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Opinion by Rep. Rob Sampson – June, 2018 Column

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As many of you will remember, I voted against the so-called “compromise” budget that was passed last October. The plan contained new and increased taxes, cut aid to towns, and contained questionable priorities like cutting funding for seniors while simultaneously bailing out the City of Hartford. It’s biggest failing was that it was out of balance even before it was passed, with little attention to changing our current course. I just couldn’t support it.

Fast forward to the final hours of the 2018 Session with the legislature up against another deadline and needing a resolution to correct at least the immediate imbalance in Connecticut’s books. This time, I am happy to report that cooler, more lucid minds prevailed, and all parties came together to pass a budget adjustment that begins to erase some of the terrible mistakes made in the compromise budget – restoring millions of dollars in aid to small towns across Connecticut (including the towns I represent Southington and Wolcott) who were shortchanged in the previous plan and then mugged again by Governor Malloy’s executive authority.

This budget “fix” also restores much of the cuts made to the Medicare Savings Plan, which helps over 100,000 seniors. Maybe most importantly, it revokes a substantial amount of the executive authority the Governor used to circumvent the will of the legislature. Best of all, this plan contains no new or increased taxes.

Despite those positive attributes, this is still another imperfect document that fails to address our long-term problems, particularly our growing debt and pension obligations. I voted yes as did nearly every other member because of the positives above, and because unlike the previous budget, it was the result of a genuine compromise with an attention to good public policy as opposed to election year politics that seems to infect every move the legislature makes lately.

During the debate, my Republican colleagues and I offered an even better alternative plan that charts a wiser course going forward, but it failed on a nearly party-line vote. I am looking hopefully to next session and a potential change in leadership to see those ideas come to fruition.

That vote was one of the final acts of the 2018 legislative session. Next month, I will share a recap of what happened. I am thinking of titling it “the good, bad, and the ugly.”

Until then, I am available whenever you need me. Please feel free to call my office at (800) 842-1423 or email me at rob.sampson@housegop.ct.gov.

Rep. Sampson Believes Hidden Tax is Not a Solution to Crumbling Foundations

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CT State Rep. Rob Sampson (R-Southington, Wolcott), Chairman of the legislature’s Conservative Caucus and Ranking Republican Member on the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, spoke on, and ultimately voted against, H.B. 5209, An Act Concerning Long-Term Care Insurance Premium Rate Increases.

Sampson believes the bill is a hidden tax on residents and that the funds collected would not be enough to help those with crumbling foundations. In addition, Sampson argues that this is unfair to insurance companies as well as residents in other parts of the state who were not affected by this issue.

Finally, Sampson notes that the title does not reflect the language in the bill since the original language was entirely removed and replaced at the last minute. Long-term care insurance refers to products individuals can purchase to assist them with extended medical care, while the crumbling foundations legislation is more applicable to home owners insurance.

Rep. Sampson Debates Special Enrollment Changes to Health Insurance – Opposes Rate Hikes

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CT State Representative Rob Sampson (R-Southington, Wolcott), Ranking Republican Member on the Insurance and Real Estate Committee and Chairman of the legislature’s Conservative Caucus, debated a bill concerning changes to special enrollment for health insurance coverage.

S.B. 206, An Act Authorizing Pregnancy As a Qualifying Event for Special Enrollment Periods for Certain Individuals, would permit pregnant individuals to enroll in health insurance no later than 30 days follow a confirmed pregnancy by a certified physician.

Rep. Sampson questioned the significance of the 30-day rule, and commented on the unintended consequences of the bill. Although the bill is intended to assist pregnant individuals looking for health coverage, he believes that the legislation could inadvertently lead to rate increases across the board, which could ultimately hurt pregnant individuals in need of medical services.

Rep. Sampson Presides Over House on Closing Day of Session

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Rep. Rob Sampson (R-Southington, Wolcott) presided over the House of Representatives during discussion on H.B. 5312, An Act Concerning Recommendations By the Department of Motor Vehicles Regarding the Motor Vehicles Statutes. In what has become a tradition for outgoing members of the House, Rep. Sampson was permitted to take the podium on what will likely be his last day of regular session in the chamber. Rep. Sampson, who has served in the House since 2011, was honored by the gesture, and conveyed his gratitude and appreciation to his fellow legislators. The 2018 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly concluded at midnight on May 9, 2018.

 

You can watch Rep. Sampson at the speaker’s podium by clicking on the video link below.

 

 

Rare Good News from the Capitol!

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I have some good news to report from Hartford. After weeks of steady pressure from me and my fellow Republicans, it appears that a bill proposal requiring electronic highway tolls in CT is now dead!

After promising that we would vote on tolls this past Wednesday, the Speaker of the House acknowledged that public pressure has grown to the point where he no longer has the votes to pass it!

There is still a small chance that the elected majority Democrats will attempt to raise this issue again, but we will be ready.

Thank you to everyone who spread the word about this issue, and informed their neighbors about the downside of installing tolls.

I believe we need to reduce the size and scope of our state government and allow citizens to keep more of their own money.

These are just some of the problems I see with tolls.

  1. We lose federal money in the form of FLEX highway funds we get for NOT having tolls – roughly $240M per year – and it starts as soon as we pass a law allowing tolls.
  2. It will take 3 years or more to set up the toll system and the bureaucracy needed to bill and collect tolls – all at tremendous cost to taxpayers in our state.
  3. Much of the revenue from tolls would be used precisely to support that bureaucracy.
  4. We cannot target the borders or charge different rates for out of state drivers. Federal law specifically prohibits this.
  5. Electronic tolls are great technology, but require that drivers be billed in the mail for tolls. In other states, they are finding that out of state drivers ignore the bills because there is no enforcement.

The state’s problems are not the result of a lack of revenue. Rather, it is the state government wasting our money on other things like bailing out Hartford and fixing the XL Center, dedicating a whole year’s Flex highway money to CT Fast Track, and so on.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or concerns relating to state government at rob.sampson@housegop.ct.gov or at (800) 842-1423.

 

Sincerely,

Rob

Rep. Rob Sampson

80th District