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State Rep. Will Duff, Greater Danbury Legislators Hail ‘Successful’ Diaper Drive with Hopeline of Danbury

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DANBURY – With a flurry of donations last week, State Representatives Will Duff (R-2), Michael Ferguson (R-138), Stephen Harding (R-107), Richard Smith (R-108) and Adam Dunsby (R-135) in cooperation with Hopeline of Danbury finished a highly successful ‘Town-Wide Diaper Drive’ collecting thousands diapers.

The Danbury, Bethel and Redding legislators worked with Hopeline of Danbury on a month-long diaper drive for families after learning that diapers are not covered by Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Hopeline Director, Amy Spallino said, “I don’t know if each of you realizes how much this helps people to be able to receive a package of diapers. Diapers are expensive, and this Diaper Drive eases that burden on people a little bit. We, at Hopeline, want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts in providing residents with additional resources to take care of their babies.” 

Rep. Duff said, “I am so proud of the community. Whenever a call goes out for help, we always have generous people willing to step forward and aid those who are in-need. These diapers will help many young families who struggle with the high cost of diapers. Thank you to everyone who contributed.”

“I want to thank the Greater Danbury community for coming together and helping our local in-need families. The cost of diapers is one of the biggest expenses in raising children and this drive was meant to ease that economic burden. The generosity I have witnessed is a testament to our giving community,” said Rep. Michael Ferguson.

According to state statistics, a month’s supply of diapers can cost over $100. Unfortunately, the vast majorities of licensed day care centers do not accept cloth diapers, and require parents and caregivers to provide a steady supply of disposable diapers.

Most people living in poverty do not have affordable access to washing facilities. Furthermore, most coin-operated laundromats do not allow customers to wash cloth diapers for health and sanitary reasons. Additionally, most low income parents can’t afford a membership to a discount club like BJ’s or Costco where diapers are less expensive.

For anyone who missed the diaper drive but still wishes to donate, please contact Hopeline of Danbury at www.hopelineprc.org or call 203.207.4673.

State Rep. Will Duff, Danbury Area Legislators and Municipal Leaders Urge Override of Governor’s Veto

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Today, State Senator Michael McLachlan (R-24) , Representative Will Duff (R-2), and Representative Stephen Harding (R-107) were joined at Danbury City Hall by chief elected officials from Danbury and Sherman, educators from Southwestern Connecticut, representatives from Danbury Hospital, and representatives form a number of local nonprofits. The group called for an override of the Governor’s veto of a state budget that passed with bipartisan support.

Sen. McLachlan said he was in Danbury to tell the public what will happen to local funding if the legislature does not override the veto. Cuts made by Governor Malloy’s executive order would continue. Local education cuts include:

• a loss of $6.7 million to Danbury
• a loss of $8.5 million to Bethel
• a loss of $4.6 million to New Fairfield
• a loss of $46,611 to Sherman, all the tow’s state education aid

“We’re trying to avoid teacher layoffs. We’re trying to avoid shutting down school systems, which is what Governor Malloy’s executive order is going to do,” Sen. McLachlan said. “We’re still reaching out to members of the Democratic legislative caucuses in the Senate and the House to convince them that this bipartisan budget is the way to go. Do they disagree with some of the points in that budget? I understand that. That’s the political process. There is no perfect budget in anyone’s mind. But we have to take what’s a good opportunity and what’s best on the table today and move forward with it. In future days, we can fine tune this over the next two-year biennium that this budget stands for.”

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said, “At the end of the day I think the Republican budget that was put out, which was vetoed by Governor Malloy, was, let me say this very clearly, a good budget for Danbury. My goal and my job and my responsibility is to look out for the taxpayers of this city. In the Republican budget, Danbury will see an increase of about $5 million in the first fiscal year and an increase of almost $8 million dollars in the second fiscal year for our students and staff. That’s a good thing. It certainly beats taking a $12 million cut and having to pay for the teachers’ retirement system.”

New Fairfield First Selectwoman Susan Chapman said the uncertainty caused by the budget impasse is hurting local communities.

