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FSEG Presentation Reports

Posted on October 18, 2018 by admin


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Thank you to all who attended the Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth Commission presentation on Monday night at Darien Library. Co-chairman James Smith, clearly articulated our state fiscal situation and outlined the solutions proposed by the bi-partisan Commission earlier this year. It was a great crowd with excellent questions.

As mentioned, here are two links to the Commission’s report: The full report and also Mr. Smith’s presentation deck on Monday.

If you were not able to attend, please know that you can watch a recording of the presentation here.

Many thanks again and please let me know if you have any questions.

Solutions for Historic Change

Posted on October 15, 2018 by admin


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Reminder: There will be a Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth (FSEG) Commission presentation by Robert Patricelli and James Smith on Monday, October 15th at 7 p.m. at the Darien Library.

Hartford Current

October 11th 2018

Solutions for Historic Change

Rep. Terrie Wood

I recently saw a YouTube video, “Connecticut Anthem”, written and sung by Nekita Waller.  She recounts memories of growing up in Hartford and the pride she feels at being Connecticut born and raised.  “We cannot give up believing in Connecticut… it’s a state that I believe in.” Like Nekita, I love and believe in Connecticut.

Daily, we benefit from all the good within our state…our scenic landscape and coastline, our excellent schools, well-educated residents, and cultural institutions, our history, and our vibrant diversity.   It is important to keep this positive perspective as we discuss the deeply rooted and critically important challenges we face today in Connecticut.

Our state’s greatest challenges are fiscal in nature, and reflect an anemic rate of economic growth.  Simply, our costs far exceed our revenues.  Our fiscal situation is unsustainable due in large part to …

  1. Enormous unfunded pension liabilities
  2. High lucrative state employee fixed costs, rising at 5% per year
  3. Declining revenues from departing citizens, particularly the wealthy, seniors, and businesses

We remain the only state in the country to not regain all jobs lost in the 2008 recession.  Yes, we are in dire straights.  Yet, together, we can turn our situation around.

The vast majority of legislators head to Hartford to conduct the people’s work with sincere intentions.  That said, the state unions have built powerful relationships with legislative Connecticut Democrats and our current governor.  The latest union agreement (July 2017) has put an unnecessary stranglehold on our state finances and severely limits our ability to resolve our fiscal situation.

What is interesting to reflect on, though, is how Connecticut Democrats have focused their “fury and activism” almost solely on national issues, while we hear nothing from them regarding our dire state situation.  They neither take responsibility for it, nor take the steps we desperately need to fix it.  We certainly hear nothing from them on their blind loyalty to union leaders.

Now, I do thoroughly understand the frustration with our President in Washington.  His blatant disregard for appropriate behavior and seeming lack of respect for consensus-building process and policies is deeply troubling to me.

However, President Trump did not create Connecticut’s fiscal situation, and he’s not going to fix it.  In fact, if Governor Malloy and Connecticut Democrats had successfully managed our state finances over the past eight years, they would not even need to mention “Trump” to deflect away from their failed state policies.  Poor decisions have put our state in constant fiscal turmoil.

However, there is reason to be optimistic … in the October 2017 budget, there was a provision that established a bi-partisan Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth (go to: https://www.cga.ct.gov to search for the final report).

This commission was tasked with developing and recommending policies to achieve a truly comprehensive and balanced solution.   Made up of a diverse and bi-partisan group of 14 stakeholders, they met over four months in a deep dive into our state’s situation.  In March 2018 they issued a committee report that offers a broad set of policy considerations to put Connecticut on the road to recovery.  Among them…

  • Enact revenue neutral re-balancing of state taxes
  • Create a Joint Budget Committee of the legislature with power to set limits on revenues and expenses
  • Give legislature responsibility to define state employee fringe benefits by removing them from collective bargaining process
  • Undertake series of growth initiatives led by the executive branch
  • Develop plan to cut $1B out of annual operating expenses
  • Reinvest in transportation and cities, and build a major new STEM Campus

Importantly, the FSEG Commission report emphasizes conditional linkage among their recommendations.  Thus, while there are many aspects to like, there will be other proposals that will be disagreeable.  But, comprehensiveness requires compromise to achieve a better future for Connecticut for all.

I have organized a detailed and thought-provoking presentation by the two chairmen of the FSEG Commission, Robert Patricelli and James Smith.   Please join me on Monday, October 15th at 7 p.m. at the Darien Library.  There will be plenty of time for questions.

Together, let’s bring historic change to Connecticut.

Please stay in touch! Contact me at  Terrie.wood@cga.ct.gov or 860-240-8700.

Home Heating Assistance

Posted on October 4, 2018 by admin


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Connecticut currently has the second highest energy costs in the nation. With colder weather on the way, many residents will struggle to pay their heating bills. However, fuel assistance is available to those in need.

