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Piscopo, Wilson Support Budget that Restores Education, Municipal Funding

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HARTFORD –State Representatives John Piscopo (R-76) and David Wilson (R-66) today voted for a bipartisan budget that averts Gov. Malloy’s devastating education cuts to cities and towns and installs structural municipal mandate reform that will provide long-term relief sought by local leaders and the taxpayers they serve.

“This budget is truly a bipartisan compromise. There are many things contained in the document that I do not support, but there were an overwhelming number of policies included that I’ve fought for and have been working on since I got elected that are positive reforms. With the implementation of a hard bonding cap (limited how much money the state can borrow) and spending cap, and helping municipalities by providing mandate relief and raising the prevailing wage, we will begin to turn this state around,” said Rep. Piscopo.

“I believe that this is a step in the right direction. It is a compromise that we had to be able to demonstrate. Although this would’ve been an easy budget to vote against based on the things that I don’t like about it, I voted for the budget to move the state forward and preserve the funding to our five towns in district, and implement important changes like the spending and bonding caps, and to stop many proposed tax increases, namely an increase in the sales tax and income taxes. I look forward to continue working toward implementing more structural change to get Connecticut back on track,” said Rep. Wilson.

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 seniors and tax cuts on retirees
-Imposes a 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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Piscopo Celebrates State Button Manufacturing, Collecting

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HARTFORD – Marking Manufacturing Month in Connecticut, State Rep. John Piscopo (R-76) recently attended the 75th anniversary celebration of the Acorn Button Club. During the festivities, Piscopo had the opportunity to meet with club members and hear about the rich state history of the club, rooted in Connecticut manufacturing.

Photo (L-R):Rep. John Piscopo, with Acorn ButtonClub Officers Laurel Durso, Miriam Johnson, and Betty Rindfleisch

“I am proud to congratulate this wonderful group on 75 amazing years of keeping an important part of our state history,” said Rep. Piscopo, who presented the club with an official citation from the Connecticut General Assembly. “Connecticut’s rich history is rooted in manufacturing, and that includes buttons, which are very unique. Each button has a history all its own. It tells a story of the wearer and the point in time that it was worn, and collectively, they give an account of times past. I’m thankful to the members of this club for their dedication in preserving our history and I wish them continued success.”

According to Acorn Button Club President Laurel Durso, the Connecticut State Library houses the John H. Tingue button collection consisting of 90,000 buttons. Tingue had donated them in 1884 to the CT State Agricultural Society, where they remained in storage for 58 years. In 1942, the Acorn Button Society helped to clean and remount the buttons, which were then donated to the State Library. In 1975, members of the Acorn Button Club again helped to refurbish the button collection.

This year, the Acorn Button Club is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Two current members were part of the group in 1975, working on the collection. Connecticut is very rich in button history. One of the first button manufactures of pewter buttons in the late 1700’s were the Grilley Brothers in Waterbury. Button companies were located in all CT counties. Today, four local clubs located across the state carry on the tradition.

For more information about the club, along with the history of button manufacturing in Connecticut, visit www.connecticutstatebuttonsociety.org.

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CT DOT: Bridge Repair Work in Harwinton, Litchfield

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Please see the below alert issued by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding bridge repair work in our area. Please plan accordingly as this may impact your travel plans.

Please do not hesitate to contact me about this or any state issue at 800-842-1423 or email john.piscopo@housegop.ct.gov.

Rehabilitation of Bridge #00608 in the Towns of Litchfield and Harwinton

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is announcing that the rehabilitation of Bridge #00608 on Route 8 Northbound in the Towns of Litchfield and Harwinton will have a stage change from a single lane crossover to a single lane in each direction beginning October 24, 2017 weather permitting.

The project consists of the replacement of the concrete bridge deck and associated parapets. New metal beam rail and pavement along with other minor safety improvements have been completed. Structural steel repair and blasting and painting have taken place. Traffic will be realigned from a single lane crossover in the northbound direction utilizing the adjacent Route 8 Southbound Bridge to a single lane in each direction.

DOT Project No. 0073-0182 was awarded to Rotha Contracting Company, Inc. and is scheduled to be completed 11/15/17.

LANE CLOSURE INFO

Beginning on October 24, 2017, a single lane in each direction will begin use on northbound and southbound Route 8 weather permitting.