“As the leader of a small town, we just had another Board of Finance meeting last night. All this budget uncertainty isn’t fair to our residents. It’s not fair to the taxpayers of the state of Connecticut,” Chapman said. “There’s a bipartisan budget on the table and. As we said, it’s not perfect but it is on the table and we should pass it. They should override the Governor’s veto so all the towns and cities will stop facing so much uncertainty. We’ve gone back and looked at our budgets and the things that would have to cut, the uncertainty for our staff. It’s just not a good way to manage our towns and our cities. We just really encourage the legislature to do the right thing and override the budget and help us towns get back to do the business of our towns.”

Rep. Duff said he is tired of hearing that the budget is a Republican budget.

“This was a bipartisan budget. Considering that the Republican Party is in the minority, there’s no way a Republican budget can get through. It has to have the support of a number of Democrats,” Rep. Duff said. The reality of these cuts that are happening – part of the demise of Connecticut’s economy during the past couple years has been the lack of a skilled workforce. The lack of an educated workforce and these cuts will further that problem. Our education system should not be a political football for gamesmanship. We need to train these kids; we need to educate these kids. Dragging out this process is being detrimental to their future.”
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Rep. Will Duff Encourages Override of Governor’s Veto on State Budget

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Governor’s actions irresponsible to schools, municipalities

HARTFORD – State Representative Will Duff (R-2) today expressed disappointment that Governor Malloy vetoed the only state budget to pass the General Assembly with bipartisan support. Legislators now are calling on support to override the veto before the draconian municipal cuts in the governor’s executive order take effect.

 

“I am ready to override the governor’s veto now,” said Rep. Will Duff. “Enough is enough! Thousands of citizens across our state are wondering what is going to happen to their important services and right now, the governor has put those services in fiscal peril. This is NOT how you run a state.”

To sign the petition demanding an override of the governor’s veto please click the link: http://www.cthousegop.com/veto_override/

 

 

Rep. Will Duff’s Hail Bi-partisan Budget Passing Both Chambers of General Assembly

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Urges Governor to Sign Budget Bill into Law “as Soon as Possible”

HARTFORD – State Representative Will Duff (R-2) expressed guarded optimism at the passage of a bipartisan state budget through both chambers of the General Assembly late Friday night.

After three Democratic State Senators broke ranks and voted for a GOP budget amendment, which passed the Senate earlier that afternoon, the House passed, now called a bipartisan document by a vote of 77-73. It now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law, although it is possible he will use his veto power to block it from becoming law.

“This compromise budget sticks to the pledge I made, and the governor’s stated intent not to raise taxes whether it is income, property, sales or even cell phones. We honored the Governor’s repeated warnings not to produce a budget that was revenue driven,” said Rep. Will Duff. “We even provide tax relief for thousands of state residents by eliminating Social Security income tax and phasing out the tax on pension income for middle class families.”

After the Republican budget passed the State Senate, Governor Malloy declared his intention to veto the budget bill passed by the General Assembly. Rep. Will Duff urged the governor to reconsider, citing the “draconian” effects his executive order could have on local education and other state services.

The budget crisis in Connecticut is currently in its third month. Should the governor block passage of this budget bill, it is unlikely the state will adopt a budget prior to the October 1 deadline for education payments and the governor’s executive order would take effect.

Rep. Will Duff, Republican Lawmakers Releases Revised No-Tax-Increase Budget

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Hartford – On Tuesday, State Representative William Duff (R-2) along with House and Senate Republicans joined together to release a revised two-year state budget proposal with no new taxes that would put a stop to the governor’s executive order, restore funding for education and core social services, and provide stability for towns and cities.

The revised budget proposal offered by Senate and House Republicans includes no tax increases and rejects the governor’s proposal to shift teacher pension costs onto towns and cities that would further burden municipalities and lead to increased property taxes. The Republican budget proposal combines elements of the Senate and House Republicans’ multiple prior budget proposals released earlier this year, feedback from Democrat lawmakers and the governor, and factors in the legislature’s passage of the state employee labor concessions deal that is now law.

“We owe it to the residents of this state to think outside of the box and to provide real solutions; this no-tax increase budget accomplishes that goal. I will not any support any tax increase that on our hard working state residents,” said Rep. Will Duff (R-2). “Raising taxes yet again to combat gross overspending is not and has not been the answer. Connecticut residents have already been part of two of the largest tax increases in its history in just the past six years alone.”

