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State Rep. Delnicki Attends Fire Training

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SOUTH WINDSOR – The South Windsor Fire Department held a training event with State Representative Tom Delnicki at Company 1 on Ellington Road on Tuesday evening, October 10.

Deputy Fire Chief Tim Papp and State Representative Tom Delnicki participate in a live burn training at Company 1 on Ellington Road in South Windsor on October 10.

Rep. Delnicki took part in live fire training where he was able to utilize Ellington Fire Department’s live burn trailer. October is Fire Safety month, an informative event provided Rep. Delnicki with a first-hand opportunity to learn more about the fire service and the austere and rigorous conditions South Windsor firefighters encounter.

The live burn training which Rep. Delnicki participated in is an annual requirement for all firefighters in the State of Connecticut. The purpose of this training is for Connecticut legislators to gain an understanding of the everyday life of professional, career firefighters, by utilizing a ‘hands-on” approach. South Windsor Fire Chief Kevin Cooney, and Deputy Fire Chief Tim Papp along with other volunteer firefighters accompanied Rep. Delnicki at this training.

“Having the opportunity to experience live fire training really impressed upon me the challenges that our fire fighters face on a daily basis,” said State Rep. Tom Delnicki.  “I have to admit that I really enjoyed having this opportunity, and I can’t wait for a chance to do it again. We are lucky to have so many dedicated volunteers that are ready, willing, and able to staff our volunteer fire department.”

The South Windsor Fire Department will be visiting all elementary schools and many daycares this month, and will be holding an Open House on Sunday, October 29, from 10am -1 pm at Station 3, which is located at 232 West Road in South Windsor. This event is open to the public.

 

 

Summary of Army Corp/FEMA Presentation on 10/5/17

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On Thursday, October 5, 2017, the Lt. Governor organized a presentation with representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA.

They discussed many of the issues we’ve been grappling with over the past 1½ years including establishing quality control standards at quarries and managing or remediating existing structures.

Reiterated that no exact procedure exists for testing and that there are many variables. (i.e. different types of pyrrhotite, the presence of water and sulfite, etc…)

Furthermore, it was stated that congressional approval is needed for further involvement.

Elected officials, staff members of the federal delegation, and CRCOG leaders were present and raised questions. Namely:

  • Is there a specific level of pyrrhotite we can point to, at which point its presence becomes problematic?

No. There are too many variables at this point to determine that.

  • Could there be specific veins within one quarry, such that some batches of aggregate may have large amounts of pyrrhotite and other batches have none?

The experts indicated that this is possible. The implication is that regular monitoring would be needed because one week, the substance being removed from the earth may be OK and the next week contain the presence of pyrrhotite.

  • Has the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA had communication with foreign countries dealing with this problem? (Canada and Ireland)

The answer was not 100% definitive. A representative from the Lt. Governor’s Office indicated they would reach out to consulates and try to establish this.

A couple of elected officials also reiterated the need to involve FEMA and provide federal assistance. The visiting experts listened and the day before toured affected homes. In follow up conversations, staff members from the federal delegation stated they are considering legislation to this end.

Myths vs. Facts Bipartisan Budget

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Does the budget decimate UConn/UConn Health Center?

The Republican budget passed with bipartisan support by the legislature provides $1 billion in state aid to UConn and UConn Health Center over two years. This is a $200.1 million reduction to the anticipated $1.2 billion in state aid UConn would have received had the university not been touched by any budget cuts. While this is a cut of approximately 17%, this budget also for the first time allows for purchasing and contracting flexibility so the university can save money and enhance revenues in other ways that do not rely on taxpayer dollars.

There are policy changes that will allow in direct savings for UConn; like requiring professors to teach one additional class and eliminating the tuition waivers that allow UConn and UCHC employees and their dependents to attend UConn for free. Yes there are cuts to UConn, like every other agency. The difference between other state agencies and our flagship university to raise revenue or trim costs are substantial. UConn has alternative ways to support their organization through the school’s Foundation and fundraising or additional federal grants for research. While we have supported large investments over the years, we simply cannot afford it until our state is back on course. UConn still has an extremely healthy budget and now even greater flexibility to attain funding in ways that do not overly burden taxpayers. All of those avenues should be explored fully and pursued.

It’s also important to note that UConn is overstating it’s reductions by using the fiscal year 2017 original budget as the base, rather than what they actually received in 2017. It is only fair to compare the actual dollars taxpayers invested last year.

Does this budget change hospital taxes?

