Announces Plans and Initiatives for 2019 Legislative Session
HARTFORD – On Wednesday, State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-Wilton, Norwalk, Westport) was sworn into her fifth term representing the 143rd House District. Rep. Lavielle will serve as the highest-ranking Republican on the joint Appropriations Committee and will remain on the Transportation Committee and Education Committee, where she previously served as Ranking Member.
“I am excited to begin my fifth term in office and I thank my constituents for the honor of representing them once again,” Rep. Lavielle said. “The challenges we face in 2019 are very real. We have five months to draft a balanced budget with structural fiscal reforms that will close the deficits, grow the tax base, and restore the economy over the long term. This can be accomplished by keeping taxes low for businesses and residents, easing the regulatory environment, reducing unfunded post-retirement liabilities, and making sure state government does not spend more than it can afford. If there’s one thing we certainly cannot afford, it is delay. In 2017, budget negotiations concluded several months later than the June 30th deadline. I will do everything in my power as Appropriations Ranking Member to keep our committee, and the budget process, on schedule.”
This session, Rep. Lavielle will introduce a bill requiring the legislature to pass a revenue package before a spending bill can be approved.
“Connecticut’s persistent budget deficit is reinforced by our budget process, which is currently flawed,” Rep. Lavielle added. “A budget should be based on how much we can spend – how much taxpayers are willing and able to afford — and then the Appropriations Committee must decide where and how that amount is spent. The General Assembly, however, does this in reverse. You wouldn’t buy a house without knowing how much you have in your bank account, so why should Connecticut decide how much it wants to allocate before determining how much revenue it can expect? When we appropriate before we finance, we run the great risk of falling short, which will ultimately result in tax increases or one-shot revenue collections to make up the difference. We need a better system and the bill I am proposing would help the legislature, and state government, live within its means.”
Following through on her commitment to seek meaningful fiscal reforms, Rep. Lavielle hopes to pass her bill eliminating the estate and gift taxes, which contribute little to the state’s total revenue. These taxes have been cited as major burdens for seniors and small business owners, and as incentives for them to leave the state.
In addition to her budget-related initiatives, Rep. Lavielle will introduce legislation banning ghost guns and guns produced by 3-D printing, a bill eliminating the Board of Regents, another prohibiting the consolidation of the state’s community colleges without legislative approval, and a bill concerning vaping, which would label vaping devices that are often used by young teenagers and resemble flash drives and other objects as nicotine delivery devices. Furthermore, she will submit a bill permitting electric vehicle manufacturers, including Tesla, to sell their cars directly to consumers as opposed to selling through dealerships as current state law requires.
Rep. Lavielle will also reintroduce a bill preventing a sitting governor from reducing a town’s education funding midyear. Similar legislation was proposed during the 2018 session, and passed in both chambers, only to be vetoed by then-Governor Malloy. The bill was called for an override during a veto session later that year, but did not secure the necessary votes.
The 2019 Session will adjourn at midnight on June 5. In odd-numbered years, legislators vote on a biennial state budget, which they must pass before they adjourn.