Focus: FISCAL ACCOUNTABILITY
Reduce and prioritize government spending and ease the tax burden on CT families and residents
- Sustainable Economics
Pension, Tax & Spending Reform:
The 2017 and 2018 bipartisan budget agreements enacted by the General Assembly were significant milestones in our fight for a more sustainable model of government. The agreement included a spending cap, bonding cap, and volatility cap, which will work together to prevent the State from making promises we cannot keep, spending more than we can afford, and falling deeper into debt. These are all steps in the right direction, but the true test will be in enforcing these caps and keeping our promise to the people of Connecticut that the General Assembly will be more responsible with their tax dollars.
As our tax base is shrinking, it was also important to ensure that taxes did not significantly increase or expand. Luckily, my colleagues and I were able to defeat the proposal to bring tolls into our state, which would have increased costs not only on families and individuals, but also on businesses that are already struggling in Connecticut’s unfriendly business environment. Connecticut does not have a revenue problem, we have a spending addiction. We cannot continue to increase taxes to fund this addiction, and instead need to focus on making cuts where we can, and being more efficient with our spending.
Connecticut has some of the highest unfunded liabilities in the Nation in the State Employees Retirement System (SERS), and it is one of the largest barriers to responsible change. Connecticut State employees are the highest paid state employees in the country, and we are one of only two states that determine employee benefits by collective bargaining rather than by statute. Needless to say, this results in a bloated and unfair pension system where Public Sector Unions have used their power to bleed the state dry. In order to protect our state from crippling debt, we need to dedicate appropriate funds to SERS, and restructure the way we compensate our retirees so that Connecticut residents have more say in how their money is used.
- Pathway to Progress
A Visionary Roadmap for a Better CT http://www.cthousegop.com/prioritize-progress/
Prioritize Progress is the Republican plan to revitalize our State’s infrastructure over the next 30 years and is a responsible and well thought out solution to the dismal condition of our roads, rails, and the rest of our transportation ecosystem. Our transportation system has suffered from neglect for too long, and it is time to make the upgrade of our infrastructure a priority so that our state can make progress.
Prioritize Progress would require that funds designated to the Special Transportation Fund are not siphoned off for other projects and programs as they have been in the past in order to provide a predictable and stable funding mechanism. Transportation development and maintenance is a long term process and if there is not reliable funding those projects will be stalled, sometimes indefinitely. The funding mechanism proposed by Prioritize Progress would ensure $1 Billion reserved for transportation funding for each of the next 30 years. The plan would also reinstitute the Transportation Strategy Board to oversee project development and implementation, with the duty of prioritizing the most necessary projects.
Other benefits of Prioritize Progress include no tolls or other new taxes, a reduction in state bonding to reduce our debt, and a flexible model to set project priorities.
- Fiscal Competitiveness
Marketplace & competition awarenessConnecticut has been ranked 49th (down from 34th just 5 years ago) in economic performance since the Great Recession, and 46th in economic outlook. Our tax burden and unfriendly business environment are making it impossible for CT to compete with states in our region, which have narrowed the quality-of-life gap in recent years, as well as states outside of New York and New England.
If Connecticut cannot compete with other states, businesses won't choose to come here or stay here, which means jobs will disappear. Jobs reports already show that better-paying jobs in manufacturing, construction, and information technology are leaving while low-paying jobs in healthcare and food service replace them.
The General Assembly needs to adopt policies that incentivize next-generation job creation in sectors like advanced manufacturing, biosciences and technology. Becoming a leader in emerging markets is a great way to be competitive in today's ever-advancing world.
Focus: TAXES & AFFORDABILITY
Despite one of the worst economic conditions in generations, the Legislature’s majority passed the largest increase in taxes & fees in CT’s history, which equaled over $2 billion dollars to our residents. The budget directly increased taxes on middle class families. CT’s rate of spending and borrowing is unacceptable.
- Fiscal Accountability
Voted against budget implementation proposals that increased governmental spending without accountability, and proposed alternative budget options. Objected to excessive bonding that places overwhelming debt on taxpayers and future generations. CT already has the highest debt ratio per person in the nation. Recent budget/bonding have only added to this problem.
- Government Excess
Proposed to eliminate longevity bonuses, which reward state employees simply for long term employment, a practice that is outdated and far too expensive to maintain.
- Pension Reform
Proposed to evaluate “defined benefit” pension, one of the fastest growing pieces of the state budget, against the benefits of a “defined contribution” plan, similar to private sector pension plans around the country.
