Dunsby, Hwang and Boucher seek end to budget impasse

Three area legislators invited constituents from Easton, Weston, and surrounding communities to the Weston Library to present an update on a state budget situation that is still not resolved more than two months into the new fiscal year.

State Rep. Adam Dunsby (R-135), state Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26), and state Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28) spoke to constituents at the Sept. 6 event. It marked the second town hall forum the three legislators have held together since the conclusion of the regular session in June.

The legislators explained how the situation had changed since their last budget update, noting the significance of the General Assembly last month passing the SEBAC labor agreement that contained structural reforms while extending the current agreement for another 10 years.

Each legislator agreed that this union deal did not go far enough to address Connecticut’s substantial budget deficit and took many options off the table for future legislatures and governors.

Local residents expressed their concerns about how the budget crisis would affect their families and businesses. Prominent among local concerns was the possibility of the state eliminating local education funding and how municipalities could cope with footing the bill for teacher pension costs.

Dunsby, who is also Easton’s first selectman, gave a blunt assessment of the governor’s budget proposal and the turmoil it would place on many towns. He criticized the plan put forth by House Democrats that proposed raising the sales tax and other taxes and fees. He said “these kinds of taxes specifically target middle and lower income earners, and tax increases have failed year after year.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity to join my Senate colleagues and listen to how these pressing issues we deal with every day affect the lives of our friends and neighbors in this community,” Dunsby said. “It is important for me to spend as much time in my district as possible.

“Majority leadership needs to understand the direct and immediate impact their revenue grabs have on families and businesses here. This feedback will help shape my strategies in crafting an alternative budget that will benefit Connecticut taxpayers in every income bracket and convince my colleagues in both parties to do the same.”

Hwang said they “continue to listen to and stay in close touch with Easton and Weston taxpayers. Our collective priority is to protect Easton and Weston property taxpayers and to preserve state funding for the towns. We feel that these regular updates on state issues make us better, more responsive legislators.

“We will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of all residents in Easton and Weston, and we encourage area taxpayers to stay active, involved and up-to-date on what’s happening in Hartford. Sign up for my social media updates by sending me an email at [email protected] or by visiting SenatorHwang.com. ”

Boucher said the legislators talked at length about the legislative process and how budgets get passed. She said that although the Senate is tied and Democrats hold a slim majority in the House, Republicans are still the minority party.

“I’ve been to several town halls throughout my district and heard from so many of my constituents,” Boucher said. “What they are telling me is that they are scared and angry. They are concerned about the drastic cuts Governor Malloy has proposed making to education funding and to towns.

“The majority party that controls the process, the budget, and the votes will not bring our budget alternatives to the floor for a vote, and they can’t seem to get the votes they need from their own side of the aisle. Too bad they forced a vote on a state labor agreement that did not make the changes needed to solve the $5 billion state budget gap. That agreement has now stalled the budget process.

“Connecticut taxpayers are outraged that we have started the school year without a state budget. They want these issues fixed in a responsible way and they want it fixed now!”

The legislators urged those who could not attend the meeting or did not have a chance to ask a question to contact them at their offices or by email at [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected]

State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26), state Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28), and state Rep. Adam Dunsby (R-135) speak with constituents about resolving the state budget impasse.

State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26), state Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28), and state Rep. Adam Dunsby (R-135) speak with constituents about resolving the state budget impasse.

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