The budget proposed by Republicans and passed with a bipartisan vote in the legislature does not allow municipalities to tax local hospitals and preserves the small hospital pool. It also accepts the hospital settlement agreed to by the Connecticut Hospital Association and the governor’s office which includes tax changes our state hospitals lobbied for and meets all their requests to help them operate more efficiently and better meet the needs of their patients. This budget will also phase out the hospital tax over time and increases Medicaid rates which protect hospitals from changes on the federal level.

What does it do to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)?

The Republican budget that garnered bipartisan support in the legislature would implement a graduated schedule for the Earned Income Tax Credit which provides 5% for single individuals, 10% for those with one child, 15% for those with two children, 25% for those with three or more children. By implementing a graduated scale we can make sure to preserve as much of the credit as possible for those who need the support most. Unfortunately facing a massive deficit of historic size we had to make the difficult decision to reduce this program in part to protect other core social services including SAGA. In addition, there are some who say a case could be made that it is not actually a tax cut, as over 80% of recipients never paid state income tax. Regardless on your opinions about the program–we prioritize children in the graduated scale model we worked hard to define.

Does this budget better serve the I/DD Community?

It is the only budget to fully fund day and employment services for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. It also does not carry forward reductions imposed by Governor Malloy to employment and day opportunities services for the intellectually disabled. In addition it adds funding to help individuals on the wait list access services.

Is this budget balanced?

Yes, OFA shows surpluses of $70 million surplus in 2018 and $40 million surplus in 2019.

How do we balance the budget?

– We rein in government as much as we can. We consolidate agencies and eliminate top heavy positions like Commissioners and their deputies.

– We make targeted spending cuts while simultaneously protecting core services.

– We implement 10% reductions to certain agency accounts.

– We implement overtime savings of 10 percent, a hiring freeze of non-24-hour employees, and cut the legislature’s budget.

– We include long-needed structural changes to achieve future savings such as a strong spending cap and bonding cap. The Democrat budget included a spending cap which recommends not counting our growing pension debt.

Why does OFA show a deficit in the out years?

All budgets proposed show deficit in the out years because the state’s financial problems cannot be resolved in one year. That being said, the Republican out year deficits are less than what was projected in the Democrats’ budget which includes many new tax policies like cell phones and non-prescription medicine (for example, in FY20 the Republican budget shows $1.2 billion deficit while the Democrat budget shows $1.4 billion deficit. In 2021, Republican budget shows $2 billion deficit while Democrat budget shows $2.1 billion deficit.) However, unlike the Democrat budget, the Republican budget also includes tax reductions to pension income, social security income, and inheritance/estate tax. We have heard our retirees and seniors loud and clear! They want to stay here and we want them here, too. These tax reductions contribute to the deficit on the surface because we are taking in less revenue, but they are likely to actually lower the deficit once implemented by sparking economic growth. In addition, the Republican budget contains a strict spending cap (as voted for nearly 25 years ago, but never enacted) and other long term structural changes to achieve future savings, restore confidence in our state, and therefore have a positive effect on the economy that cannot be calculated by OFA in the projections they show.

Does this budget change taxpayer funding for campaigns?

This budget eliminates taxpayer funding for political campaigns under the “Citizens Election Program” (CEP). The state cannot keep up with managing funds for this program that is a mere shadow of the original program meant to keep elections clean. In an extremely challenging budget year, this budget makes the decision to end taxpayer funding for political candidates – an expense which is expected to balloon to $50 million for the next election cycle with no additional money to be found in escheats which has previously funded the program. Democrats have actually underfunded this program in their own budget proposal by $10 million also putting the program in jeopardy because the state simply does not have the funds to support what this program has grown into.

Does this budget change teacher pension contributions?

This is not a tax on teachers. This budget does increase contributions teachers’ pay towards their own retirement from 6% to 8% at maximum, which remains below the national average of over 10% for teacher contributions. It was important in this budget to minimize the increase while also stabilizing this fund so the state can keep the promises it makes to our teachers who dedicate their lives to serving our state and its students. This is an increase that teachers pay into their own pensions; therefore it is all money that every single teacher gets back when they retire as it is part of their retirement savings. This is money that will be used to make the teachers’ pension plan more solvent and benefit teachers in the long run. In addition, this budget does not shift any teacher retirement costs onto towns and cities. Shifting any portion of this opens the door to more burdens being placed on municipalities and taxpayers. This is the state’s responsibility and we stood firm on not letting the state push off any amount of this obligation onto our cities and towns.

To make sure that the intentions behind the legislation adopted by the General Assembly are crystal clear, since partisan folks are distorting those intentions— the leadership of the Republican caucuses will put a request in writing immediately to the Teacher’s Retirement Board (TRB). While normally the TRB sets the state contribution amount every two years, this is too important to wait for the normal process. The money will be held in the General Fund UNTIL the TRB sets the amount as required.

