Image

State Rep. Doug Dubitsky to Ring the Bell for the Salvation Army

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

HARTFORD – State Representative Doug Dubitsky (R-47) will be participating in The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign by ringing bells on Wednesday, December 20th from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Better Val-U Supermarket, 4 North Canterbury Rd, Canterbury.

WHEN: Wednesday, December 20th
TIME: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Val-U Supermarket, 4 North Canterbury Rd, Canterbury
WHY: State legislators will join fellow volunteers ringing bells to raise money for the Salvation Army this holiday season.

The public is invited to support the cause and monetary donations of any size are appreciated. The Salvation Army provides food, clothing, comfort and care to local residents, and to people in need throughout the United States and across 128 other countries around the world.

If you are unable to stop by during the bell ringing but still wish to donate to the Salvation Army text CTREP to 71777 and donate directly to the House and Senate Republicans’ Red Kettle. All proceeds will be donated directly to The Salvation Army.

Reps. Dubitsky and France on the Budget Changes

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

HARTFORD – Local lawmakers State Representatives Doug Dubitsky (R-47) and Mike France (R-42) followed their votes opposing the compromise budget at the end of October with another “no” vote last week against technical changes to the current approved plan. The representatives felt that the negotiated settlements, which ultimately passed in the House by a vote of 123-12, did not make the budget more fiscally responsible in the ways they had hoped for.

“There were some things I generally liked in this bill, including a partial fix of the renters rebate program,” Rep. Dubitsky said. “However, even that “fix” was only a half-measure which still imposed yet another unfunded burden on our beleaguered towns. Since we were not able to vote separately on the good and bad parts of this bill, and had to vote on all parts as one, I had to vote against it.”

Read More →

Doug Dubitsky – A Representative of the People

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

**PUBLISHED ON OCTOBER 25th, 2017 IN THE CT CHRONICLE**

People have a very low opinion of their representatives in government. One need not bore you with statistics to show this lack of faith in elected representatives. A major reason for this is the electorate does not feel like their voices are being heard. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in Connecticut. After tax increase after tax increase and businesses and people leaving the state a vast majority (90% by a recent poll) of the residents feel additional taxes are not the way to balance the budget. Yet it’s probably likely that the vote in the coming days will produce a budget that does exactly that.

We will all hear representatives and senators get in front of reporters and say this is a bipartisan budget and a compromise was needed to make it so. They will wheel out provisions from the 900-page document that will attempt to make it palatable to their constituents and say we needed to give up higher taxes to get this concession or that one. Next year during election season they will put on their carnival barker hats and claim we got a spending cap (although not constitutionally implemented) and made it more affordable for towns in prevailing wage costs. But as soon as someone says to them, “Didn’t you vote for more tax increases?” Said candidate will rebuke sharply, “Hey you spoiled brat quit pulling that curtain back.”

There is a ton of pressure on our elected officials to get a budget passed. Although doom and gloom timetables seem to come and go without the sky falling, there is a rush to get this to a vote. It would appear that leadership want to yank the Band-Aid off quickly and make this nightmare go away. Hasty, late night press conferences that only provide scant details is the only information available to the residents of the state. With votes scheduled for the latter part of this week, this will be another trust-us-it’s-a-good-budget-we’re-smarter-than-you scenario.

Bucking this trend is a state representative from Eastern Connecticut, Rep. Doug Dubitsky. Mr. Dubitsky is a conservative Republican so one would assume his position would be to reject this budget. Yet Dubitsky took to Facebook (You can see the exchange here) on Tuesday evening and provided the best information he had in bullet point fashion to give his constituents as much information as possible. But what came next, sad to say, was pure political courage. Representative Dubitsky asked his constituents to weigh in on their feelings about the budget as presented. He served as moderator of the discussion while not weighing in on his own personal leanings. Dubitsky provided clarity, if possible, when asked questions. His action was a virtual town hall held at the convenience of his constituents. We follow several representatives in this state and this is the only time we have seen a representative take it to the people. This was not an exercise in political grandstanding. This is the government the framers envisioned.

Representative government has been lacking in our system for quite some time. Too many votes are based on what caucus you belong to or what leadership wants with the promise of more power down the road. They have to play the game to get ahead. But in this digital age and our ultra-connectedness citizens of the state have the tools to weigh in on important issues. These tools threaten the circles of power. This is why you won’t see other elected officials using this new medium to take the temperature of their districts.

Representative Doug Dubitsky gave the towns in his district a voice. He put them front and center. He will be able to look them in the eye and know he did what was right. In a state wrought with political guilt, Dubitsky can hold his head high and be able to say next election season, I have represented my district’s interests.

 

To read the original article please click here.

Rep. Doug Dubitsky to Host Coffee Hours in Chaplin

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

State Representative Doug Dubitsky to Host Post Session Coffee Hours

HARTFORD – State Representative Doug Dubitsky (R-47) will be hosting post session Coffee Hours to discuss the issues that has shaped the 2017 Legislative Session, the current budget situation, and any other items you’d like to discuss.

WHEN: Saturday, October 21st from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: Pine Acres Diner, 250 Willimantic Road, Chaplin

If you have any questions, or are unable to attend but would still like to connect with Rep. Dubitsky or please contact his State Capitol office at 800-842-1423 or Doug.Dubitsky@housegop.ct.gov.

Myth vs. Facts on Bipartisan Budget

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

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.

Click here to see the Teacher’s Retirement Systems latest evaluation.

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.