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AVON STATE DELEGATION PRESERVES FUNDING FOR GOVERNOR’S HORSE GUARD

Posted on December 11, 2017 by admin


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Oldest cavalry unit in U.S. faced elimination under Gov.’s proposal

Thanks to Avon lawmakers, the historic and revered First Company Governor’s Horse Guard will not be disbanded, as originally proposed by the governor in his budget.

During the 2017 legislative session, the Avon state delegation championed efforts to protect $180,000 in funding for the care and operation of the Governor’s Horse Guard units. This funding will not only allow the state to continue to care for the horses and maintain the facilities, but it will also preserve the land in Avon.

“I visited the Horse Guard with my daughters months ago and saw firsthand the devotion of its members and the valuable contributions they make not only to Avon, but to the entire state. I’m pleased the Avon delegation was able to work together in true bipartisan fashion to save this resource,” said state Rep. Derek Slap, (D-West Hartford.)

“Restoring funding for the Avon Horse Guard is about protecting our history, preserving local programs, and recognizing the importance of so many people’s service to our state and nation. The Horse Guard hosts programs for youth and active duty soldiers and has been a part of our community for hundreds of years. I applaud my fellow lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for working well together to make sure this funding was preserved in the bipartisan state budget,” said Deputy Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos, (R-Canton.)

“I’m pleased that I was able to work with my legislative colleagues from Avon to preserve such an important piece of our local and state history. The Governor’s Horse Guard has held the distinct honor of participating in governmental, as well as private services and ceremonies. I’m thrilled that this time-honored tradition will remain a part of our state’s history for years to come,” said State Rep. Tim LeGeyt, (R-Canton.)

“The Horse Guard has a long and rich history in CT, and particularly Avon where it’s been part of our Community, and a staple property along West Avon Road for more than 60 years,” Avon Town Manager Brandon Robertson said. It’s run by many dedicated volunteers who have a passion for both its historic preservation, and their mission as the oldest serving U.S Calvary unit in the Country.  We are grateful for the strong support of Representatives Slap, LeGeyt, and Senator Witkos.”

The First Company Governor’s Horse Guard in Avon, established in 1778, is the oldest active continuously mounted cavalry unit in the U.S. Currently, the membership is about 80 active troopers and staff veterans. Ten horses are ridden and cared for.

Through much of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the horse guard provided dignified escorts for governors, presidents, military heroes and other dignitaries such as George Washington, James Monroe and Andrew Jackson. Now the units not only participate in presidential and gubernatorial inaugurals but also civic projects, youth drug prevention programs, parades and other ceremonial events. *

The Second Company, in Newtown, was started in 1808. The two companies, which are owned and maintained by the state, are under the Connecticut National Guard.

 

 

 

Senator Witkos and Representative LeGeyt to Ring Bells for Salvation Army in Avon on Wed. Dec. 13

Posted on December 4, 2017 by admin


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AvonSenator Kevin Witkos (R-8) and Representative Tim LeGeyt (R-17) will participate in the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign by ringing bells at the Avon Walmart at 255 W. Main Street on Wednesday December 13 from 4:30pm – 5:30pm.

The public is invited to support the cause with donations of any size. Walmart will be making a contribution to the Salvation Army on behalf of all participating legislators.

The Salvation Army provides food, clothing, comfort and care to local residents as well as people in need across the United States.

 WHO: Deputy Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos (R-8) and Representative Tim LeGeyt (R-17)
 WHAT: Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign bell ringing
 WHEN: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 from 4:30-5:30pm
 WHERE: Walmart – 255 W. Main Street Avon, CT
 WHY: State Legislators will join fellow volunteers ringing bells to raise money for the Salvation Army this holiday season.

 

 

LeGeyt Supports Budget that Restores Education, Municipal Funding

Posted on October 30, 2017 by admin


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HARTFORD – Last Thursday, State Tim LeGeyt (R-17) voted for a bipartisan budget that averts Gov. Malloy’s devastating education cuts to cities and towns and installs structural reforms that will provide long-term relief sought by local leaders and the taxpayers they serve.

“We’ve turned an historic corner in this state as a result of these bipartisan negotiations in the General Assembly. With the passage of the Republican budget in September, which eventually was vetoed by the governor, and today, effected with the bipartisan negotiations between leadership that resulted in a budget that was so overwhelmingly proved in both chambers, with compromise on both sides, including structural changes and funding protections, it is evident that the legislature, without any involvement of the governor, has come together for the good of the taxpayers of Connecticut to move our state forward,” said Rep. LeGeyt.

The budget is the result of bipartisan negotiations and includes policies advocated both Democrats and Republicans.

Budget highlights include:
-Enacts the constitutional spending cap that was first approved by voters in 1992
-Enacts a $1.9 billion cap on bonding, $500 million less than what was bonded last year
-Restores municipal and education funding
-Protects core social services
-Supports critical funding for seniors and tax cuts for retirees
-Imposes a firm state employee hiring freeze
-Requires mandatory votes on union contracts by the legislature
-Provides municipal mandate relief and prevailing wage reform, raising the threshold from $400,000 to $1  million
-Phases in tax reductions on pensions and social security

The budget also stopped proposals which would have raised taxes on our residents including:
-No sales tax increase
-No income tax increase
-No tax on cell phones
-No restaurant tax
-No business tax increase
-Does not shift teachers pensions on to municipalities
-No tolls

The budget passed the Senate by a vote of 33-3 Wednesday evening and by 126-23 in the House of Representatives on Thursday. The budget awaits action from the governor.
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Supporting Veterans’ Mental Health Awareness

Posted on October 18, 2017 by admin


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In support of Veterans’ mental health awareness, the VFW Post 3272 in Avon is hosting a film screening on Saturday, October 21st of the documentary, “Thank You For Your Service,” which reveals the failed mental health policies that are currently in place in our country.  A panel discussion will follow the screening, facilitated by Resilience Grows Here.


Funds raised from this event will go to the VFW to provide aid to veterans in our community and toward future events to raise awareness.

View the event page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/events/116448295698557/

Tickets may be purchased at the door. Tickets may be purchased in advance online, on the EventBrite page here.

Bipartisan Budget: Myths vs. Facts

Posted on September 22, 2017 by admin


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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.

Here is a link to the Teacher’s Retirement Systems latest evaluation: http://www.ct.gov/trb/lib/trb/forms…

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.