Shelton’s state lawmakers met with concerned taxpayers at a forum held by the Shelton Voters Network on May 26. State Senator Kevin Kelly, State Representative Jason Perillo, and State Representative Ben McGortypresented a summary of the state’s recent legislative session and answered questions from constituents about the state budget, legislative process, and bills that were considered by the General Assembly this year.
The lawmakers highlighted key legislation that was approved this year.
They praised legislation to combat the state’s opioid epidemic that was ushered through the General Assembly with large bipartisan support. The legislation will limit opioid prescriptions to seven days, require towns to make sure first responders are equipped and prepared to administer overdose reversal drugs, and require the state Alcohol and Drug Policy Council propose a plan to reduce opioid-induced deaths.
The bill was largely the result of information obtained by lawmakers at local opioid forums, including the Shelton forum hosted in part by Kelly, Perillo and McGorty in March.
The lawmakers also discussed a bill that will provide insurance coverage to firefighters who develop cancer as a result of harmful exposure on the job.
The Republican legislators discussed why they all voted against the state budget, which was the work product of Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the majority Democrat legislative leaders. They also explained their alternative Republican budget proposal which would have restored funding for core social services, hospitals and education – all of which were cut significantly in the Democrat budget they opposed.
“In recent months we have heard many people talk about the ‘new economic reality’ in Connecticut. But I reject the notion of simply accepting failure,” said Sen. Kevin Kelly. “I believe our state is a great place – a strong state. But the reality is the policies over the past few years have failed to move us forward. We need to focus on solutions and paving a new path to help our families grow jobs, access quality healthcare, and provide a strong education system for our children. I did not support the Democrat budget because it cut from core services, like hospitals and education, and it hurt the working poor and middle class. Instead of cutting from the most vulnerable we need to identify efficiencies and implement long-term structural changes to the way the state spends its money. That’s what the Republican alternative budget did. I will continue to work hard to make our vision for a strong state a reality,” said Kelly.
“This was a great opportunity to discuss the state of the state’s affairs directly with residents, particularly with so much at stake for everyone in our communities,” said Rep. Perillo. “We have had nearly six years of a governor and majority Democrats attempting to tax and spend our state back into prosperity. It is clear that after two massive tax increases, continual deficits in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and now a credit rating downgrade, that this approach has failed. This evening was a great opportunity to discuss the choices ahead of us, and the plan we offered to make important structural changes to our budgeting to reverse this alarming trend. I want to thank the Shelton Voter’s Network for holding this forum, as well as the many residents who took the time to come out.”
“While we had some positive steps forward with important measures combating opioid addiction and providing important services for veterans and seniors, almost everyone was a loser when it came to the budget deal struck by Governor Malloy and legislative Democrats,” said Rep. McGorty. “Our tax base has eroded as a result of their policies, causing us to get lower returns for their higher taxes, and now we are seeing layoffs, cuts to vital services for the elderly and disabled, and a credit downgrade that will cost state residents more to borrow the same money. This means the legislature failed at its most important job this year, but I am proud of the work we did to try to correct the state’s direction. I appreciate the work the Shelton Voter’s Network did to host the event, and look forward to future events.”