can turn our budget deficit into a surplus of opportunity.