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Buck-Taylor Hears Constituent Concerns at Local Forum

April 3, 2014

NEW MILFORD—Connecticut’s finances and economy, educational policy and the environmental health of Candlewood Lake were among the topics discussed here recently at a town hall-style forum hosted by this community’s state legislators.

Roughly 40 people attended the Feb. 6 meeting at New Milford Public Library organized by state Reps. Cecilia Buck-Taylor and Richard A. Smith and state Sen. Clark Chapin. The state lawmakers were just hours removed from the opening of the 2014 legislative session and Gov. Dannel Malloy’s state of the state speech. The central topic of that speech—the state budget and economy—is where the legislators started their conversation with constituents.

“Stabilizing our state’s finances and creating a tax and regulatory environment that lends itself to job growth should be the legislature’s focus,” said Buck-Taylor, who represents the 67th General Assembly District. “It seems obvious, yet several residents correctly said that isn’t what’s happening in Connecticut, that we’re instead approaching a point where job creators will simply give up over increasing business costs in this state—a point where business owners will close or move elsewhere.”

Smith, who represents the 108th General Assembly District, is among legislators concerned about a projected $1.1 billion deficit in the next fiscal year.

“With long term structural shortfalls in the billions, majority legislators continue to expand government to the detriment of families and small businesses who are stuck with the bill,” Smith said. “State unemployment continues to remain above the national average, and our local economy is languishing. We must get Connecticut’s fiscal house in order so that we can reduce taxes on businesses and create a climate that can support hiring.”

Growing controversy over the simultaneous implementation of Common Core curriculum in classrooms and new teacher evaluation standards was another topic for discussion, with those who spoke offering their dissatisfaction of the resulting impact in school districts.

Together, the legislators agreed that holding such local forums is a great opportunity to hear directly from the people they serve—whether it be about the enforcement of on-the-books public safety statutes or the economic impact of invasive species in lakes and ponds.

“I was pleased to see so many people engaged and asking questions about matters that impact their daily lives and the wellbeing of their families,” Chapin said. “Clearly our community cares deeply about everything from the economy and jobs to education and the environment—all issues that will be very important at the Capitol this year as well.”

Residents with questions for New Milford’s two state representatives, Buck-Taylor and Smith, should call them at 800-842-1423. Chapin, the town’s state senator, can be reached at 800-842-1421.