Posted on September 26, 2018 by admin
Campaign season is now upon us and with it will come loads of rhetoric, accusations, and promises. Mostly, it will come with plenty of distractions. Hartford Democrats have nothing to offer, no ideas on how to fix our economy and they can’t bring themselves to acknowledge their path has been a disaster. So, be prepared to see through the ridiculous claims and false attacks meant to distract from the record.
This month, I thought I would recap just some of the policies that have been adopted in our state over the last few years to paint a picture of where we have been and where we should go. It’s no secret that Connecticut’s economy, like many of its residents, has gone south.
I suppose passage of the two largest “Malloy” tax increases in state history had something to do with it. Perhaps it was the shameful ten-year extension to 2027 of the SEBAC deal Democrats passed on a party-line vote last summer seeing the writing on the wall that they may not be in charge next January.
Possibly, it’s the excessive regulations that crush small businesses and eliminate jobs. Let’s not forget the union stewards who were recently exposed by public auditors for receiving taxpayer money for union work on taxpayer time, or the deceased professor paid by UCONN for months and months before he was discovered missing. Everyday, there is seemingly a new story about how our tax dollars were wasted – or worse.
Maybe, a contributing factor is the constant increase in healthcare premiums attributed to both our state and federal governments meddling in what was certainly an imperfect, but at least functioning system. I hope no one forgets former President Obama’s promises that you will get to keep your doctor and your plan, or that huge savings -$2500 per family were on the horizon.
We all know it turned out a little different. This past year Democrats, fearful of an Obamacare repeal in Washington, put it right in our Connecticut law. Worse, they tried to claim this was a “woman’s health care” bill for the purpose of their nonsensical claim of a Republican “war on women.”
There was also the CTFastrak to Nowhere, a first-rate example of government waste and mismanagement that we will continue to pay off for many years to come. At this point, the Fastrak might as well go to Florida!
Most recently, Governor Malloy, while repeatedly emphasizing the need for money to fix our roads and bridges, circumvented the legislature to spend $10 million on a tolls study! I have an idea – how about spending the $10M on the roads and bridges.
Few people disagree that these choices were mistakes and that the result of such fiscal mismanagement has left our beautiful state struggling for a new path. Every mistake made in Hartford pushes us one step farther from a turn around. Phony transportation lockboxes, misleading healthcare policies, a disdain for the rule of law and a blatant inability to control spending are just some of the reasons why people have lost all faith in Hartford.
There is no doubt that our state needs a new direction and that requires new leadership. Ultimately, we need to remake Connecticut into a more attractive place for everyone to live, work, start or run a business, raise a family, and retire. The answer is a smaller, more transparent, and more responsive government that spends less, taxes less, and encourages ambitious entrepreneurs to take risks and create jobs. Growing our economy is the way forward, and the only way to pay off our obligations.
I am hopeful for a new path forward after the election and that the next legislative session will be more promising. I promise to do my part.
As always, you can find me at www.repsampson.com.
Posted on August 16, 2018 by admin
This month I thought I would share a few more reasons we need change in our state government. In July, Governor Malloy chose to forgo our rule of law and system of government to force the passage of his ridiculous $10 million “study” for tolls through the Bond Commission and then authorize the spending via executive order. My colleague and dear friend Senator Joe Markley is doing his best to use the courts to stop this injustice and I hope he prevails.
The bonding for this wasteful expenditure passed by a vote of 9-3 with the only two Republican members of the Bond Commission, and one Democrat, voting against it. Amazingly, the state’s treasurer, Denise Nappier, abstained because she did not want her position on the record. Surely Connecticut’s top financial officer would want a say in this matter, or so you would think.
The governor’s shameful misuse of $10 million is a perfect example of why our state’s finances are in shambles. That’s $10 million that could be used to repair a bridge, or a few roads, or perhaps a stretch of highway heavily traveled during rush hour. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be a priority to our current leaders.
My house Republican colleagues and I led the charge to stop this madness by submitting 71 letters (one from each member of our caucus) to the Secretary of State’s office requesting a special session. Unfortunately, only a few Democrats joined us, leaving us short of the 76 required signatures needed to force a special session. I was disappointed, but not surprised.