No New Taxes
The revised Republican budget contains no new taxes. It does not increase or expand the sales tax, hospital tax or income tax. It also rejects the governor’s proposal to shift teacher pension costs onto municipalities as such a policy change would likely result in property tax increases.

Reduces Taxes
The Republican budget enacts two policies that will reduce taxes for retirees by phasing in a tax exemption for Social Security and pension income for middle income families. In addition, the Republican budget also restores the entire $200 property tax credit for all qualifying families and individuals. Under Governor Malloy’s tenure this tax credit has been reduced from $500 and we believe that property owners deserve a break on their taxes.

Increases Education Funding
The Republican budget rejects the governor’s devastating education cuts contained in his budget proposal and executive order entirely. It instead includes a fully revised Education Cost Sharing Formula that takes into account factors regarding recent court decisions, enrollment, poverty, wealth and number of English Language Learners, among other factors. This budget dedicates $33.6 million more to education in FY 2018 and $136.6 million more in FY 2019 and phases in a new formula over 10 years. It also establishes a council to analyze and make any necessary changes to the new formula within the next year if deemed necessary. In 2018 all towns and cities’ base ECS grant will either be held harmless or gain more funding.

Municipal Support and Mandate Relief
This budget provides predictable municipal aid so that towns and cities know what they can count on from the state. This plan does not ask towns and cities to pay for teacher retirement costs as the governor’s proposal does. It also implements significant mandate relief for cities and towns to help municipalities achieve efficiencies and pass savings on to taxpayers.

Funds Core Social Services
This revised budget maintains Republican proposals to restore funding for core social services and programs that benefit people most in need. It fully funds day and employment services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, reopens Care4Kids, protects funding for SAGA that supports disabled residents who are unable to work, funds school based health clinics and family resource centers, restores funding for mental health services among many other programs.

Prioritizes Transportation
The Republican budget recognizes the importance of a safe, modern transportation system to public safety and economic growth throughout our state. Therefore, this budget prioritizes the state’s transportation needs and stabilizes funding without tolls or new taxes. It implements the Republican “Prioritize Progress” transportation funding plan and stabilizes the state’s Special Transportation Plan by dedicating transportation-related revenues to fund transportation needs and protects monies in the state’s Special Transportation Fund from being diverted for other uses.

Supports Seniors
The Republican budget lowers taxes for retirees by immediately eliminating the tax on social security and phasing in an elimination of taxation of pension income for single filers with an AGI below $75,000 and joint filers below $100,000. It also helps seniors age in place by restoring funding for core programs such as Meals on Wheels, the personal needs allowance, non ADA dial a ride, and the CT Home Care Program.

Employment and Day Opportunities for the Intellectually Disabled
Our budget fully funds employment and day opportunities for new high school graduates over the biennium, nor does the Republican Budget carry forward reductions imposed by Governor Malloy to employment and day opportunities services for the intellectually disabled.

Funds State Parks & Tourism
Acknowledging the multiplier effect that tourism has on our economy, the Republican budget proposes to transfer 1.5% of the current hotel occupancy tax to a new Marketing, Culture and Tourism account. This is not a new tax as Democrats have proposed. Rather, it dedicates a portion of the current tax for its intended purpose to boost tourism funding. This budget also implements the Passports to Parks program that has garnered bipartisan support in the legislature.

Reduces Size of Government
The Republican budget proposal includes overtime savings of 10 percent, a hiring freeze on non-24-hour non-union positions, and makes cuts to the legislature such as reducing the number of legislative committees. The budget also makes targeted spending cuts, 10 percent reductions to certain agency accounts, and rolls forward lapses made last year except for cuts to core services such as grants for mental health and substance abuse and youth service bureau funding.

Includes Structural Changes
In addition to balancing the budget over the next two years, this budget includes policy changes that roll out into future years to achieve significant savings. Changes include items such as a spending cap, bonding cap, municipal mandate relief, and other policy changes for long term savings. The budget also implements pension reform beginning after the SEBAC deal ends in 2027 that will result in some immediate savings as calculated in an actuarial analysis.

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