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Rep. Frey Criticizes Governor’s Veto of Affordable Housing Reform Bill

Calls for Legislature to Override Veto

HARTFORD – State Rep. John Frey (R-111) panned Governor Malloy’s decision to veto the bipartisan 8-30g affordable housing compromise bill, HB 6880 after the announcement was made on Friday.

The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Frey, was a modest step towards affordable housing reform which hoped to offer towns an attainable goal of developing and reaching a moratorium to achieve greater control over developments. It received 116 votes (77%) in the House and 30 votes (83%) in the State Senate.

“I consider this an outrageous move by the governor,” said Rep. Frey. “The bill he just vetoed was the product of bipartisan discussion and mutual compromise, and it took hard work to pass the House and Senate as broadly as it did. If the governor won’t accept the careful and prudent ideas in HB 6880 to provide fairness and contemporary changes to the 8-30g statute, then he has truly given up trying to help municipalities. I’m really not sure what else we can do to get his attention about how serious of a problem this is.”

Under the current 8-30g statue, towns like Ridgefield had very little chance of ever achieving the high bar for a moratorium that allowed predatory developers to sidestep local zoning laws.

In spite of this setback, Rep. Frey noted that the bill passed with enough support to potentially override the governor’s veto. Each year the legislature has a veto session to consider whether to override vetoes by the governor. An override requires a two-thirds vote by each chamber (House & Senate) which would mean the House of Representatives would need 101 votes and the Senate would need 24 votes.

“I will not be deterred on this issue. I urge the legislature to override the governor’s veto and get this bill passed so the voices of Ridgefield residents and concerned citizens across the state will be heard. We can still do the right thing here,” Rep. Frey added.

Reps. Frey and Ferguson Urge Action on Resolving State Budget Crisis

Encourage Democratic Colleagues to Consider Republican Proposal

HARTFORD State Representatives John Frey (R-111) and Michael Ferguson (R-138) have joined the House Republican caucus in calling for an up-or-down vote Thursday in the House on the balanced, no-tax increase budget proposed by Republicans – the third version produced by the caucus – noting the Democrats failed to produce a single complete proposal.

“Never before in recent history has the legislature failed to adopt a budget before the end of the fiscal year without even voting on one – and it’s certainly the first time the majority party simply neglected to even produce one,” said Rep. Frey. “The single most important issue the legislature had to address this year was fixing the mess that has been made of the state budget, but as a result of the pathetic leadership vacuum that exists in Hartford we may not even have a chance to debate the budget. I think Democrats should be ashamed of themselves if we can’t even discuss our ideas in the House on Thursday.”

“Leadership failure of this magnitude would never be accepted in a private-sector job,” said Rep. Ferguson.  “Families and businesses in Connecticut are struggling in this economic climate and they deserve immediate action on resolving the crux of the issue, which is the state budget.  I am worried for the near future of many people and institutions in this state if nothing is done.”

Legislative Republicans proposed a full balanced budget this spring and then revised that proposal last month to account for a dramatic drop in revenue receipts. Democrats did not even produce a plan by the time the legislative committees reached their deadlines later in the spring and still refuse to call the Republican budget for a vote.  If no budget is passed by the end of the fiscal year on June 30th, the governor will run the state on a series of continuing resolutions.

Frey and Ferguson each considered this prospect distressing and warned that a prolonged budget struggle will result in huge problems for towns and cities that count on state revenue to help run local government. Those most at risk and in need of social services will also be affected.

“Running the state without a budget in place is not an acceptable back-up plan for the legislature,” said Rep. Frey.  “It’s important to point out that if Republicans were in charge, we would have passed a balanced budget that does not contain any tax increases.  We worked hard to produce three versions of a budget proposal to accommodate the revenue shortfall this year.  The alternative is the governor’s proposal, which even members of his own party called ‘draconian.’  Legislative Democrats have not even come up with a full budget package.  Why won’t Democrats rise to the occasion and even put our proposal up for a vote?  You’ll have to ask them.”

“The prospect of the governor running the state almost unilaterally paints a disturbing picture for core services like education and hospitals, as well as the people who rely on them,” said Rep. Ferguson.  “These institutions need to be protected and they are severely threatened by budget uncertainties.  I hope my friends on the other side of the aisle will consider this and give the House Republicans’ balanced budget considerable thought as good steps forward for this state.  The people deserve a government that takes meaningful and decisive action.”

Rep. Frey Welcomes State Champion Ridgefield Hockey Team to Capitol

HARTFORD State Representatives John Frey (R-111) and Michael Ferguson (R-138) joined State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) in welcoming the 2017 State Champion Ridgefield High School Ice Hockey team to the State Capitol in Hartford. The Ridgefield delegation proudly introduced the Tigers players to their colleagues on the floor of the House of Representatives. Later, they presented them with a state citation in honor of their triumphant 6-2 win over Northwest Catholic in the Division I State Championship game – the first in program history for Tigers hockey.

