New Fairfield, Sherman, New Milford and Danbury


Voters Should Reject “Lockbox Ruse”

Posted on October 18, 2018 by rjoslyn


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October 18, 2018

Voters Should Reject “Lockbox Ruse”

Every state relies on its transportation network to drive economic development and maximize quality of life. For this reason, insufficient transportation funding and mismanagement of spending on projects presents a major roadblock to Connecticut’s economic recovery.

The unacceptable state of our infrastructure has a direct impact on all residents, making commuting a nightmare while constraining existing businesses and dooming many newer ones. A study by US News & World Report named Connecticut’s transportation system the third worst in the nation overall, with the very worst road quality out of all 50 states. Meanwhile, rail and bus services are threatened with cuts on an almost annual basis.

A major cause of our transportation woes is a state legislature that has made a habit out of raiding money earmarked for transportation from the Special Transportation Fund (STF) and sweeping it into the abyss of the General Fund, where they can use it to fund “pet projects”, to maintain entitlement programs and to plug holes in the billion dollar budget deficits that have presented themselves annually for the past decade.

To address this misuse of your tax dollars, I, along with my Republican colleagues, have proposed that the State Constitution be amended to prevent the legislature from using STF dollars for any purpose other than transportation, with clear definitions of what constitutes “transportation purposes.” Further, we proposed that the Connecticut Supreme Court be given jurisdiction in the event the legislature violates the constitutional lockbox. That way, current and future revenue streams intended to support the STF and improve our infrastructure could not be diverted for other purposes, transportation spending could be prioritized, and we could eventually shift towards finding ways to reduce the tax burden on Connecticut residents.

Following our lead, the majority party proposed and passed a Resolution that will appear on the ballot this November, which, at first glance, appears to create the constitutional “lockbox” we have been advocating for. However, upon closer look, there is no definition of what constitutes transportation funding, nor any provisions for recourse if funds are diverted out of the STF for other purposes. Worse, during public debate over the Resolution, the Democrats acknowledged that the “lockbox” could be raided, if needed, for other purposes.

Therein lies the ruse being perpetrated on the public. The ruse to create a lockbox, knowing they have the key to unlock it for more spending.

Democrats seem intent not on dedicating transportation revenue for transportation projects that will allow us to eventually improve our infrastructure and decrease taxes and fees, but, instead, to gradually garner popular support for tolls, which will generate an additional revenue stream. Connecticut drivers forced to pay the tolls will be under the illusion that the additional money they will send to Hartford will be used to improve transportation.  In reality, though, this lockbox is leaky enough that tolls would merely be another cash cow for the state to feed its reckless spending habits at the taxpayers’ expense.

Accordingly, I urge Connecticut voters to reject their “Lockbox Ruse” and require the legislature to create a real lockbox that takes any vagueness out of what exactly the money is for and empowers our courts to enforce it.

The goal for the legislature cannot be to make new taxes, fees, and tolls more palatable, but, instead, to help ease the tax burden on our residents. The “lockbox” on the ballot will not help accomplish this goal.

Rep. Smith Update: New Laws Taking Effect on October 1

Posted on October 2, 2018 by rjoslyn


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A number of new laws that passed during the 2018 Legislative Session took effect this week on October 1, 2018. These new laws may have an impact on you, your business, or our community.

New laws taking effect that may be of interest to you include:

AN ACT CONCERNING BUMP STOCKS AND OTHER MEANS OF ENHANCING THE RATE OF FIRE OF A FIREARM (PA 18-29)

A provision that received wide bipartisan support that bans the sale, transfer, or posession of bump stocks or any after-market device that allows semi-automatic rifles to fire at near-automatic speed.  FOR MORE DETAILS CLICK HERE.

 

AN ACT CONCERNING BENEFITS FOR CERTAIN VETERANS WHO HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER OR TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY OR WHO HAVE HAD AN EXPERIENCE OF MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA (PA 18-47)

Veterans who receive so-called “bad paper” or other than honorable discharges and are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, a traumatic brain injury or who were the victim of sexual trauma while in the military will have access to veterans’ benefits that they were previously denied.  CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS.

 

 

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A “SAVE OUR LAKES” NUMBER PLATE TO COMBAT AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES AND CYANOBACTERIA BLOOMS. (PA 18-101)

This law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to begin work on designing new commemorative license plates emblazoned with the words “Save Our Lakes.”  The license plates, which will be sold beginning Jan. 1, 2020, will raise money to help preserve Connecticut’s lakes and ponds. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS.

 

AN ACT PROVIDING PROTECTIONS FOR CONSUMERS APPLYING FOR REVERSE MORTGAGES. (PA 18-38)

In the wake of increased reports of fraud concerning reverse mortgages, new protections for consumers include counseling requirements to make sure borrowers better understand the terms of the loan and a prohibition on banks or credit unions from paying the groups that counsel borrowers. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS.

 

AN ACT CONCERNING ROBO CALLS AND SPOOFING (PA 18-135)

To criminalize the act of masking the identity of a caller initiating robo calls. FOR MORE DETAILS CLICK HERE.

 

AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRONIC PROOF OF AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE (PA 18-108)

To permit automobile insurance identification cards to be provided electronically for motor vehicle traffic stops and registration of motor vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles. FOR MORE DETAILS CLICK HERE.

For a full list of bills taking effect on October 1, 2018, click here.

As always, you can contact me at (800) 842-1423 or Richard.Smith@housegop.ct.gov if you have any questions regarding state government.

Rep. Smith Update: Emergency Road Closure for Rt. 37 North of Big Trail in Sherman

Posted on September 5, 2018 by rjoslyn


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Dear Friends & Neighbors,

Please see the message below from the Connecticut Department of Transportation regarding an emergency road closure of Rt. 37 in Sherman that may impact your travels.

 

 

Emergency Road Closure for Route 37 North of Big Trail in Sherman Due to Slope Failure

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is announcing the closure of Route 37 north of Big Trail for emergency repairs on Route 37 beginning on Thursday, September 6, 2018 at 9:00 AM in Sherman.  The closure will be in place for roughly two to three weeks while repairs for a slope failure between Route 37 and Quaker Brook are performed.

DOT Project No. 0127-0090 was awarded to Waters Construction Company at an estimated cost of $245,000.00 on August 17, 2018, and is scheduled to be completed by September 30, 2018.

A detour route will be signed for all through traffic to use Route 39 between Sherman and New Fairfield. Local traffic will be available south of Big Trail toward New Fairfield and north of Durgy Road toward Sherman.