Our intentions are crystal clear. This money will be deposited to the teacher’s pension fund, as was explained during the budget debate. Period.

Here is a link to the Teacher’s Retirement Systems latest evaluation: http://www.ct.gov/trb/lib/trb/forms…

THREE CHOICES FOR TEACHERS

  • Support the bipartisan budget that gradually increases the pension contributions for teachers 2%, while also keeping the income tax exemption of 50% promised in the last session. This budget also promises level funding for every school district.
  • Support the Democrats proposed budget that passes a significant portion of the teacher’s pension payments to local taxpayers and municipalities. This mandate will force towns to consider laying off teachers or programs and their education funding cuts many communities. It also fails to keep the promise to exempt 50% of their income tax, dropping it down to 25% retroactively to January 1st 2017.
  • Support the Governor’s Executive Order which slashed education funding by almost $600 million and passes the burden of the teacher’s pension fund onto taxpayers.

Rep. Delnicki Applauds the Passage of a New Opioid Bill

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HARTFORD – State Representative Tom Delnicki (R-14) attended a bill signing of Public Act 17-131, An Act Preventing Prescription Opioid Diversion and Abuse at the Hartford Public Library on Thursday, August 31, 2017. Joining him were many legislative colleagues, local officials and advocates, who all stood in support of the legislation that seeks to curb the growing opioid crisis in Connecticut.

This ceremonial bill signing took place as the state took part in “International Overdose Awareness Day”.

From January 1, 2015 through August 2, 2016, Connecticut recorded 800 deaths due to overdose. The bill, which passed the House of Representatives unanimously expands upon legislation passed in 2016 and 2015, and includes some of the following aspects:

  • Instructs the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council to convene a working group to study substance abuse treatment referral programs that have been established by municipal police departments to refer persons with an opioid use disorder or who are seeking recovery from drug addiction to substance abuse treatment facilities;
  • Reduces the maximum opioid drug prescription for minors from 7 days to 5 days and maintains current law that allows a prescribing practitioner to exceed the limit for chronic pain, palliative care or acute pain if necessary as long as it is documented in the medical record
  • Requires individual and group health insurers to cover medically necessary detox treatment, as defined by American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) so that those looking for help cannot be turned away due to insurance issues;
  • Increases data sharing between state agencies regarding opioid abuse or opioid overdose deaths;
  • Increases security of controlled substances prescriptions by requiring scheduled drugs be electronically prescribed;
  • Allows patients to file a voluntary non-opioid form in their medical records indicating that they do not want to be prescribed or administered opioid drugs.

“The opioid crisis is not a city problem; it’s not a suburb problem. The opioid crisis is not a problem that only affects low income families and individuals in need, and it’s not a problem that affects only the rich. Addiction has the potential to impact all of us. This bill is a step in the right direction to try to get this crisis under control. I don’t believe this to be the last piece of legislation on this issue, as we will likely have to revisit this topic as the issue evolves, but this is a good first step,” said State Representative Tom Delnicki.

 

Connecticut is expected to see more than 1,000 accidental drug-related deaths in 2017.

Delnicki Condemns Malloy for District Education Funding Cut

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HARTFORD — On Wednesday, August 23, State Representative Tom Delnicki (R-14) joined state and local officials, as well as South Windsor residents and educators to rally against cuts to South Windsor education. Individuals gathered to express their condemnation of Governor Malloy for his recent announcement indicating that he would cut education funding to 139 municipalities across the state including South Windsor to the tune of $12.8 million. Under the governor’s new plan, South Windsor would lose all of its Education Cost Sharing (ECS) funding for FY 18. The executive order will take effect on October 1 in the absence of a state budget.

“I am prepared to go to the Capitol on a moment’s notice to advocate for the families and children of South Windsor and its outstanding education system. Although I am always willing to work in a bipartisan manner, I have a tremendous level of concern over raising taxes to balance the budget,” said State Representative Tom Delnicki. “The practice of increasing taxes has wreaked havoc on Connecticut’s economy in recent years. I represent all people of South Windsor and I believe that the quality of education that our students receive is paramount.”

“I can assure you that will not stand, that cannot stand; that is not the way Connecticut was ever meant to be – to hold the kids hostage,” State Representative Tom Delnicki added at the South Windsor rally against the governor’s education funding cuts.

Rep. Delnicki noted that had any of the budget proposals put forth by legislative Republicans since April been adopted, ECS funding to municipalities would have been preserved without raising taxes, and this cut to the district’s education funding would have been unnecessary.