“Let’s give these guys and their coach Shaun Gallagher a round of applause,” said Rep. Frey on the floor of the House. “It wasn’t just luck for Ridgefield. The talent, effort, and dedication from these players was extraordinary by any standard. This team culture is exemplified not just in the remarkable skill of Jack Stafford, who received all-FCIAC second team honors, or his peers Matteo Van Wees, Harrison Chuma, and Sean Keegans, who each received all-state and all-FCIAC honors. This team culture is also visible in the admirable team loyalty of Ryan Stewart, whose injury stopped him from playing yet who stayed throughout the season to manage the team, and Gordon Santiago, who served as team photographer.”

“This is a proud moment for the Town of Ridgefield. I am genuinely impressed with this group as hockey players, as teammates, as students, and as well-rounded young men. Among this talented group are honors students and many who have won awards for their participation in theater and mock trial. I look forward to the contributions they will make as hockey players, students, and citizens,” added Rep. Frey.

 

Rep. Frey Applauds House Passage of Affordable Housing Reform

HARTFORD – State Rep. John Frey (R-111) hailed the passage of legislation reforming Connecticut’s affordable housing laws as “a good sign” for towns in Connecticut.  The bipartisan bill, HB 6880, passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday night by a vote of 116-33.

Rep. Frey co-sponsored the bill, which makes several critical reforms that will restore the ability of communities to make comprehensive planning decisions regarding development.  Among the provisions of the bill include lowering the minimum number of HUE points smaller municipalities must obtain to qualify for a moratorium, making affordable housing moratoriums more achievable for midsize cities while applying for a second moratorium and would last for 5 years, and changing the definition of Median Income applicable to IHZ’s to conform to 8-30g’s definition.

“Reforming our state’s outdated and onerous affordable housing laws has long been a priority for me; I served two terms on the Housing Committee so I could shepherd some of these changes through,” said Rep. Frey.  “The bill that was passed makes it easier for towns to achieve a moratorium on affordable housing so that predatory developers cannot easily bypass town zoning boards.  Although the final bill does not include all of the reforms I wanted to see, this is a step in the right direction for returning authority over developments to municipalities for the betterment of the community, while still making sure we provide sufficient affordable housing.  I think this bill has a good chance in the Senate and I will continue to fight for further modernizations of 8-30g.”

“Whilethey were not provisions of the final bill, restricting 8-30g housing development in historic districts and reducing density in designated watershed areas remain priorities of mine,” added Rep. Frey.

This proposal now heads to the State Senate for final legislative action before heading to the governor’s desk for his signature before the June 7th deadline.

Rep. Frey Supports Revised Budget Proposal in Response to Declining Revenue

No Tax Hikes Necessary

HARTFORD State Representative John Frey (R-111) joined the House Republican caucus in presenting a revised no-tax increase budget for 2018-19 that eliminates the projected $5 billion budget deficit, increases school funding for all towns, reduces the corporate surcharge and mitigates municipal aid losses by reallocating funds.

 The revisions were necessary in light of severely declining tax receipts and updated revenue projections that predict a shortfall of $1.46 billion, which means the projected deficit for the 2018-2019 biennium now exceeds $5 billion.  Additionally, Connecticut is slated to finish the current fiscal year with a deficit for the third year in a row.

 This comes following Governor Dan Malloy announcing on Monday an update to the controversial plan he pitched in February.  In the revised proposal, the governor recommends more than $700 million in cuts to municipal aid, including the complete elimination of education aid to Ridgefield.  He also plans to add about $80 million in annual tax hikes to the $600 million in new yearly revenue he recommended three months ago.

 “The crucial aspect of the Republican budget for families in Connecticut is that education funding is preserved for all school districts, and we do it without raising taxes,” said Rep. Frey.  “The governor’s proposal balances the budget by slashing education funding – especially special education aid – to cities and towns like Ridgefield.  As it stands in the governor’s proposal, Ridgefield’s education funding is completely eliminated and because of the teacher pension cost shift we will end up with a bill for $2 million.  In our budget proposal, $800,000 per year of education aid to Ridgefield is restored, including $1.7 million per year for special education programs.  Education cuts must be avoided at all costs.”

 In the House Republican budget proposal, every town will see an increase in school funding over current levels.  They relied on significant state employee union concessions and reduced state spending to balance the budget. They also included a wage freeze for state employees, but no layoffs. 

 “We have to start streamlining our bureaucracy by asking for concessions from state employee unions that make public sector benefits more similar to what everyone else in the private sector gets,” said Rep. Frey.  “Every single one of our state budgets for the past six years has put state employees’ interests before everything else and makes desperate grabs for new revenue wherever money can be found.  Well, how about a budget that advocates for taxpayers instead?  We have to try this new approach before resorting to fanciful ideas for new revenue like tolls and recreational drugs.  Until we stop burdening our taxpayers, we will continue to see revenue shortfalls and fiscal crises.”