Focus: JOBS & ECONOMY
Empower and innovate businesses and job seekers by creating an ecosystem of long-term growth and success
Economic uncertainty, high governmental costs and restrictive regulatory bureaucracy are tremendous barriers to the creation of private sector jobs. Unfortunately, these factors are what employers and small businesses in our state struggle with every day.
- Eliminate Outdated and Bureaucratic Regulations (PA 14-187)
Helped draft legislation that will eliminate nearly a thousand pages of state regulations identified as obsolete, duplicate, excessively burdensome, or otherwise ineffective or unnecessary. This bill made CT’s regulations more streamlined, up-to-date and user-friendly to help our residents and employers, especially small businesses.
- Job Employment for the Disabled (PA 13-277)
Advocated and supported legislation to empower those with developmental disabilities to achieve a sense of independence and enriched living through work. PA 13-277 will allow community non-profits to support and coordinate employment opportunities for the developmentally disabled.
- Jobs via Bioscience Investments (PA 13-239)
As Co-Chair of the legislature’s bipartisan Bioscience Caucus, spearheaded legislation to make CT a world leader in bioscience research. The law strengthens the State’s capacity to create competitive investment tools, attract additional federal and private dollars, and re-energize CT’s economic landscape toward increased job growth and financial sustainability.
- Advanced Manufacturing Education (PA 11-1 October Special Session)
Leadership in advocating Advanced Manufacturing Education in developing high value jobs. Helped Housatonic Community College obtain a portion of a $17.8 million grant to build a state of the art manufacturing education center.
Nurture Innovative Technologies
BioScience, Genomics (Co-Chair of Bipartisan BioScience Caucus) & Customized Manufacturing & Data Warehousing
Eliminate and Reduce Regulatory Business Mandates & TaxesRemove outdated bureaucracy along with punitive taxing burdens that adversely impact small and mid-size businesses - make it easier to do business in CT
Prioritize Long-term Transportation Needs and Infrastructure ImprovementsEstablish vision and implement plan of private/public transportation improvements. Transparent prioritization of projects.
Predictability. Sustainability. Transparency
Focus: SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
We can maintain a balance between fiscal accountability and social responsibility. Government has a moral responsibility to ensure that the most vulnerable and at-risk in our communities are protected and guided to self-empowerment.
COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY & “Be Kind”:
- Historic Autism Insurance Coverage (PA 13-84)
Championed bipartisan legislation ensuring individuals with autism, who are currently covered by 2008 insurance legislation, will not have a gap in their coverage because of a possible change in the definition of the autism spectrum and related Affordable Care Act requirements.
- Rail Commuters Safety & Advocacy (PA 13-178)
Authored amendment legislation which preserved the advocacy authority of the CT Rail Commuter Council and empowered the council to protect rail commuters’ right to challenge and demand the highest level of service and safety in commuter rail lines.
- Cell Tower and Siting Council Legislation (PA 12-165)
Supported greater local control and considerations toward public safety and community quality of life related to cell tower locations.
- GMO Food Labeling (PA 13-183)
Worked with local & international Genetically Engineered Food (GMO) labeling advocacy groups to pass landmark food labeling legislation that protect our “right to know” what is in our food source.
- Bone Marrow Testing Insurance Coverage (PA 11-88)
Provided bipartisan leadership to develop landmark insurance coverage of bone marrow testing to support patients and families affected by blood cell cancers such as leukemia and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Increased Penalty for Violent School Threats (Public Act 16-67)
Championed increased penalty and prosecution of violent school threats.
Awareness & Education Against Domestic Violence (Public Act 18-5)
Expanded police training and education on domestic violence dynamics and greater discretion concerning dual arrests in determining ‘dominant aggressor’.
Long Island Sound Inventory Blue Plan (Public Act 15-66)Collaborated successful bipartisan legislative effort with Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr (D-12) to preserve Long Island Sound Waterways.
Medicare Saving Program (MSP)
Raised awareness of cutback of medicare funding and led multi-town senior center informational town halls. Fought for full restoration of MSP.
(CARE) Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable Act (Public Act 15-32)
Awarded AARP(r) Legislative Leadership honor for long standing support of family caregivers and senior advocacy.
Opioid/Heroin Drug Epidemic (Public Acts 16-43, 17-131)
Worked with Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Jewel Mullen to adopt change of scope that allows 1st responders to carry NARCAN to save lives. Organized community forum on opioid/heroin abuse awareness & education. Partnering with counseling nonprofits to support affected families.