That brings us to the infamous transportation “lockbox,” which I have debated numerous times on the House floor and during our most recent Government Administration and Elections Committee meeting just as the Bond Commission was approving the $10 million for the toll study in the next room.
This item will appear on the ballot in November giving us the choice to make an amendment to our state constitution providing for a “lockbox” on transportation funds. Unfortunately, the language in this amendment does no such thing. It will not protect transportation funds, nor prevent the state government from continuing the irresponsible spending practices and mismanagement they are becoming famous for.
Make no mistake – the lockbox is just a gimmick. There are no protections for Connecticut citizens or guarantees that money placed in this lockbox will be used solely for transportation improvements. The money that would go into the lockbox can be changed by a simple majority vote of the legislature and the money spent on “transportation purposes” can be redefined at any time in the same way. Essentially, the Governor and legislature can do what they have always done and choose to misuse our hard-earned tax dollars.
The best example is the so-called “Special Transportation Fund” itself. This is already the same kind of lockbox where money is supposed to be set aside for that purpose. Sadly, it has been repeatedly drained, swept, or circumvented repeatedly since its inception. A new “lockbox” will not stop that.
Vote either way I say since it makes no difference. However, my fear is that the transportation “lockbox” is simply being used to convince voters that an increase in the gas tax or tolls is necessary to fix our roads and bridges. Don’t believe it. As I said in the meeting, we don’t need any more gimmicks, we simply need responsible people in our state government who will make maintaining our transportation infrastructure a priority.
The State of Connecticut takes in plenty of our tax dollars every year. As I said in a previous column, the state is not necessarily broke, but it is broken. The state takes in more money in taxes every year than the year before. Sadly, it also spends exponentially more also.
We don’t need any new tolls or taxes. Rather, we need to control wasteful spending and elect good people to make responsible decisions on how it is spent. I am hopeful about the future, however, and can’t wait to work with people who truly want to restore the prosperity of our beautiful state.
As always, my door is open to you. Please contact me whenever you’d like to discuss an issue important to you. I deeply value the opinions of my constituents and I look forward to hearing from you. You can find me at www.repsampson.com.
Posted on August 13, 2018 by admin
Just a reminder that “Tax-Free Week” begins on Sunday, August 19 and ends on Saturday, August 25.
Although this tax-free event has been scaled back significantly in past years, it is still worth taking advantage of this opportunity while supporting local businesses.
Tax-Free Week was first enacted in 2000, and applies to most clothing and footwear purchases intended for everyday use, including items put on layaway.
This year, shoppers will have the opportunity to purchase those items under $100 TAX-FREE with some exceptions.
For more information, consult with your local retailer, or contact the Department of Revenue Services for a list of qualifying and non-qualifying items.
As always, Rep. Sampson can be reached at email@example.com or at (800) 842-1423.
Posted on August 9, 2018 by admin
State Representative Rob Sampson (R-Southington, Wolcott), Ranking Member on the Insurance and Real Estate Committee and Chairman of the legislature’s Conservative Caucus, spoke about major state issues on WATR Radio on August 7, 2018. Topics included the state’s spending problem, highway tolls, Citizens Election Program, crumbling foundations, illegal immigration and more.
Posted on July 18, 2018 by admin
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
There is a reason why there is a separation of powers in our system of government. The legislature creates the laws, the executive branch enforces them, and the judicial branch interprets them.
Yesterday, Governor Malloy issued an executive order to obtain a $10 million bond solely for the purpose of studying the implementation of highway tolls in Connecticut. This is outrageous since the General Assembly abandoned four toll proposals earlier this year due to opposition from Connecticut residents.
As you know, this is not the first time Governor Malloy has exceeded his executive authority as governor to circumvent the proper process of using the legislature to create public policy. Just this past year, Governor Malloy, by himself, reduced education grants to small towns across Connecticut without the legislature’s consent.
Several years ago, I led the opposition against forcing daycare workers and personal care attendants to unionize, which also began with a similar overreach by Governor Malloy using another executive order.
