RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – The new year brings a new legislative session for State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) – and with it, she said brings a new need for budget reform in Connecticut.
“We’re heading into a new two-year budget cycle,” Boucher said, a cycle she hopes will be forged with bipartisan action unlike the 2010 budget.
“We set a tone of working together in a bipartisan fashion to work on a budget that is more realistic and a more living in your means and not over taxing the people,” she said speaking about the special session that was held to start working on fixing the budget with a $400 million deficit. “We just need to build a better financial policy.”
But working in a bipartisan manner to solve the budget isn’t’ the only thing Boucher is looking forward to in the coming session.
One of her main concerns in how to keep college graduates in state. She said she’d like to find a way to increase job creation and bring new business into the state.
To do this, she said the state needs to continue to focus on improving its educational system. For example, she said pushing the kindergarten start date from December to September “would make us more consistent with the majority of the states.” But she said it’s a contentious topic.
Getting a voting member on the Metro Transit Authority (MTA) board is another of her projects for this session. She said that for a state that pays 65 percent of the funding not having a voting member on the board is wrong. Boucher also spoke about making sure money in the transportation budget stays there and does not get used for fixing deficits in the general fund.
“We need to make sure that we rescind the early release system. I don’t think it’s beneficial, we need to look at who’s eligible for that,” Boucher said.
After the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, gun control and school safety are also on her list.
“There is no question that the gun laws are going to be discussed,” Boucher said. “Hopefully it will be multi-pronged,” in looking at who can purchase guns, the size of the magazine and the types of guns available.
“Also security at schools will be discussed, and the adequacy or inadequacy of our mental health services,” Boucher said.
The Connecticut legislature returns to the capital on Jan. 9 for its regular session.
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