Following her town hall meeting at the Litchfield Community Center on Monday, U.S. Rep. Jahanna Hayes, D-5th District, stopped at the Village Restaurant to meet with supporters.
U.S. Rep. Jahanna Hayes thanks supporters during her visit to the Village Restaurant on Monday. Below, Hayes chats with Litchfield Historical Society Executive Director Cathy Fields, left, and Martha Bernstein of Litchfield. BZ photos
State Rep. Wilson not pleased with Lamont proposal
HARTFORD – State Rep. David T. Wilson (R-Litchfield) listened to the governor’s first budget proposal. Governor Lamont presented his plan to manage the state’s finances over the next two years to the state legislature, with the plan mainly utilizing revenue increases to close projected deficits.
“This document will place additional taxes on middle class families and have long-term unintended consequences,” Rep. Wilson explained. “I was baffled when the governor said that in order for us as a state to keep up with modernization, we need to expand what is eligible to be taxed. At the same time, the governor expressed the need for us to become more business friendly, making Connecticut more attractive to younger folks. If budgetary policies raise the cost of living it is counterintuitive to making our state a better place to live.”
According to Rep. Wilson, under Governor Lamont’s budget there will be a myriad of new taxes including, but not limited to, haircuts, industry services, and tolls.
“Everyday life events, like getting a haircut, will be more expensive under this new budget. Placing an additional tax burden on the consumer is just one issue, but imposing new regulations on businesses adds another layer of cost to small businesses. As a result of taxing customers more, business owners will be responsible for more administrative work to accurately report their finances. Consequently, increasing the cost of doing business here and making our state less affordable than it already is,” said Rep. Wilson.
Rep. Wilson also warned that other services will be taxed, like financial services and legal counsel. The unintended consequences of adding a service tax will make the end product more expensive for the consumer. In addition to the new tax, the services themselves will be more expensive in order for business owners to offset their higher operating costs.
In his address the governor mentioned that the current fiscal mess is a result of multiple generations of poor budgetary management. As a result, according to the governor, the only path forward to begin improving the quality of life is to create tolls so that our roads can be fixed and bridges repaired.
“The governor has proposed two forms of tolling, and as of now it isn’t clear if it is actually legal to just tax trucks. The more aggressive proposal, expanding tolling to heavy trucks and regular cars, is not necessary to help fix our infrastructure. Yes, major road improvements can be completed but it would take structural changes that the majority party seems unwilling to discuss at this point in time,” stated Rep. Wilson.
However, the governor did make some points that align with becoming more fiscally responsible.
“While I am discouraged about the budget presentation, I find hope in the fact that the governor has imposed a “debt diet” to all budgetary policies. Theoretically, this should help keep spending in check and take pet projects off the table. I look forward to working with our governor going forward in the budgeting process,” concluded Rep. Wilson.
The legislature will now come up with its own version of a state budget, which will be available in April.
Piscopo welcomes Scouts to the Capitol
On Friday, Feb. 1, State Rep. John Piscopo (R-Thomaston) attended Boy Scouts Day at the Capitol in Hartford.
Scouts from all five of the Boy Scout councils visited the Capitol for a tour at 1 p.m. followed by an inaugural ceremony at 3:15 p.m.
Nearly150 Scouts, their leaders, parents, along with state and local officials from all over Connecticut were in attendance to celebrate girls becoming members of the new Boy Scouts program.
Boy Scout Day at the Capitol celebrated the new co-educational scouting program in Connecticut that welcomed its first girls into the Boy Scouts program.The girls at this unique Court of Honor Ceremony alsoreceived their Scout badge.
Piscopo is Chief Whip for House Republicans
State Rep. John Piscopo
State Rep. John Piscopo, R-Thomaston, who represents Northfield, has been selected by House Republican Leader Themis Klarides to continue serving in his leadership role as Chief Whip in the House Republican Caucus.
"I'm honored to have been selected by Leader Klarides to continue serving the House Republican Caucus in my capacity as Chief Whip for the upcoming term,” Piscopo said. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us; I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to it. I encourage anyone who has questions or concerns regarding state government to contact me.”
The legislative session will run through June 5.
Klarides added, “I am thankful to Rep. Piscopo for his steadfast and unwavering service to our House Republican Caucus. I know that I can rely on him to maintain discipline and ensure that business on the House floor runs efficiently, which will be critical in the legislative session.”
Rep. Piscopo also announced his committee assignments for the 2019-2021 legislative sessions. He was reappointed to the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee as well as the Energy & Technology Committee for the upcoming two year term. He will also continue serving on the Environment, Screening, and Legislative Management Committees.
“No doubt, we will be discussing and debating many important issues in the upcoming session,” he said. “My priorities and commitment to my constituents and the residents of Connecticut remain firm. We must put Connecticut on sound fiscal ground, and create an environment that will allow our economy to grow and businesses to flourish, where families can work, live, and play.”
Piscopo also represents Thomaston, Burlington, and Harwinton.
Newly elected Connecticut Democratic Party Vice Chairman Erick Russell of New Haven, newly elected Chairman former Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman of Tolland, re-elected Secretary Audrey Blondin of Litchfield and newly elected Treasurer Eloisa Melendez of Norwalk.
Torrington Attorney and former Litchfield Selectman Audrey Blondin was recently re-elected as Secretary of the Connecticut Democratic Party. Audrey was born and raised in the New Haven area and has lived in the Northwest Corner for 40 years.
Her first campaign experience was with Torrington Mayor Mike Conway's campaign in 1979 which he won and she went on to serve as the first woman attorney member of the Torrington Democratic Town Committee before moving to Litchfield in 1986. In Litchfield she served as DTC Chairman from 1988-1992, and as a member of the Litchfield Board of Selectman from 1993-2003. She ran for Secretary of the State in 2005 where she visited 85 DTC's. She was the first woman attorney to serve on the CT Democratic State Central Committee and has been a member of DSCC/CDP since 2002 currently serving her 9th term representing 14 towns in the 30th District in the NW corner, and was first elected as CDP Secretary to fill a vacancy in 2018. She has served as a member of the Connecticut Delegation to the Democratic National Conventions in 2000, 2004, 2012 and 2016 most recently in Philadelphia as a Bernie Sanders delegate. She also served as a member of the Judicial Selection Commission from 2014-2018.