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Rep. Green to Host District-Wide Coffee Hours

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HARTFORD – State Representative Robin Green (R-55) will be hosting district-wide coffee hours this month where residents will have an opportunity to discuss the current budget situation and any other legislative matters affecting the district.

WHEN and WHERE:  

October 16th from 8 -9 a.m. – Something Simple Cafe, Hebron, 

October 19th from 8 -9 a.m. – Marlborough Country Bakery, Marlborough

October 24th from 9-10 a.m. – Bolton Town Hall, Bolton

October 26th from 6-7 p.m. – Andover Public Library, Andover

This event is free of charge and open to the public. If you have any questions, or are unable to attend but would still like to connect with Rep. Green please contact her office at 800-842-1423 or Robin.Green@housegop.ct.gov.

Rep. Green Hosts District-Wide Meetings for Seniors

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HARTFORD – State Representative Robin Green (R-55) spent the month of September visiting senior centers throughout the district to allow residents the opportunity to discuss the current budget situation, ask questions about current legislation, and voice any of their concerns.

“As a representative of the 55th district it is extremely important to me that everyone within the communities I serve have a chance to meet with me face-to-face and hear what is happening in Hartford,” Rep. Robin Green said. “I wanted to make sure that our seniors feel as though their voices are being heard and have an equal opportunity to express their feelings and beliefs with their state representative directly.”

During the discussions, residents expressed an overwhelming concern over Connecticut’s declining economy citing the recent influx of businesses and employment opportunities that have packed up and left the state in recent months.

Rep. Green answered questions on the bipartisan budget recently passed in both the House and Senate, legalizing recreational marijuana, and concerns over funding for people with disabilities. The vast majority of seniors were opposed to Connecticut adding tolls for fear over the impact on local traffic and if the money brought in would actually be used for our roads and highways.

Rep. Green said, “It is my hope that anyone who attended these forums came away with answers and information that will be helpful to them.”

Myth vs. Facts on 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.

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.

We’ve Been Down This Road Before

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Op-Ed
By Robin Green

If the residents of Connecticut aren’t worried about the financial direction the current majority leadership is taking them, well then they should be.

By not voting on a budget before the close of regular session, the majority party has willingly handed over the state’s fiscal responsibilities to the governor per his executive order.

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Bill to Raise Public Awareness Gets Signed by Governor

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HARTFORD – A bill co-sponsored by State Representative Robin Green (R-55) to heighten public awareness by designating various days, weeks, months and state symbols has been signed by the governor.

The legislation, SB-1002, An Act Designating Various Days, Weeks, Months and State Symbols and Naming a State Office Complex, would include recognizing March as Connecticut Maple Month, an ongoing tradition in Hebron as residents recently celebrated the 27th year of the Maple Fest.

“I am pleased to have been a part of this legislation not only because of the correlation with the Hebron Maple Fest and the recognition it gives to those men and women across the state who work to contribute to the production of maple syrup, but also for its efforts in raising public awareness for many diseases and their treatments,” Rep. Green said.

In addition, other significant date recognitions would include:

  • Each October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
  • November 26th to be Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva Awareness Day.
  • Each May to be Lyme Disease Awareness Month.
  • The third week in October to be Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week.
  • October 7th to be Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day.
  • March 13th to be National K9 Veterans’ Day to honor federal, state and local law enforcement K9 Corps units and their service.
  • Second Friday in December of each year to be PJ Day to raise awareness of all of those children being treated and cared for in hospitals across the state.

Rep. Green Disappointed in Lack of Budget Discussions

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“It truly is a sad day for the residents of Connecticut,” Rep. Green said. “The House Republicans have brought forth multiple carefully crafted budget proposals that were not only reviewed by the Office of Fiscal Analysis, but balanced without raising taxes. The Democrats have failed to do their part and come up with a budget during the regular session. It is time that they step up and do the jobs they were elected to do and bring a budget to the floor of the house for either a discussion or vote.”

 

HOUSE REPUBLICAN BUDGET DOCUMENTATION:

Round 3 Budget changes: A list of major changes from House Republicans’ second budget proposal to our third proposal to keep our budget balanced. Most recently, we removed all fee increases and restored existing tax exemptions.
Appropriations: This is the budget. It shows how much House Republicans would appropriate to each account in the budget compared to the current year.
Municipal Aid: This is the run of major grants to each municipality. All towns will receive additional education funding. And, all towns will be flat-funded with regard to ALL municipal aid, including education funding.
All Budget Changes: A list of every policy and current services update on the spending side of the House Republican budget.
Revenue Changes: A list of every policy and current services update on the revenue side of the House Republican budget.

Lawmakers Join Together to Honor Connecticut’s Veterans

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HARTFORDState Representatives Robin Green (R-55), Doug Dubitsky (R-47)Mike France (R-42), and Holly Cheeseman (R-37) joined State Senators Heather Somers (R-18) and Cathy Osten (D-19) at the Submarine Force Museum for a ceremony to honor our state’s veterans.

The historical ship Nautilus (SSN 571), the first and now-retired nuclear powered submarine served as the backdrop to the 8th annual “To Honor and Remember” event. The ceremony pays tribute to soldiers from all branches of the military for their dedication and service, along with a special Veterans Remembrance Event for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

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Rep. Green, Republican Lawmakers: “Transportation Lock Box Falls Short of Securing Road Funds”

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I have recently joined my fellow caucus members in rejecting a Democratic-proposed transportation “lock box” on a near party-line vote, as it will not secure road and bridge construction funds. It is clear that the majority party in Connecticut isn’t serious about dedicating our already limited resources to overhaul the state’s infrastructure.

We offered an alternative lock box proposal that we believe would guarantee any funds deposited into this account be used only for transportation related projects, but it was rejected after Democrats resorted to parliamentary maneuvers to rule it out of order, thus using their majority position to avoid a vote by coming up with a technicality issue to prevent it from being brought onto the house floor.

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Toll Study (I-84 and I-95)

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I-95 Corridor Congestion Relief Study – Executive Summary by Connecticut House Republicans on Scribd

Full Executive Summary by Connecticut House Republicans on Scribd

Rep. Green Supports Legislation to Increase Punishment for Human Trafficking

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HARTFORD – A bill co-sponsored by State Representative Robin Green (R-55) designed to strengthen
Connecticut’s Human Trafficking Laws has unanimously passed through both the House and Senate.

The legislation would strengthen protections against victims of human trafficking while expanding and increasing the penalties on those individuals who violate the law.

“I am extremely pleased that our state continues to work toward strengthening its legislation on matters such as these,” Rep. Green said. “Connecticut already has some of the toughest human trafficking legislation in the nation, but we as a legislative body want to continue to improve our laws to punish any and all individuals involved in these heinous crimes.”

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