HARTFORD — House Republicans, including State Representative Richard Smith (R-108), late last night voted against a mandatory payroll tax from Democrats that installs a new government-run paid family and medical leave program. The bill (S.B. 1) passed through the House on a party line vote 79 to 69.
The concept of paid family and medical leave allows workers to take paid time off from their jobs to deal with personal issues such as a sick family member or the birth of a child – a concept that has bipartisan support. However, the bill that passed forces every private sector worker to cough up one-half of one percent of their salary from every paycheck to support the program whether they intend to use it or not, with no choice to opt out. The mandatory payroll tax is expected to raise $400 million in revenue, and carries $13 million in startup costs. It would be run by a new quasi-government agency, which would hire more unionized employees to process paperwork, spend startup money on television advertisements and mailers, and dole out generous wage replacement benefits for up to 12 weeks of leave.
“When you ask folks on the street about paid family and medical leave, they tend to respond that they are in favor of it,” said Rep. Smith, who serves on the Labor Committee. “But when I tell them about the details about the bill, like the mandatory 0.5% payroll tax on every employee across the state, or the task of temporarily replacing an employee on leave for 12 weeks – and then having to pay that temporary employee unemployment benefits when they are let go, they very quickly change their outlook and ask me, ‘Why are we doing this?’
Connecticut is the proud host of the largest National Trails Day grassroots celebration in the nation! On the first weekend in June, the Connecticut Forest & Park Association (CFPA) brings together about 250 volunteers to lead events like hiking, biking, paddling, letterboxing, trail work parties, equestrian rides, and trail experiences of all kinds to get Connecticut residents outside and away from household chores, television, and the internet for a day.
I encourage you and your family to get outside and celebrate Connecticut Trails Weekend with CFPA! Enjoy a sense of community, tradition and stewardship for the environment.
200+ events will be taking place in more than 100 towns in Connecticut on the first weekend of June, but here is a list of some local events to participate in:
What: Trail Maintenance Where: Tarrywile Park, 70 Southern Blvd, Danbury Date: Saturday, June 1st Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pre-Registration is recommended. Click here for more information.
HARTFORD – State Representative Richard A. Smith (R-108) said on Thursday that the state’s business community can’t afford the crush of anti-employer policies pushed by Democrats and voted against a controversial proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 over a four and a half year period.
Cheering was displayed in the House Chamber both when House Democrats cobbled together to roll out a ramshackle bill (H.B. 5004) late Wednesday, providing neither Republicans nor the public adequate time to review a proposal that will drive state spending hikes and trigger cost increases for businesses small and large, and when it was passed this morning – a reaction deemed inappropriate according to House Rules.
“I wonder if we will hear those same cheers as businesses continue the exodus out of Connecticut? I wonder if my Democratic colleagues were cheering when the reports came in that we lose 3,400 jobs in the first quarter of the year? Should we cheer that we have only recovered 80% of the jobs lost starting with the 2008-2010 recession, making us the only state in New England to not have reached full recovery, while Massachusetts is currently experiencing a 600% job growth spurt,” asked Rep. Smith, who said that he respects the differences shared across the aisle but found this behavior to be disrespectful.