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Where I Stand Be it resolved

December 30, 2018

As 2019 beckons, it’s New Year’s resolution season.

I’ve compiled a list of resolutions for our new Democrat governor and Democrat-controlled Connecticut General Assembly to consider.

1. Resolve to be fiscally responsible. Earlier this year, I was proud to vote for state budget adjustments that resolved the fiscal year 2019 deficit, fully financed the Special Transportation Fund, and provided funds to fully staff the Connecticut state veterans hospital. The budget was and is the product of bipartisan negotiations. A true and fair compromise, it provided funding for critical services without tax increases or enacting tolls. That bears repeating: no tax hikes and no tolls.

2. Remember that the state is broke. Proposing new initiatives and programs always sounds nice. Problem is, there is no money for well-intentioned new programs. That may sound sad and bleak, but it’s our reality. Focus on the red ink.

3. Work with and listen to the bipartisan State Auditors. Time and again, our state auditors and their able team of budget watchdogs uncover waste, fraud and abuse in Connecticut government. I’m talking about shake-your-head-in-disbelief types of waste, fraud and abuse. Millions of millions of taxpayer dollars can be protected now and in the future simply by scouring the auditors’ recommendations and following through on them.

4. Quit maxing out the state taxpayers’ credit card already! This year, the governor borrowed $10 million to study, yes, study, tolls. He was dutifully supported in this effort by Democrats on the State Bond Commission. This was just one example of unnecessary spending and borrowing. Needs should be funded, not wants.

5. Promote business growth and jobs in Connecticut — by listening to business owners and job creators. Passing a balanced, no-tax-increase budget this past year sent a message that Democrats and Republicans can do the hard work of putting the state’s fiscal house in order. It also showed that we can control spending while still providing crucial services. Businesses are watching lawmakers even more closely now for anti-growth proposals. Give them the confidence they need. Don’t spook them.

6. Listen to the minority party. The Danbury News-Times once opined that “effective government needs a multitude of voices, not one-party control.” Well said. As of Jan. 9, it will be one-party control at our State Capitol. Here’s hoping majority Democrats and the governor will use their power prudently and include Republican voices and ideas in policy-making. Those Republican voices helped deliver a spending cap, a bonding cap, and a toll-free, tax-hike free budget in 2018. Not too shabby.

The new class of lawmakers and the governor should feel free to post these resolutions on their office bulletin boards. Review them periodically, then re-read them in December 2019 to see which of them were broken.

On a personal note, I thank the taxpayers of the 24th State Senate District for giving me the wonderful honor of serving you for the past decade. Many lasting friendships were made, and I took great joy when my hardworking senate staff was able to help constituents solve a wide variety of problems big and small. I wish my successor the very best, and I wish you all a very happy and healthy new year.

State Sen. Michael McLachlan represents the 24th State Senatorial District, which is comprised of Bethel, Danbury, New Fairfield, and Sherman.

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