Republican Legislators Urge Override of Governor’s Veto

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Governor’s actions irresponsible to schools, municipalities

State Republican legislators today expressed disappointment that the Governor vetoed the only state budget to pass the General Assembly with bipartisan support. At a press conference in Plymouth earlier in the day, the legislators and local municipal leaders had called on the Governor to sign the budget. Now, they are calling on support to override the veto.

Senator Henri Martin (R-31) said, “I guess the one good thing I can say is that the Governor is a man of his word. He said he was going to veto this budget and that is what he did. He did that knowing what his executive order has been doing and will continue to do to our communities, to our schools, to the elderly, and to those with disabilities. He has either been deaf to their pleas or he must have a heart of stone.”

The only recourse that can save core services, Sen. Martin said, is for the legislature to meet and override the veto.

Senator Craig Miner (R-30) said, “The bipartisan budget is not perfect, but it reflects the consensus intention that problems at the state level should not result in a disaster at the municipal level. The governor should not have vetoed this budget, but since he did, it is the legislature’s duty to override his short-sighted decision.”

Representative Whit Betts (R-78) said, “We continue to hear the pleas from our municipalities and school systems about the importance of moving forward on a budget and providing them with certainty and predictability. The General Assembly did its job and adopted a bipartisan budget which does just that. Although not surprised, I am disheartened by the governor’s budget veto today. I urge the Speaker of the House to call the legislature into session, and I’m hopeful that my fellow lawmakers will vote to override the budget veto.”

Representative Cara Pavalock-D’Amato (R-77) said, “The bipartisan budget that Governor Malloy vetoed today reduced state expenses and cut administrative costs throughout government while prioritizing core functions and maintaining funding for critical programs for those most in need, like Care for Kids. I am extremely concerned for my constituents about the governor’s executive orders that will go into effect on October 1, and the devastating impact it will have on these programs.”

Representative John Piscopo (R-78) said, “Now that the governor has vetoed the bipartisan budget, I’m greatly concerned about Governor Malloy’s looming executive order. Not only is it bad policy, it will be putting a terrible hurting our towns. Some of the finance houses in New York, namely Standard & Poor’s, have indicated that the bond ratings will be degraded in our towns if the executive order stands. We have seen the state’s bond ratings degraded four times in the last year and a half. It would be detrimental if this were to happen to our towns, because this is funding we depend on for our local infrastructure projects like roads and bridges.”

Representative William A. Petit, Jr. (R-22) said, “The bipartisan budget which helped towns and cities across our state with increases in municipal aid has been vetoed today, and we will now see drastic cuts to municipal aid with the Governor’s executive orders. In the Appropriations committee on which I serve, our mantra in crafting a budget has been to try and protect children, the elderly, and those with disabilities. Now, drastic cuts to vital social services, including Care for Kids, Meals on Wheels, and substance abuse treatment services, will go into effect on October 1, and our small towns and communities will not be able to sustain this extra burden that the state will be inflicting on them.”

The legislators said they hope that when the veto session comes, other members of the General Assembly will reflect on the words municipal leaders spoke during the press conference at Plymouth Town Hall today.

Plymouth Mayor David V. Merchant “We’re a small community. We don’t a have big fund balance. We’ve gone through some financial woes over the last couple years and we don’t have that extra money to make up in the middle of a year. . . We’ve got a school system that’s three months into the year and now we’re talking about making major cuts to that. We can’t sustain that. The Town of Plymouth, and I speak for a lot of small communities, we just can’t sustain that.”

Plainville Town Council Chair Katherine M. Pugilese “Plainville is looking at a reduction of almost $2 million in the current fiscal year in the Governor’s proposed budget. How do we take care of that? We have gotten no direction. Do we deplete our fund balance, which we have carefully guarded over many, many years of wise financial planning? Do we start to lay off the people that are so very important to our community, our teachers, our police, our people that take care of our parks and our roadways? . . . (Republicans) are here to protect the very people who are going to be asked to shoulder this burden: the taxpayers. That’s the only way the cities and the states can raise revenue is to increase taxes on the taxpayers, whether they are businesses or individuals, and they will decrease services while they are taking more money out of our pockets. I don’t imagine any worse scenario right now.”