 

Operation Fuel is now accepting applications for one-time grants of up to $500 per household for deliverable fuel, gas and electric utilities. Qualified individuals are those who have received a shut-off notice, have no utility service, or need assistance to maintain payment arrangements or have a past due balance of 30 days or more.

 

In order to apply for an Operation Fuel utility or deliverable fuel grant, you must submit an application through a fuel bank. To find the fuel bank that serves your town, please either use the Fuel Bank Finder or call 2-1-1.

 

You will need to provide proof of the last 4 weeks of income for all household members, the name of your fuel vendor (for deliverable fuel customers only), or your utility bill and payment history (for electric and gas utility customers only).

 

Operation Fuel is a non-profit organization that partners with local government and community-based organizations at more than 100 sites throughout Connecticut to ensure that families in need have access to year-round energy assistance. Their partner agencies may also be able to connect residents with programs that provide assistance for food, clothing, health services, childcare, and more.

 

Please share this information with those who may benefit!

New Laws Effective Today

Posted on October 1, 2018 by admin


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A number of new laws passed during the 2018 Legislative Session take effect today, October 1st. These laws may have an impact on you, your business, or our community.To see a full list, please click here.

 

I am pleased to have supported the following Public Acts in becoming law:

 

Public Safety

 

Public Act 18-90 prevents credit agencies from charging fees for security freezes and doubles (from one year to two) the amount of time businesses have to provide free credit monitoring if an account is hacked.

 

Public Act 18-29 bans the sale or transfer, possession, manufacturing or use of bump stocks or other accessories to increase the rate of fire of a firearm.

 

Public Act 18-135 criminalizes the act of masking the identity of a caller initiating robo calls.

 

Public Health

 

Special Act 18-15 provides consumers with access to information regarding the safety of sports helmets on the State Department of Education’s website.

 

Public Act 18-4 establishes various requirements regarding the treatment of women – specifically pregnant inmates. In general, it requires the Department of Correction (DOC) to establish support services, such as a lactation policy, for incarcerated women, provide inmates with feminine hygiene products free of cost (upon request), reinstate its training program on mental health issues for custodial staff and use a gender-responsive approach to risk assessment.

 

Public Act 18-149 protects patients from unexpected costs and fees at outpatient clinics, urgent care centers and freestanding emergency departments.

 

Public Act 18-109 strengthens the ban on sales of e-cigarettes to minors by prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes through ‘self-service’ vending machines and by limiting access to e-cigarettes in stores.

 

Public Act 18-74 allows pharmacists to add biological products to generic drug substitutions.

 

Energy & Environment

 

Public Act 18-7 enables the transfer of funds from the Passport to the Parks account and requires special event fees at state parks to be based on the number of attendees and cover state costs related to such events.

 

Public Act 18-50 aims to improve Connecticut’s energy future by establishing many sustainable policies, including reconfiguring funding for the state’s energy efficiency programs and establishing tariff-based programs for low-emission, zero-emission, shared clean energy and residential clean energy facilities.

 

Public Act 18-73 provides for the offering of proof that farm products that are sold to school districts as “Connecticut-grown” are actually grown in the state.

 

Public Act 18-84 limits exposures to pesticides by prohibiting the use of residential automatic pesticide misting systems.

 

Public Act 18-101 raises awareness and provides funding for efforts to fight aquatic invasive species and cyanobacteria blooms that threaten the state’s lakes and ponds by establishing a “Save Our Lakes” license plate.

 

Veterans

 

Public Act 18-47 expands eligibility for certain veterans benefits to certain individuals who have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or who have had an experience of military sexual trauma.

 

Public Act 18-102 eliminates qualifying income limits for veterans in order to improve eligibility for certain municipal option tax exemptions.

 

Business

 

Public Act 18-79 exempts from the property tax a business’s tangible personal property that is more than 10 years old and had an original value of not more than $250.

State Fiscal Status Report Meeting at Darien Library

Posted on September 24, 2018 by admin


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Please come and meet with Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth (FSEG) Co-Chairs at the Darien Library on October 15th. I organized this forum as an opportunity for you to hear the Co-Chairs discuss the results of their work and answer any questions you may have.

 

When: Monday October 15th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Darien Library, 1441 Post Road

 

The Commission on FSEG was established through the Connecticut state budget that passed in October 2017. This non-partisan group is made up of successful business owners and other stakeholders tasked with identifying our key strengths and challenges as a state and devising a plan to set our state on a path to fiscal stability/prosperity. It is co-chaired by Bob Patricelli (founder and CEO of several healthcare companies in Connecticut) and Jim Smith (Chairman Emeritus of Webster Bank), along with twelve other commission members.

 

This meeting will serve as a valuable opportunity to hear about the details of their latest plan, which offers a practical road map out of our fiscal abyss, and ask questions at this time of critical financial reform in our state.