Opinion By: Paul Cicarella
We all have many important priorities – families, business owners, tradespeople, teachers, working professionals, to name a few. Of these, some are universal. You want to know you can afford to keep the lights on and gas in your tank, that your kids are safe at school and home, and that the police are working to keep your neighborhood safe from crime. You also want to make sure your family’s health is taken care of and that you have the opportunity to make a decent living, and that your kids have the same chance, no matter what job they do.
These are the messages that shaped my priorities during my first term in Hartford as your representative. During the 2023 legislative session, I am continuing my efforts for the families of the 34th District – now including the families of Northford.
The issue of affordability affects us all. Essential items that were once affordable are now at record highs, and the recent spike in energy rates has added to our challenges. Families are being forced to choose between essential items just to stretch their budgets. This is unacceptable. My goal is to support bills that bring relief to overtaxed residents. While tax holidays are a temporary solution, permanent relief is needed.
One solution is eliminating the unfair “Truck Tax” on trucks carrying essential products and services in Connecticut. This tax will drive up the cost of essential goods and services even more. The state’s gas and diesel tax should also be suspended. Additionally, we can make energy more affordable and reduce costs immediately by eliminating senseless fees on customer energy bills. These ideas and others are outlined in our Senate and House Republican plan for “A Better Way to Energy Affordability.”
To make the state affordable, we must keep spending in check. I continue to support policies that use your hard-earned dollars responsibly and in measured ways. In addition to affordability, public safety is essential to our quality of life and is the most basic duty of our government. We have all seen increases in crime and aggressive driving across the state. That’s why I have had multiple meetings with local law enforcement to get their professional feedback and develop solutions to address these trends. As the ranking member of the Public Safety and Security Committee, I have offered these solutions through the Senate Republican SaferCT plan. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes, at the grocery store, gas station, or while driving to work.
A safer Connecticut is not possible without the opportunity for all residents to prosper. Access to well-paying careers is a major factor in preventing crime, and I introduced a plan last year to provide these opportunities. I was proud to see my legislation enacted that creates an “education-to-workforce” pipeline, connecting young people to career paths. I am building on this momentum in 2023. I have offered legislative proposals to develop programs that provide information on trade schools to kids as early as middle school and to create a Health Care Academy Program for high school students. I am also introducing proposals for financial literacy programs in our schools, and alternative pathways to employment for high school graduates who may not have a clear direction.
These are the issues of the day in Connecticut. We have the opportunity to correct our state’s course over the next four months. I welcome your questions, concerns, and requests for assistance.
State Sen. Paul Cicarella represents the towns of Durham, East Haven, North Branford, North Haven and Wallingford. www.senatorcicarella.com or [email protected]
The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of Connecticut Inside Investigator.
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