SOUTHINGTON - With a cold, rainy morning covering Southington on Thursday, Nov. 22 residents huddled up at Carousel Coffee to speak with the Connecticut House Speaker.
Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, Southington, hosted a Coffee and Conversation session at the diner located at 190 Main St. to discuss the recently passed bipartisan budget and “ways to move Connecticut forward” an email announcing the event stated.
“I’ve been a lifelong Democrat and I’m starting to become fiscally conservative,” said one attendee before stating the Democrats have declined from a super majority control of the legislature in recent years. “We have to continue to take care of people...according to the newspapers, the budget is already in trouble.”
Aresimowicz responded saying the biggest problem was with the federal reimbursements, in that the state had planned on a seven percent rate of return on items like social services, but are only getting a four or five percent rate of return.
“And then we are slow on the returns of the payroll tax and sales tax...but the big one right now is the federal reimbursements” said Aresimowicz.
Joanne C. Kelleher of the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington was in attendance to thank Aresimowicz for providing funding that her organization could use. The ECCS aims to help children academically and could use the funds to get people off waiting lists, she said. She also asked what the government was going to do to make up for the budget shortfall in forced lapses - or cutbacks.
“I just talked with folks from the office of fiscal analysis yesterday and they genuinely believe, a lot of the upper income residents in the state of Connecticut held onto their money waiting for the (President) Trump tax changes,” responded Aresimowicz after saying that the legislature told Malloy the lapses can’t come from municipal aid or education funds. “And they’re still waiting to see, but at some point they’re going to have to start selling, so we may start seeing a bump, especially in capital gains, and that will help us a lot.”
Later in the discussion, Sharon O’Brien, a Republican, stated she was disappointed in the budget process because it started too late, legislators were introducing several bills at the beginning of the year instead of focusing on the budget and politicians in Hartford are making a life-long career of their terms when term lengths should be enacted.
Aresimowicz responded explaining that the budget starts when it does because revenue projections aren’t received earlier in the year and the budget adoption must meet a deadline to tie in with the federal government. He added that the first year of legislator’s term is the only year they are allowed to introduce any legislation, and that the average tenure of a legislature is only about 10 years, that politicians aren’t hanging around Hartford as long as people think.
“Does it fix all the things we talked about in the state of Connecticut, does it fix it over night, no,” said Aresimowicz on the budget’s spending cap. “We’re on the right track.”
Complaints over social service abuse by mothers giving birth to more children to receive more money from the state, individuals using EBT benefits and estate planning being a means to shield assets were also discussed, in addition to the changing economy and increase in technology laden jobs.