SHELTON — State budget deficits, tolls and affordable health care dominated the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual legislative breakfast Jan. 31, at PerkinElmer in Shelton.

With the next state legislative session beginning Feb. 5, state Sen. Kevin Kelly, R-21, and state Rep. Jason Perillo, R-113, were questioned on how to get the state to make the Waterbury rail line a priority and increase economic growth in this area.

“For decades, Democratic lawmakers in the General Assembly have decided to focus on Hartford and not the Naugatuck Valley,” Perillo said. “Every year millions (of dollars) are wasted on pet projects for Hartford lawmakers and funding is not prioritized on projects that would increase economic development.”

Perillo said Democratic lawmakers need to stop wasting time and money on programs that will not ultimately help the area’s business community.

“Stop the revenue grabs and anti-business legislation and let’s work together to move our state and the Valley forward,” he said.

Kelly said the breakfast was a perfect chance to reinforce that the business community and the public can affect change by making their voices heard.

“Look no further than the tolls issue to see that in action,” Kelly said. “Tolls were one of Gov. (Ned) Lamont’s top issues, but he has not been able to move it forward because the public has spoken and they are being heard.

“We must do the same when it comes to our community’s priorities. People need to call the governor and Democratic leaders and tell them increasing capacity on the Waterbury line needs to be a priority. Make your voices heard, because it works,” he said.

Kelly, who recently announced his re-election bid, said his focus remains on making health care more affordable for all people.

“I’m continuing my efforts to pass a bill that can lower premiums by up to 20 percent and hold the line on the rate of growth of medical costs,” Kelly said.

The average annual premium for family coverage is more expensive than buying a new car every year, Kelly said.

“That’s absolutely unacceptable,” Kelly said, “and it’s time Connecticut takes action to reduce these costs to help all people and families.”

Lawmakers this session will be faced with another state budget deficit that will need to be closed by the end of the fiscal year, said Perillo, adding that Democratic lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would authorize tolling on trucks. Perillo said the bill lacks sufficient legal protections to prevent tolls from being expanded to cars in the future.