WESTON, Conn. – Pursuing a balanced budget, education reforms in light of the Sandy Hook killings and new jobs for Connecticut residents are among the New Year’s resolutions State Senator Toni Boucher will pursue in 2013.
As a Republican who represents the 26th district, which includes Weston and Redding, Boucher is a member of the minority, but sees progress in a bipartisan approach to the budget with recent movement by Gov. Dannel Malloy.
“The governor was forced to seek special legislation due to discrepancies in the state budget, which is already more than $400 million in the red. He could have gone his own way but chose to ask the minority for their opinion and if they would agree to certain cuts,” Boucher said.
“The big issue on the table is the budget for 2013 and ’14" and making sure the previous budget is balanced by the end of June, she said.
The Connecticut legislature passed an Education Reform Bill in May, and education will continue to be a priority in 2013, with school security measures after the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown.
“The Education committee will revisit the protocol regarding safety and security procedures in schools regarding metal detectors and window and door security,” Boucher said. “And we’ll revisit the adequacy of the mental health system and the issue of gun control. Connecticut is the fifth best gun control state, but I’m sure it will be on the agenda.”
When the subject of jobs came up, Boucher said, “The best way to find jobs is to create an environment where businesses are attracted to Connecticut and want to grow here.”
She lamented the “unpredictable environment” in which businesses face a variety of taxes, from sales taxes that she said impede small businesses to gas taxes that she said hurt companies that use trucks. “Taxes penalize businesses in every way and investors are gone and it costs us money,” Boucher said.
She also called for reforms in transportation and crime legislation, from electrifying rail service to reforming the early release program. “People get out and commit serious crimes, so we need different oversight and standards,” she said.
Looking ahead to the new year in light of the state’s financial problems, Boucher said, “I remain hopeful that we’ve set a tone of bipartisanship that will carry forward into 2013 for a more trusting, credible process to handle difficult financial decisions.”
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