WESTON – The local delegation to the Connecticut General Assembly of State Representative Adam Dunsby (R-135), State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26), and State Senator Tony Hwang (R-27) invited constituents from Easton, Weston, and surrounding communities to the Weston Library on Wednesday evening to offer an update on a state budget situation that is still not resolved more than two months into the new fiscal year. Wednesday’s event marked the second town hall forum since the conclusion of regular session in June that the three legislators hosted together.
The legislators explained how the situation had changed since their last budget update, noting the significance of the General Assembly last month passing the SEBAC labor agreement that contained certain structural reforms while extending the current agreement for another ten years. Each legislator agreed that this union deal “did not go far enough” to address Connecticut’s substantial budget deficit and “took many good options off the table” for future legislatures and governors.
Local residents expressed their concerns about how the budget crisis would impact their families and businesses. Most prominent among local concerns included the possibility of the state eliminating local education funding and how municipalities could cope with footing the bill for teacher pension costs.
As current First Selectman of Easton, Rep. Dunsby gave a blunt assessment of the governor’s budget proposal and the turmoil it would place on many towns. He also criticized the plan put forth by House Democrats that proposed raising the sales tax and other taxes and fees because “these kinds of taxes specifically target middle and lower income earners, and tax increases have failed year after year.”
“I am grateful for the opportunity to join my Senate colleagues and listen to how these pressing issues we deal with every day affect the lives of our friends and neighbors in this community; it is important for me to spend as much time in my district as possible,” said Rep. Dunsby. “Majority leadership needs to understand the direct and immediate impact their revenue grabs have on families and businesses here. This feedback will help shape my strategies in crafting an alternative budget that will benefit Connecticut taxpayers in every income bracket and convince my colleagues in both parties to do the same.”
“We continue to listen to and stay in close touch with Easton and Weston taxpayers,” said Sen. Hwang. “Our collective priority is to protect Easton and Weston property taxpayers and to preserve state funding for the towns. We feel that these regular updates on state issues make us better, more responsive legislators. We will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of all residents in Easton and Weston, and we encourage area taxpayers to stay active, involved and up-to-date on what’s happening in Hartford. Sign up for my social media updates by sending me an email at Tony.Hwang@cga.ct.gov or by visiting www.SenatorHwang.com. ”
“I’ve been to several town halls throughout my district and heard from so many of my constituents. What they are telling me is that they are scared and angry. They are concerned about the drastic cuts Governor Malloy has proposed making to education funding and to towns,” said Sen. Boucher, adding that the legislators talked at length about the legislative process and how budgets get passed. She said that although the Senate is tied and Democrats hold a slim majority in the House, Republicans are still the minority party.
“The majority party that controls the process, the budget, and the votes will not bring our budget alternatives to the floor for a vote and they can’t seem to get the votes they need from their own side of the aisle. Too bad they forced a vote on a state labor agreement that did not make the changes needed to solve the $5 billion state budget gap. That agreement has now stalled the budget process,” she said. “Connecticut taxpayers are outraged that we have started the school year without a state budget. They want these issues fixed in a responsible way and they want it fixed now!”
The legislators urged those who could not attend the meeting or did not have a chance to ask a question to contact them at their offices or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.