CT organizations respond to Gov. Lamont’s State of the State address

Politics

CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — On Wednesday, Governor Ned Lamont gave his State of the State address, which outlined his vision for the 2020 legislative session.

In that, he addressed main issues including the “trucks only” toll and the state’s budget.

After his speech, organizations across the state responded. Below are some of their responses:

AARP Connecticut:

“Governor Lamont’s decision to move the Connecticut Retirement Security Authority (CRSA) inside the Office of the State Comptroller is an encouraging sign of his commitment to a program that provides 600,000 Connecticut workers with a path to a more secure financial future. Comptroller Lembo has always been strong advocate for the CRSA and the need to offer Connecticut residents access to a retirement savings plan through their workplace.

AARP Connecticut is pleased to hear Governor Lamont intends to address the high cost of prescription drugs by pursuing legislation to safely import medications from Canada. In 2018, then-candidate Lamont’s campaign materials noted that, “For far too long, Connecticut residents have gotten a raw deal on drugs,” and he would take action to lower prices for consumers. We will continue to advocate for Canadian drug importation legislation that has bipartisan support and is already law in four states.

We applaud the level of interest and support legislators in both chambers demonstrated for lowering prescription drug prices in the months leading up to the legislative session. In a recent announcement of their 2020 legislative priorities, Senate Democrats stated controlling prescription drug costs as their top priority and identified Senate Bill Number 1 (SB 1) as legislation that would cap insulin costs.

Instead, SB 1 proposes a fee for the manufacture and distribution of insulin. We are underwhelmed by the lack of detail in the proposal. We look forward to seeing additional bill language in the coming weeks that lives up to the public commitments made in January.

We also look towards the Insurance and Real Estate Committee to raise additional legislation to address high prescription drug costs. State governments across the country are moving forward with innovative solutions to lower prices for consumers. AARP Connecticut urges our elected officials to consider ideas such as creating a drug review board, limiting formulary changes, and addressing pharmaceutical industry practices that keep generic drugs out of the hands of consumers.

Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut an Industrial Areas Foundation affiliate:

Today, the Lamont administration outlined details of its Clean Slate proposal as part of its overall agenda for 2020. In response, Dr. Asti Jackson, leader at Community Baptist Church in New Haven and co-chair of CONECT’s criminal justice team, released the following statement:

With the support of Governor Lamont and many key legislators, there is now undeniable momentum behind Clean Slate legislation in Connecticut. We applaud Gov. Lamont for following through on his campaign promise by putting forward his vision for how Connecticut can help more individuals who have been incarcerated, who have completed their sentences and demonstrated a clear commitment to remaining crime-free. In the weeks ahead, we look forward to working with him and with partners in the General Assembly, including Judiciary Committee co-chairs State Sen. Gary Winfield and State Rep. Steve Stafstrom, to create and pass a version of Clean Slate that is fair, workable, and gives more people a chance to re-enter our communities and our state workforce.

According to the administration, the Governor’s bill would erase drug possession convictions and most Class C and Class D misdemeanor convictions after a person has gone seven years without another conviction. CONECT’s Clean Slate proposal would expunge records for individuals who remain crime-free for three years after a misdemeanor and five years after a non-violent felony, and would be applied retroactively so that those with older records can benefit from this vital legislation.

State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden:

“As we move forward in the 2020 legislative session, we must reaffirm our commitment to the people of Connecticut and continue the hard work to move our state forward.

Upon taking office last year, one of our most urgent tasks was to stabilize the Teachers’ Retirement Fund. Years of back-loading and kicking the can down the road was finally catching up to us. Not only did our state face a disastrous spike in future payments, the mounting pension liabilities were poised to drain scarce resources from the budget affecting every taxpayer and every city and town in Connecticut.

Thanks to our leadership with the Governor and the General Assembly, we’ve stabilized the teachers’ pension fund, bulked up our Rainy Day fund and scaled back borrowing-all actions which make a difference to investors and taxpayers. From the state’s improved credit rating outlook to record investor interest in buying our bonds, all signals point to positive change in Connecticut. However, I know for far too many, the change isn’t coming fast enough.

This session, we have more work to do. Things like teaching financial literacy in our schools, healthcare and access to affordable prescription drugs, workforce development and good-paying jobs from advanced manufacturing to technology, these are the building blocks for strong, vibrant communities and serve as the bedrock for growing the state’s economy.

Let our work continue to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, which has been the cornerstone of Connecticut’s economy for decades. Let our legacy of innovative leadership pave the way for modernization.

And let’s tackle all the unfinished work to address social and economic justice in Connecticut.

Let’s get serious about economic empowerment, from financial literacy to retirement security. We must empower this and future generations to change the economic trajectory of their lives and our state.”

Andrew Markowski, state director of NFIB in Connecticut, which represents thousands of small business members across the state:

“NFIB is grateful that Gov. Lamont expressed his desire to build a healthy relationship with the business community, and specifically mentioned small businesses. In Connecticut, there are about 350 thousand small businesses that are employing nearly half the workforce, and as a group, they are a significant economic engine. We hope the Governor will visit many more small businesses this year and engage with our members, because those owners would be happy to tell him what prevents growth, hinders hiring, and how the government can encourage, not prohibit economic expansion.

There are no broad-based tax rate changes in the Governor’s proposed budget, which is a relief. And, small businesses are particularly pleased that Gov. Lamont chose to cancel $50 million in scheduled fee increases that hit small businesses hard because they included licensing and filing fees. While the Governor struck the right tone today, it is now up to the legislature to make sure no new costs and additional mandates on employers pass this session.”

Statement from Gian-Carl Casa, President & CEO of CT Community Nonprofit Alliance:

“For more than a dozen years, community nonprofits have seen the need for services and the cost of providing them increase, while state funding fell behind. We understood the state was in difficult fiscal times, and community nonprofits stepped up to provide vital services with limited dollars. But it’s 2020 and Connecticut has had multiple years of surplus revenues, and projections show the coming years will be strong. The state’s savings account has more money than ever before.

While we appreciate that the governor has not proposed spending cuts, and that he favors continuing the Nonprofit Grant Program, we are disappointed with the recommendation not to increase basic funding for vital community programs. Flat funding, when costs and demand rise, is the same as a cut – you simply can not provide the same services unless funding keeps up.

We’re asking the Governor and the legislature to appropriate $461 million in new money over the next five years to restore funding that community nonprofits have lost since 2007.”

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