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Rep. Staneski Op-Ed: Carefully watching your money

Posted on June 21, 2018 by jdooley


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Many people are not aware that Connecticut has an independent state office that is tasked with going through every state department and agency making sure there is no undo government waste, abuse of state spending, or unfair working and hiring practices.

The office of the Auditors of Public Accounts primary mission is to conduct audits of all state agencies. However, there has never been any formal follow through on these audit reports from the General Assembly. Last year, Republicans pushed through a provision, which permits for the oversight committees of cognizance to conduct a review of the auditors’ reports within 180 days after they have been submitted.

I supported this provision as members of the General Assembly would continually receive auditors’ reports, some with major violations and waste of state resources, and the leadership of the legislature would just turn a blind eye to the auditors’ findings and recommendations—many that have been repeated by various agencies multiple times and never properly addressed.

As the Ranking Republican on Higher Education, late last week, I sent a joint letter, along with my Republican colleague, Senator Art Linares, to our counterparts of the Higher Education committee asking for our committee to conduct legislative hearings in order to resolve the ongoing findings and possible state waste issues cited by the state auditors regarding the Connecticut State University – Systems Office, the Community Colleges, the Charter Oak Foundation, and the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC).

For instance, UConn Health Center gave raises to employees who approved a contract for a the interim head of the center, rehired retirees who worked longer than they should have according to executive fiats, and paid some employees more than they should have, according to their contracts.

We should not have important findings by the Auditors of Public Accounts collect dust on a shelf somewhere. That practice does nothing but allow further fiscal malfeasance to continue unabated to the detriment of the taxpayers of Connecticut.

As always please feel free to contact me on this or any matter that is of importance to you.

State Rep. Pam Staneski, Orange Lawmakers Talk Legislative Session over Coffee

Posted on June 9, 2018 by jdooley


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ORANGE – House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-114) and State Reps. Charles Ferraro (R-117) and Pam Staneski (R-119) hosted a coffee hour on Friday, June 2nd at Chip’s Family Restaurant to have a casual conversation about the 2018 legislative session. The lawmakers discussed the bipartisan budget, reform for more efficient special needs treatment and addressed senior issues with representatives of AARP.  

The lawmakers encourage those who were unable to make it to visit cthousegop.com to find a copy of the 2018 Major Public Acts Report, which provides detailed analysis of bills passed during the session. 

 

 

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State Rep. Pam Staneski Op-ed: Benefits of the Electoral College

Posted on May 22, 2018 by jdooley


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This year the CT House of Representatives narrowly passed a resolution to join an interstate compact calling for the state’s electoral votes to go the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote. This is terribly misguided.

The Electoral College (EC) is an elegant institution, chosen by the Founders for a number of important reasons. First, it places a layer of protection between an election and the installation of the president, preventing a truly unfit person from serving. Second, it recognizes the sovereignty of the states (we are The United States of America, not The United People of America!) and prevents small states from becoming insignificant in the electoral process. Without the EC, candidates would entirely abandon small states. California, Texas, and Florida have over 30% of the voting population but only 23% of the Electoral College.

Third, the Electoral College is what primarily preserves our strong two-party tradition, forcing national candidates to the center and requiring broad support to govern. Without the Electoral College we would have dozens of factious parties, leading to presidents without the consensus to lead, and unstable, revolving-door coalition governments. In a large and diverse nation such as ours, the EC prevents single-issue and geographical fragmentation, leading to more truly egalitarian election results, not less. Imagine if the “winner” of the election got 8% of the vote! In last year’s Dutch elections, 28 parties fielded candidates and this in a country of 17 million people!

Fourth, the Electoral College quarantines voting disputes. In 1960, Kennedy beat Nixon by less than one vote per precinct nationally, but the recount was confined to Illinois because of the Electoral College. Similarly, in 2000, the popular votes for Gore and Bush were very close, but the recount was confined to Florida. Without the Electoral College, such close elections could paralyze the government as lawsuits, challenges, and recounts in possibly thousands of jurisdictions turned the election into a nightmare, leaving us without a clear winner long afterwards.

The Electoral College has served us very well, with the overall popular vote winner differing from the Electoral College vote winner only 5 times in 57 elections, and each of those elections was essentially a toss-up. We should be leery of tinkering with the Electoral College.

As always, if you have any thoughts or concerns you’d like me to be aware of, please contact my office direct at 800-842-1423 or email Pam.Staneski@housegop.ct.gov.

Rep. Pam Staneski: New DMV Express Opening in Milford

Posted on May 17, 2018 by jdooley


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I have some good news for Milford residents and other area residents to share. 

In June, Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union and the CT DMV will be opening a DMV Express location at 977 Boston Post Road, which will be open six days a week, Monday through Saturday. 

From Monday through Friday, hours will be 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Saturdays 9 a.m. until noon. Nutmeg and the DMV Express will be sharing the space. 

This service is available to all CT drivers. License renewals will be able to be completed at the Nutmeg location. 

 This past session I proposed a bill to privatize the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) because as a state agency it was not meeting the needs of Connecticut residents. We can no longer tolerant a shortage of renewal locations, or long wait times for license renewal. 

Although my DMV privatize bill did not get a vote during the short legislative session, I am encouraged the DMV is looking for ways it can streamline services and moving to public -private partnerships because ultimately we need a system that works for the residents of Connecticut. 