Harwinton First Selectman Michael R. Criss “I will use the Governor’s words as he eloquently said it: Municipal leaders do it better. We do it better every day . . As small communities, we took time over the last three to four years and renegotiated our union agreements, our healthcare plans, our pension plans. Our union members sacrificed, for what? For our community. For our children’s future. For the future of this state.  . . Our municipalities cannot shoulder this. We do not have extra money to bail Hartford out. We do not have extra money to bail Governor Malloy’s pet projects out. The money is earmarked for bridges. It’s earmarked for roads. It’s earmarked for the future of rebuilding Connecticut town-by-town.”

Bristol Mayor Ken Cockayne “I second what First Selectman Criss said. Municipalities, we don’t have the luxury of not having a budget. We had to have a budget. And what we did in Bristol was we spoke to our representatives and we took a best guess at where our budget was going to be and the Republican budget is right about where they said it would be. The Governor, in Bristol, is cutting almost $4 million out of our budget. That’s over one mill. We cannot sustain that. We would be in trouble if we have to start making those cuts.”

For more information on the bipartisan budget that Governor Malloy vetoed, visit: www.cthousegop.com/budget

Local Legislators Hail Passage of Bipartisan Budget

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Urge Gov. Malloy to sign budget into law

Hartford – State Representatives John Piscopo (R-76) and Dave Wilson (R-66), and State Senators Craig Miner (R-30) and Henri Martin (R-31) applauded passage of a bi-partisan budget that avoids new tax increases, preserves core social services, keeps commitments to education, provides stability for municipalities, and rejects Governor Malloy’s proposed shifting of teacher pension costs onto towns and cities.  

The budget passed following a remarkable display of bipartisanship from Democrat Senators Hartley, Doyle and Slossberg, who joined their Republican colleagues to vote of 21-15 in favor of the bill. The document was later taken up by the House of Representatives and, after lengthy debate, was passed by a margin of 77 – 73 early Saturday morning.

“This is a great day for the state of Connecticut and our taxpayers. The budget we passed will provide the protections that residents have been asking for by not implementing any new taxes. It will also protect education and municipal funding, which the governor threatens to cut by executive order on October 1. This budget will stop the problem of annual deficits by changing the way we do business in Connecticut.  I urge folks to call the governor and ask him to sign it,” said Rep. Piscopo.

“This budget, which was passed out of the legislature with the support of both Republicans and Democrats, offers a solution to a failing state and makes the changes necessary to stop the fiscal devastation that is happening.  The governor should sign this budget, which restores the massive funding cuts he has made to towns and cities, and restores critical education funding, which are in danger of massive, detrimental cuts effective on October 1. In addition, this budget does what taxpayers have been asking for- it does not raise new taxes, eliminates social security income tax, and also phases out tax on pension income for middle class. I urge residents to call the governor and ask him to sign this budget,” said
Rep. Wilson
.

“This bipartisan budget is about priorities. It protects core social services, implements an equitable education funding formula, and avoids huge tax increases that hurt our citizens and businesses. The budget proposed by the Democrats and Governor Malloy would have undoubtedly caused massive local tax increases and quite likely a loss of teaching positions,” said Miner. “Governor Malloy ought to put aside party politics the way a few courageous democrat legislators have and sign this budget. He’s asked the legislature for a budget, and we delivered. It’s his turn,” said
Sen. Miner.

“This budget recognizes that Connecticut cannot survive the tax-and-spend policies of the past. The only way we can move forward is to reduce the cost of our bloated state government and prioritize how we spend taxpayer dollars. Our budget funds those priorities: education, municipalities, services for seniors and those with developmental and intellectual disabilities. I believe this is the path we must take to stabilize the state’s economy,” said Sen. Martin.

Highlights of the bi-partisan budget:

•             Eliminates Social Security income tax and phases out tax on pension income for middle class
•             Restores funding for the state’s property tax credit in its entirety to all families and individuals
•             No increase or expansion of the state’s sales tax
•             No income tax increase
•             No new restaurant sales tax
•             No income tax increase
•             No secondary home tax
•             No cell phone tax
•             No increase to the cigarette tax
•             No new tax on nonprescription drugs
•             No new restaurant sales tax
•             No increase to the pistol permit fee
•             No increase to the hotel tax
•             No new fantasy sports tax

The budget moves to Governor Malloy’s desk where it awaits his signature, or sits for 30 days without signature, in order to go into effect.  Should, the governor veto the budget, it would return to the legislature for lawmakers  to either begin the budget process again, or override the veto with a two thirds vote of each chamber.

For more detailed information on the budget proposal, please visit: www.cthousegop.com/budget.

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