Clearly, the Governor has his own agenda, which varies greatly from what we as residents have in mind for ourselves. We cannot allow an outgoing executive to spend our hard-earned tax dollar lavishly on studies for something we know will not work.
I promise that my fellow Republicans and I will do everything in our power to get this item removed from the Bond Commission agenda, which is scheduled for next week. We are also looking into the legality of the governor’s actions.
If you would like to discuss this further I encourage you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (800) 842-1423. I am always eager to hear your thoughts on major issues affecting our state.
Rep. Rob Sampson
Posted on July 16, 2018 by admin
A common theme of my recent columns has been my dissatisfaction with the ever-increasing amount of partisan politics, games, and distractions that have become pervasive in actual policy making. I have always accepted that during campaign season (it is an election year) that there would be an increase in rhetoric and finger pointing. However, now it seems that it’s no longer just election year competition and, sadly, actual public policy is being created for political reasons.
Last month, I touched upon a few bills that were proposed for the sole purpose of creating election year negative campaign mailers. Many are nothing more than creative titles that have little to do with the content of the bills themselves. There was the so called “women’s health bill” that writes federal Obamacare statutes into our Connecticut state law on the possibility that the Affordable Care Act (another oxymoronic title) would be repealed in Congress. This November, there is no doubt that Republicans will be a target of Democrats making the false and ridiculous claim that we don’t support women’s health based on this vote.
There was also the “pay equity” bill – that has nothing at all to do with pay equity. The bill simply added another burdensome restriction on employers, effectively prohibiting them from asking for a potential employee’s previous pay rate. Again, there is no doubt that those of us who voted against adding even more regulations on business will be falsely accused of being part of the made up “war on women.”
There was even a bill allegedly designed to protect gay children from electro-shock therapy – the “conversion therapy ban” – but the language not only restricts parents from being involved in their own child’s counseling, it also removes protections from certain kinds of abuse if no money is exchanged.
There were gun control bills designed to stir up emotion on the idea that somehow adding more restrictions and regulations on law abiding gun owners will stop more tragedies from occurring. Unfortunately, actual policy efforts, such as my attempts to pass amendments to crack down on illegal guns used by criminals and gangs in our major cities, and to provide funding for school resource officers, were blocked repeatedly.
One good thing that happened in 2018 was that we passed a bill that I was proud to co-sponsor – the ECS bill. PA 18-35 would have prevented the Governor from unilaterally making cuts to education aid not approved by the legislature’s budget process. A great bill, right?! – and who could possibly be against it after what happened last year when Governor Malloy arbitrarily targeted small towns across Connecticut by reducing education aid, affecting town budgets and causing many to raise property taxes. It passed the Senate 36-0 and overwhelmingly in the House with only inner-city Democrats voting no.
Then, in a brazen move, Governor Malloy chose to veto it! Surprising, since the bill passed easily with enough support to override his veto. A veto-session was scheduled for June 25th and legislators gathered in their respective chambers prepared to override the veto, which requires two-thirds of all House and Senate members (101 in the House, 24 in the Senate).
The override narrowly passed in the House with all Republicans voting to overturn (103-33). Fortunately, enough House Democrats joined us to surpass the magic number of 101, but in a shocking turn of events, the attempt failed in the Senate 19-10 (short of the required 24 votes). All Republican senators voted in favor of the override, but several Democratic senators abandoned their original positions and voted with the governor this time around.
Unfortunately, not even one of Malloy’s seven other vetoes were overturned this year because majority leadership refused to call them – and the entire veto session resulted in yet another waste of taxpayer time and money.
I am greatly disappointed that some of my colleagues across the aisle chose to switch their positions on the ECS bill. I am equally displeased with the majority’s rejection of my school safety proposals, which I truly believe would help keep our students safe. We need common sense solutions now more than ever, and my proposals would have served that purpose.
It is sad when political agendas take precedence over education and public safety. It is my sincere hope that this November brings positive change and new leadership to our state government. I will keep doing my part to make it happen.
Thank you for reading. As always, you can contact me directly at repsampson.com.