As always, if you have any thoughts or concerns you’d like me to be aware of, please contact my office direct at 800-842-1423 or email Pam.Staneski@housegop.ct.gov. I encourage you to sign up for my e-newsletter so you can get updates and alerts emailed directly to your inbox, just go to my website www.repstaneski.com for news and commentary on the latest happenings in Orange and at the State Capitol.

Reps. Klarides, Staneski & Ferraro Support Compromise State Budget

Posted on May 10, 2018 by jdooley


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Restores Medicare Savings, No Taxes, No Tolls

HARTFORD- House Republican Leader Themis Klarides, State Reps. Pam Staneski (R-119) and Charles Ferraro (R-117) voted to support the negotiated bipartisan state budget plan on the final day of the 2018 regular session.

 

This budget plan does not include any new tax increases and does not bring tolls back to Connecticut roads. And, this legislative body blocked the Governor from using his ‘hold-back’ authority to reduce municipal aid funding at will.

While it did not include some important pieces that were in our proposal, such as a plan to pay down unfunded pension liability, we were able to negotiate numerous provisions from our budget plan into the final legislation, including a hard hiring freeze on new state employees that will save $7 million.

“Republicans made restoring Medicare cuts a top priority so that more than 100,000 seniors will not lose their benefits beginning July 1. We also added money back to support veteran’s health programs and community colleges, all without raising taxes,’’ Klarides said.

“We still believe that our Republican budget plan was the best for Connecticut because it was a broad approach that included paying down the state’s debt and preserving the Rainy Day Fund. But those provision were not acceptable to Democrats and Connecticut needed to have a balanced budget in place,’’ she said.

The plan also includes:

  • Restores $130 million in funding to the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) for senior citizens and the disabled
  • Funds the Retired Teachers’ Healthcare Fund
  • Restores funding for the HUSKY ‘A’ Medicaid program for about 13,500 low-income parents who are “working poor”
  • Contains a hard hiring freeze on new state employees to save $7 million.

Additionally the budget document:

  • Blocks the planned fare increases on buses and trains that are scheduled for July 1
  • All municipal aid, education cost sharing, town aid road, Regional Fire Training Schools, the CT Firefighters Cancer Fund will all remain whole and untouched for 2019

“This budget plan is a product of a lot of hard work and many hours of conversation,” said Rep. Staneski, who is a member of the budget-writing Appropriations committee.

“This budget compromise brings Republicans and Democrats together to save critical funding for our seniors, veterans and to our local communities, “explained Rep Ferraro.  This budget compromise does not do everything we had hoped, however, it does not raise taxes, implement tolls or employ other revenue gimmicks.  Republican proposals that were adopted in our 2017-2018 biennial budget have been carried over and preserved in this budget compromise and are beginning to stabilize our state’s economy.  I hope we can continue to gain support on our vision for Connecticut.”

“Throughout the budget process, I heard from many from Milford and Orange who said they did not want to pay higher state taxes or lose critical education funding, I am happy to report this compromised budget does not punish our towns. The main goal was to preserve the fiscal reforms going forward—a state spending cap, a cap on borrowing, and a volatility cap. We accomplished that without hurting our most vulnerable residents,” said Rep. Staneski.

The budget passed the House of Representatives 142-8 and the State Senate 36-0.

 

The budget now heads to Governor Malloy for his signature.

 

 

 

Rep. Staneski Says Thank you to our Educators

Posted on May 9, 2018 by jdooley


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Two, four, six, eight, who do we Appreciate?  Teachers, say it again—Teachers!  This month we celebrate those people who have chosen to become educators, people who help our children grow into mature, aspiring adults.  This is a difficult task — we are not just assembling widgets that must be equal in every way or discarded.  Our students bring to the classroom an array of differences and experiences that must be considered as teachers plan their many lessons.  They must take this assorted group of young people and engage them in learning amidst a challenging array of competing stimuli. Yet, our educators continue to rise to the task—battling the latest reality show, computer game,  I-pod, and MP3s in their quest to capture the attention of their students, and our children,  and connect their world to the curriculum, concepts, and theories  that are taught.  Along with that, they are coaches, class and club advisors, confidants, and friends.  Many work beyond the school day to ensure our children’s success, taking home papers to grade, researching topics for discussion, or making phone calls to parents.  Why do they do all of this?  To a teacher who is passionate about their profession, the answer is found when they see a student (even if only one) have that ‘ah-ha’ moment. 

Reflect back on your own education.  Forget about the time you put a frog in the teacher’s desk and remember that teacher (maybe the same one!), who helped you discover something about yourself?  Was it that shop teacher who helped you understand rise over run (the thing you told your algebra teacher you would never use) as you made your angle cut for a trim piece of wood?  Was it that English teacher who taught Shakespeare in a way that has you attending theater productions at Yale?  Or perhaps, it was that elementary teacher whose smile made you want to be in class every day.  We all have them, those fond memories of that special teacher who really did help shape who we are today.  So, do more than just read that bumper sticker, you know the one—If you can read this, thank a teacher—thank that teacher, and then thank your child’s teacher or teachers for their commitment to your child, my child, our children—they truly help mold our future.  THANK YOU EDUCATORS of MILFORD AND ORANGE!!