Norwalk, Westport and Wilton

Rep. Gail Lavielle Named Ranking Member of Legislature’s Appropriations Committee

Posted on December 19, 2018 by admin


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Will be Lead Republican on Legislature’s Budget-Writing Committee

HARTFORD – On Tuesday, State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-Wilton, Norwalk, Westport) was appointed by House Republican Leader Rep. Themis Klarides as Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s joint Appropriations Committee, a role she will assume when the 2019 session opens on January 9. Rep. Lavielle will maintain her memberships on the Education and Transportation Committees.

Rep. Lavielle, an Assistant Minority Leader who will be sworn in for her fifth term in the state House in January, previously served for three terms on the Appropriations Committee, where she was Ranking Member of the Transportation Subcommittee. She also has experience in leadership of a large, prominent committee, having served for two terms as Ranking Member of the Education Committee. As a member of the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee, she has worked on the revenue side of the state budget as well.

The Appropriations Committee, the largest committee in the state legislature, is responsible for determining funding for the state’s departments and agencies, and for drafting the biennial budget, which is approximately $40 billion. The committee also deals with state employee salaries and pensions – the largest fixed cost in the State of Connecticut. For years, Connecticut has run large deficits, most recently surpassing $5 billion. Due to the difficulties of resolving the massive shortfall, the legislature missed its June 30, 2017 deadline and did not resolve the situation until late October of that year.

“I am honored to take on this new leadership role, and I am grateful to Republican Leader Klarides for the appointment,” Rep. Lavielle said, following the announcement at the Capitol. “The gravity and depth of Connecticut’s fiscal crisis cannot be overstated, and no matter how you view the situation, it is clear that real structural, long-lasting changes in the management of the state’s finances will be necessary to restore Connecticut’s economy. During this session, we must of course be attentive to the many non-financial issues that are important to the state’s residents, but at the same time, we must be laser-focused on the serious financial problems that affect the state’s ability to implement and enforce good policies in every area. Together with my caucus, I am confident that we will continue to offer workable proposals to reduce spending, improve the business climate and grow the tax base, reduce taxes as spending cuts and revenue growth permit, and invest intelligently in infrastructure, education, and essential social services.”

Although the state is expected to finish the year with a relatively small surplus, the projected deficit, beginning July, 2019, is an indicator of the continuing challenges ahead.

“With a new administration come new opportunities, and I hope that our new governor will be open to ideas from both sides of the political aisle,” continued Rep. Lavielle. “The legislature does its best work when everyone moves past politics and works together. For the last four years, I have enjoyed an excellent relationship with my Democratic counterparts in Education Committee leadership that allowed us to accomplish much together for the state. I would welcome the same kind of relationship with my counterparts on the Appropriations Committee, and I hope that we will be successful in working together to improve Connecticut’s finances and economy.”

While Ranking Member of the Education Committee, Rep. Lavielle authored the first comprehensive education mandate relief bill passed in years. She also has worked successfully to stop the proposed transfer of teacher pension costs to towns and to make the state education funding formula more predictable. She will continue to advocate for more equitable funding for Norwalk’s schools, better career and college preparation for students, school safety for students, teachers, and staff, and restoring the solvency of the teachers’ retirement and healthcare funds. The Education Committee oversees the Department of Education, local and regional boards of education, and legal matters pertaining to unionized teachers.

A longtime member of the Transportation Committee, Rep. Lavielle will continue to advocate for improvements to Metro-North, more cost-effective spending on infrastructure, better access to electric vehicles and construction of the infrastructure necessary to serve them, and a more efficient DMV. The committee oversees the Department of Transportation, including highways and bridges, navigation, aeronautics, mass transit and railroads, and also has cognizance of all matters pertaining to the State Traffic Commission and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Rep. Lavielle worked for more than 25 years in finance, marketing, and communication, holding executive leadership positions in both the United States and France with Fortune 500 companies. She served as Chief Executive of a subsidiary of the Interpublic Group and as a Senior Vice President of Suez Environnement, the leading international water and wastewater services company. Before her election to the legislature, she served on the Wilton Board of Finance and Energy Commission. In addition to an MA from Yale and a BA from Cornell, she holds an MBA in Finance from UConn. She and her husband live in Wilton.

