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Rep. Staneski Op-Ed: The $10 Million Toll Study Update

Posted on September 11, 2018 by jdooley


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In July, the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee voted to bond $10 million to study electronic highway tolls in Connecticut.  I joined my Republican House colleagues in calling for a special session to reverse this decision. Whether you are for or against tolls, I believe that you would agree with me that a special session should have been called.

Moving this forward (and spending $10 million of taxpayer money!) via the Bonding Commission, the Governor circumvented the legislative process. It is the responsibility of the General Assembly to decide whether or not money should be spent on a toll study, it is not solely the Governor’s prerogative, along with his mostly appointed Bond Commission. Comptroller Lembo agreed with this and cast a no vote.

The General Assembly had an opportunity this past session to vote on a similar bill; however, the bill failed to gain a vote in either Chamber.  In making the decision to add the study to the Bond Commission agenda, the Governor’s spokesperson blamed the Republicans for the failure of the bill, but Democrats hold the majority and didn’t move it forward. Regardless, the Governor does not have the authority to spend taxpayer dollars via executive order. Processes and rules are in place for a reason—this Governor blatantly thumbed his nose at them, and the majority party joined him.

By our rules, the Governor or a majority of the members of each house may call a special session of the General Assembly. Republicans hold 71 out of the 151 seats in the House.  All 71 supported the call for a special session; three of our Democratic colleagues joined us, leaving the call short by two signatures.  The mere fact that the leaders of House Democrats did not push for a special session makes them complacent in the failure of our democratic process.  If they don’t like the rules, they make them up. Setting this kind of precedent is not good for Connecticut and takes us down a road we cannot afford—a $10 million dollar ‘road’ in this case, and who knows how much in the future?

As always, please reach out to me with any questions on the issue of tolls or other matters of concern to you my office number is 1.800.842.1423 or email me at Pam.Staneski@housegop.ct.gov.