Posted on December 12, 2019 by Greg MacKinnon
To the Editor,
Snow is flying, but the governor has yet to release much needed Town Aid Road (TAR) dollars. This bond allocation serves as a critical resource for our towns to offset snow removal costs. The governor and legislative Democrats have refused to release this money to all 169 cities and towns across Connecticut. Meanwhile, next week the legislature is being called in for a special session to address outstanding bills that will help our state’s hospitals and restaurants. In January, we are being told there will be a special session to address trucks-only tolling to fund a long-term infrastructure plan.
I am calling on my colleagues across the aisle to immediately release TAR bonds so our towns can properly clear snow off our roads throughout the entire winter season. Holding promised resources hostage by arbitrarily attaching their release to the governor’s solicitation of votes for his toll plan certainly doesn’t help regain the trust of the public.
The fact that no bond bill was brought forth for debate this year is concerning. Towns do their best to budget, but when the governor makes a nearsighted policy decision to withhold money, then it puts local budgets in an unfair state of limbo. Will Northwest Corner towns get the necessary aid to help with road cleaning and repairs? Will other bond resources become available for local capital improvement projects?
At this point, there is no indication that our rural towns will see financial relief from the state anytime soon. Unfortunately, I also need to warn you and our local businesses about new taxes that will be effective on January 1st.
After the turn of the New Year, state sales tax will be levied on dry cleaning, parking, interior design services, and safety apparel. I opposed these new taxes when they came up for consideration earlier this year. Unfortunately, legislative Democrats and the governor included almost $2 billion in new taxes in order to balance the partisan state budget – further stressing the wallets of the working-class families and individuals here in the Northwest Corner.
Taxing motorcycle helmets, making it more expensive to clean business attire, and ensuring it’s even less convenient to park than it already is now, are all policies that fail to create a more affordable environment for Connecticut residents. Instead of coming up with new ways to collect revenue, I am committed to fighting against any form of taxing, while proactively working to take positive action on a resolution that will release TAR money as soon as possible.