The General Assembly will convene on January 9, 2019 for a five-month session that will end at midnight on June 5. In odd-numbered years, legislators must vote on a biennial state budget, which they must pass before they adjourn.

Rep. Lavielle Signs Petition to Call a Special Session and Stop Governor’s $10 Million Toll Study

Posted on July 25, 2018 by rjoslyn


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HARTFORD – State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) signed a legislators’ petition this week to request a special session for the purpose of prohibiting the expenditure of taxpayer funds to study and evaluate the establishment of tolls in Connecticut.

Last week, Governor Dan Malloy issued an Executive Order directing the state Department of Transportation to prepare a plan implementing tolls and study its impacts. On Wednesday, the Bond Commission, which he chairs, approved his request to borrow $10 million for the study.

The study would explore tolls on all major Connecticut highways, including Interstates 95, 91, and 84, along with the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways.

“The governor’s demand for $10 million in bonding to study tolls this summer was surprising, particularly because the legislature just recently twice considered and failed to pass bills that included toll studies: HB 5391 in 2018, and an amendment to HB 6058 in 2017. The Executive Order therefore directly circumvents the clearly expressed will of the legislature,” said Rep. Lavielle. “For that reason, I am joining the members of my caucus in submitting a petition to convene a special session so that the legislature can exercise its authority to direct how taxpayer money is spent and stop a project that we, as well as many of our constituents, feel to be inappropriate.”

Rep. Lavielle expressed her agreement with State Comptroller Kevin Lembo (D-CT), who sits on the Bond Commission and voted to oppose bonding $10 million for a toll study, saying “The Bond Commission should not act as a replacement for legislative action.”

“I hope my colleagues from both parties will recognize their responsibility to defend taxpayers from this attempt to collect more revenue from them and to make them fund yet more borrowing, and sign the petition for a special session,” added Rep. Lavielle.

Legislators have until Thursday, July 27 at noon to submit enough signatures to convene a special session of the General Assembly.

Rep. Lavielle Update: Circumventing the Legislative Process – The Governor’s $10 Million Toll Study

Posted on July 19, 2018 by rjoslyn


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As you may have heard, Governor Malloy this week announced that he is requesting from the state Bond Commission $10 million in borrowed money to pay for a study on the implementation of electronic tolling in Connecticut.

Toll legislation has been considered by the General Assembly in each of the past five years, and it has never passed.  Thus far, significant public opposition has prevented its passage in the legislature.

In the face of that opposition and despite several studies already completed, the governor nonetheless issued an Executive Order for the DOT to proceed with a study that he says will demonstrate what a toll plan would look like and how much it would cost commuters.

The move is surprising, particularly because the legislature just recently twice considered and failed to pass bills that included toll studies: HB 5391 in 2018, and an amendment to HB 6058 in 2017. The Executive Order therefore directly circumvents the clearly expressed will of the legislature.

I agree with state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, who said, in explaining his plan to vote no on the request in the Bond Commission, “The Bond Commission should not act as a replacement for legislative action.”

It is also noteworthy that in the case of each of these two bills, the studies were projected to cost $5 million. The governor is now asking for twice as much to accomplish the same thing.

I feel that the request is inappropriate, particularly given the state’s precarious financial circumstances. I would like to share with you here a letter that my colleagues – House Minority Leader Themis Klarides and Finance Committee Ranking Member Chris Davis – have sent to the governor asking him to remove the request from the Bond Commission’s agenda.

I stand with my colleagues in urging the Bond Commission to refuse the governor’s $10 million request, and will join them in petitioning for a special session in the event that the Bond Commission approves the request.

The Bond Commission is scheduled to meet on July 25.

Click on the image below to read the full letter:

Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions about items on the state Bond Commission agenda or any other state issue.