Rep Sredzinski Proposing Legislation On Public Safety, Taxes, Legal Notices
Freshman Republican J.P. Sredzinski, whose 112th District overlaps several southern Newtown neighborhoods, told voters during his campaign last fall that he was committed to strengthening Connecticut’s economy, supporting first responders, and addressing “affordability in our state.”
“Experts put Connecticut’s economy at or near the bottom of the nation when compared to other states and it’s clear we all need our fiscal environment to change,” he said as the newly seated incumbent. “Our economy is hurting, and Connecticut’s resources are strained. Our state is currently operating at significant deficit levels, which makes proposing new programs that require new spending very difficult to pass or support this session.
“This means my colleagues and I must find creative solutions to some of our most pressing problems,” Rep Sredzinski said, listing a number of proposals toward accomplishing his first term goals.
Rep Sredzinski, like his colleague Representative Mitch Bolinsky of Newtown, favors repealing the state’s Business Entity Tax.
“It is most harmful to new businesses just starting and to the small businesses that exist in my district,” he said of his proposal. “These are the businesses that are most vulnerable and have the smallest bottom lines.”
He, like Rep Bolinsky, also supports phasing out the hospital tax over the next six years.
“In 2010, Connecticut balanced the state budget by imposing a hospital tax that wasn’t supposed to hurt hospitals or patient care,” he said. “The state taxed hospitals, returned that money to hospitals, and received a 50 percent federal match on the return the state made to hospitals.
“Before passage, hospitals were assured that hospital tax funds would be returned and not diverted. Within one year after passage [however], the state...is taxing hospitals $350 million and only returning $96 million. This puts a major fiscal strain on hospitals, which are an integral part of our communities.”
With an eye on frontline consumers, Rep Sredzinski seeks to return the state sales tax to six percent; lower the gas tax by two cents each budget cycle over the next three budgets; and eliminate the sales tax on health club and gym memberships.
“I feel the State of Connecticut should not be discouraging those who seek to exercise,” Rep Sredzinski said.
The lawmaker is proposing legislation increasing the penalty for making a threat of violence against a school.
“The penalty would be increased to a felony with a mandatory fine; [if] the person charged is deemed to suffer from mental illness,” he said, “the courts shall make mental health assistance available.”
Regarding his commitment to first responders, Rep Sredzinski is looking to include law enforcement officers and other responders in the state’s hate crimes statutes, and to allow public safety personnel such as emergency medical technicians and firefighters to purchase body armor.
“This bill would allow all first responders to purchase body armor if they feel it is needed for their occupation online, just like police officers can do currently,” Rep Sredzinski said.
The Monroe lawmaker said he is among officials supporting permanently locking the state’s transportation fund.
“Recently, dollars have been moved from this fund to support other nontransportation-related programs,” he said. “This must stop in order to give Connecticut safe roads, bridges, and trains.”
Finally, Rep Sredzinski said he is proposing to allow state municipalities to move to an e-notification system for posting legal notices or announcements.
Citing occasions like a “zoning hearing or town meeting,” Rep Sredzinski said, “The town is required by law to post the meeting in a newspaper publication that receives general circulation within the town. This means the town must bear the expense of publishing these announcements. This is expensive and frankly antiquated.
“In these days of social media and the Internet, there is no reason this notice cannot be done through an electronic notification system,” he said. “My bill would allow municipalities to publish these announcements online to save money, but still allow for those municipalities to allow for a published notice as they individually see fit.”