There is no doubt about it, the future of Connecticut’s prosperity is in danger. Elections have consequences and, unfortunately, we are seeing that play out every day. In just two short months, our newly-elected governor and the Democratic-controlled legislature are promoting to:
1) Force school districts to regionalize;
2) Increase or implement taxes in a number of areas and;
3) Implement tolls on all vehicles (not just commercial trucks).
Regarding forced school regionalization, nothing in any of the bills being promoted actually focuses on increasing the quality of education for students. Pardon us for asking, but shouldn’t the primary goal of any education-related legislation initiative be to improve the quality of education for students? Most people agree that education is managed best by local communities. The local communities always have the ability to examine improved performance and efficiencies that make sense for them. The state dictating to towns is never a good idea. And pay close attention to plans to force teacher pension obligations onto towns. Side note — the mere existence of these forced regionalization bills hurts Ridgefield property values.
The budget put forth by Gov. Lamont calls for the implementation or increase in sales tax in the following areas: veterinary services, real estate activity and agents/brokers, legal services, accounting services, hotel occupancy tax, architectural services, engineering services, barber shops and beauty salons, dry cleaning and laundry services, waste collection, non-prescription drugs, text books for college students, parking and child car seats. Gov. Lamont has even floated the idea of taxing groceries and prescription drugs. There are actually too many areas to list but you get the idea. Democrats in Hartford want to tax everything possible and pretend that it won’t hurt working families, small businesses or economic development.
There are two updates on tolls to share. The first is that Gov. Lamont has backed off his “trucks only tolls” and now envisions a “tolls for all” plan for Connecticut. This is not the tolls platform that the governor ran on in 2018. The second is that Toll Bill 7280 provides that if both the General Assembly and the Senate fail to hold votes within 15 days of a tolls bill being passed by the Transportation Committee, then the bill becomes passed without a vote in the full Senate and General Assembly. This is simply unacceptable. What is the point having local representation if they are not able to vote on legislation?
The RTC thanks all residents who came out to support the Hands off Our School rally on Feb. 23 as well as everyone who testified at the forced school regionalization Education Committee hearings in Hartford on March 1. Residents of towns like Ridgefield are now trying to fight to keep state government out of town business and prevent state government from hurting working families and economic growth. That is a good development. Sadly, there is a lot of work ahead of us.
John Collins is vice chair of the Ridgefield Republican Town Committee.