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State Reps Talk Budget, Legislation At Forum

House Republican Mitch Bolinsky, representing most of Newtown from his 106th District seat, said during a forum Tuesday that the state has to be more taxpayer friendly and more business friendly.

Resident Paul Mangiafico later reminded Mr Bolinsky of his comment during the evening’s State of the State that raised topics including the budget, legislation, and other issues involving the state’s taxpayers.

Mr Mangiafico said he disagreed. “We’ve got to be a lot more friendly.” The state is “a fiscal mess, we tinker with the budget.” The legislature as a whole endorses the “shell games,” he said. “We proceed down a road fraught with bankruptcy. Whatever is being done today isn’t working. People are leaving the state and it’s frightening, and it’s accelerating. We’ve got to have some sanity in Hartford.”

Both Mr Bolinsky and his fellow house GOP member and Second District representative Dan Carter listened as Mr Mangiafico continued: “My wife taught our grandchildren — you’ve got to know the difference between what you want and what you need. Hartford needs to learn that.”

He said, “Take the message back that whatever you’re doing isn’t working.”

Mr Carter said, “It’s institutional arrogance” that goes beyond political parties. Both individuals and businesses “have had it up to here,” he said.

While those businesses may have complained before, “They are leaving now,” said Mr Bolinsky.

“People think the economy is going to get better on its own,” Mr Carter said. “Until we get people who are willing to be more fiscally conservative, it’s not going to change.”

With friends among both political parties ready to push harder for improvements, Mr Bolinsky said, “We could do a magical job with a couple more [friendly representatives].” To Mr Mangiafico, he said, “We’re broken. Very, very broken; there is a lot to fix.” To those in attendance, he said, “If you’ve got an issue that’s important to you, set us on it.”

Regarding taxes, state budget, or any other issues concerning residents, Mr Bolinsky said he does not care about a voter’s registration; “I listen to the voices of Newtown.” With a nod toward Mr Carter, he said, “We’re both willing to make waves on behalf of constituents.” He stressed that he did not necessarily vote on issues based on political party, but on behalf of those he represents. In one case, Mr Bolinsky did not vote until he received a text message from the Board of Education chair “to see her position” on a topic.

Among the handful of residents gathered Tuesday in the Newtown Municipal Center’s meeting room, Joellen Lawson wished to praise Senator John McKinney, who was unable to make the evening’s forum. “Kudos,” she said. “He has been amazing.” She expressed her support in Mr McKinney’s campaign for governor.

Also speaking against the concept of Common Core Curriculum in Connecticut’s schools, resident Mary Burnham said she was afraid of what the next governor might bring. Regardless of who is elected as governor, or what that person supports, Mr Carter said, “At the end of the day, there is still the legislature,” which has the most power, he said.

Ms Burnham explained she was “very mindful” of battles waged in Hartford in the process of legislation. The state government would “have a dialogue” about the common core issue, he said. “Our government will never be perfect, but it’s the best process,” he said. “Most things play out in public; there is certain protection with public dialogue, constitutional arrogance aside.”

Thanking the delegation, including Representative DebraLee Hovey, who is retiring after this term, resident and Legislative Council member Phil Carroll said sometimes their efforts were a struggle, “Like pushing an elephant over trying to get something done.”

Overall, between 6:30 and 8 that evening, Mr Bolinsky and Mr Carter talked about the state budget, legislation including bills blocked and accepted, and answered questions regarding the 2014 legislative season. They also offered explanations and information on major public acts of 2014.

Mr Carter is serving his second two-year term as state representative for the Second Assembly District covering Bethel, Danbury, Newtown, and Redding. Mr Carter is the ranking member (Republican leader) on the legislature’s General Law Committee, and member of the Banks and Energy & Technology Committees.

Mr Bolinsky is serving his first term in the Connecticut General Assembly, representing his hometown, Newtown’s 106th District. He currently serves on the legislature’s Appropriations, Education and Environment Committees.

Delegation members can be reached at www.SenatorMcKinney.com, John.McKinney@cga.ct.gov, and 800-842-1421; www.RepHovey.com, DebraLee.Hovey@housegop.ct.gov, and 800-842-1423; www.RepCarter.com, Dan.Carter@housegop.ct.gov, and 800-842-1423; www.RepBolinsky.com, Mitch.Bolinsky@cga.ct.gov, and 800-842-1423.

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