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State Sen. Len Fasano Greenwich Republicans are dedicated public servants

October 4, 2018

Nerlyn Pierson of Indivisible Greenwich wrote the most inaccurate and self-promoting article I have read in quite some time (Sept. 20 op-ed: “Town Republicans in Hartford not ’getting things done).

I don’t know Ms. Pierson, but I am well aware of Indivisible Greenwich. Indivisible’s mission has nothing to do with Connecticut. Their zealous hatred of President Donald Trump has poisoned their reason and blinded them to the real issues facing our state. Let’s remember that Democrats have had the run of the state for eight years. All of Connecticut’s problems can be laid at their feet. But Indivisible doesn’t care. This group will distort facts to achieve their goal of restoring one-party Democrat rule. Therefore let me to set the record straight on Republicans’ real record of achievement:

The Democrats removed the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula in lieu of political favoritism, and Greenwich was denied its fair share of education money. The Republicans instituted a fair formula, and Greenwich will receive $38,509 more this year. That formula is now the law. Sen. Scott Frantz, vice chairman of the Finance Committee, was a vital player in negotiating these changes

Indivisible claims the Republicans negotiated a “teacher tax.” That’s a lie, it’s not a tax. Teachers pay a little more toward their own pensions. It’s their money that they will get back. They still pay far less (6 percent) to their pensions less than the national average (10 percent). The Democrat alternative, which had bipartisan resistance, required municipalities to pay 100 percent of the cost for current and future teachers’ pensions. Teachers hated that proposal because it would have pitted them against local boards and lead to an increase in property taxes. As a result, the Republican idea received support of the majority of Democrat when the budget passed.

State colleges and universities have been irresponsible with the taxpayers’ money. For example, a UConn Medical professor was murdered by his wife and for months, while the body was in a closet, UConn continued to pay his $200,000 salary. The state auditors published a scathing report about the financial abuses at UConn Republicans want UConn and the other state colleges to show fiscal responsibility.

Connecticut Republicans support clean elections. I voted for the Citizens Election program (CEP). However, the Democrats have weakened the law such that unlimited money can be funneled through the state parties. As a result, lawmakers were given a choice: keep the $45 million program, or use some of that money to fund social services, education, etc. Republicans pushed for the latter, and Democrats chose the former.

Indivisible claimed Republicans proposed slashing the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to punish the working poor. In reality, Republicans supported a policy change that gave more of a credit to working families with children. Children are expensive, and we felt the program should reflect that.

Care 4 Kids is a state program that helps low-income adults with childcare, which the Democrats wanted to cut. It was Republicans, like those in the Greenwich delegation, who fully funded Care 4 Kids to the tune of $31 Million. Interesting how Indivisible left that fact out.

Republicans fully protected elderly nutrition, services for those with intellectual disabilities, grants for mental health and substance abuse, age in place initiatives, and added almost $100 million to local education funding. Most of these initiatives were to be cut either by Gov. Dannel Malloy or legislative Democrats. Republicans stopped it.

A greater Republican voice has resulted in a constitutional spending cap, a borrowing cap, and a volatility cap. Social security taxation is reduced, the gift and estate tax threshold is increasing to the new federal level of $11.2 million, and pensions under $100,000 are seeing relief.

Greenwich has been well-served by its Republican representatives. The Greenwich Republicans are some of the brightest, most honest, hardest-working representatives in Hartford. Out of all of them, I know Sen. Frantz the best. Without his expertise and hard work, it would be very difficult to craft the policy Connecticut needs to move forward.

Be careful of groups such as Indivisible Greenwich. They will distort and deceive for political advantage. They want one-party Democrat rule. Their members’ hatred is blind, and therefore misplaced. Connecticut (specifically Greenwich) Republicans are not D.C. Republicans, and never will be. The issue is Connecticut and moving the state forward.

Len Fasano of New Haven is the state Senate Republican Leader.

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