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Danbury Op Ed: Inescapable Issues Face Connecticut

Rep. Stephen Harding represents the 107th District, including Danbury, Brookfield and Bethel.
Rep. Stephen Harding represents the 107th District, including Danbury, Brookfield and Bethel. Photo Credit: File

DANBURY, Conn. -- The Danbury Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Please send letters to danbury@dailyvoice.com .

To the editor:

The legislative session ends June 3, and until then, there are still a handful of inescapable issues on the table.

As some of you already may know, the majority party – who controls the legislature’s committees on finance and appropriations – has produced a budget proposal that would expand the state’s sales tax and increase income taxes in a way that would significantly hamper middle-class families and employers. I voted against it.

Jobs were lost in the sectors that are usually strongest in the state: financial services, manufacturing and insurance. Not only are industries in these sectors relocating outside the state to places that are more business-friendly, but residents are moving out as well. If trends like this continue, Connecticut’s housing market (whose prices already fell 0.9 percent last year, on top of the fact new-home construction is seriously lagging in the state) also could continue to suffer.

In addition, according to the Tax Foundation, Connecticut started 2015 as one of the 10 worst states in this year’s State Business Tax Climate Index. Among my concerns about this proposed tax plan is residents haven’t gotten the chance to offer their valued comments.

Republican members of the Finance Committee will have a public hearing on the bill at 1:30 p.m. Monday in room 1E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. This hearing is your opportunity to have your say on the budget and how increased taxes will impact you.

For information on the Republican budget proposal, “Blueprint for Prosperity,” visit cthousegop.com/blueprint/ .

Another issue still up for consideration is the implementation of tolls on state highways. H.B. 6818, An Act Concerning the Establishment of Electronic Tolls at the State’s Borders, requires the Commissioner of Transportation and the DOT to submit a program outlining all costs, revenues, schedules, congestion and diversion prediction, and the impact on in-state and out-of-state vehicles by Jan. 1 for consideration of the legislature.

I am strongly opposed to this proposal and look forward to working with my local legislative colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to defeat this bill. We need to do more to make our state business-friendly for our employers and workers, as well as for all our citizens.

Rep. Stephen Harding

R-107th District of Danbury, Brookfield and Bethel

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