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Legislatively Speaking
Legislatively Speaking: State Budget Woes Continue

By Alma Graham, CT State Grange Legislative Director

  May 9, 2017 --

Congratulations to Ekonk Grange member Christopher Sebastian. He has been hired as a Legislative Aide by the National Grange and will be working this summer with Berton Eller at National Grange headquarters in Washington D.C. Christopher is presently a student at George Washington University in Washington D.C. I understand he received full scholarships. His career goal is to work for the State Department as an Ambassador. According to the members of Ekonk Grange, he is surely already missed. Christopher runs the popular Duct Tape booth at their fair where he creates all sorts of items with duct tape. Christopher is also an Eagle Scout and as his project he rebuilt the pavilion on the Grange grounds.

On the State level, budget negotiations are in full swing with the Legislative session deadline quickly approaching. The Governor threatened state employee layoffs again for this year. State employees already were hit with over one thousand layoffs last year. The Governor is using this tactic to force the unions into opening up state contracts for concessions.

Many towns are having a difficult time developing their own budgets for the coming year because of uncertainty about amount of state funding that they may receive. I have heard of towns that are working with their town attorneys about the legality of holding off development of town budgets until the state legislature votes on a budget. Others are looking at possible steep increases in their mill rates. It is looking like many social programs and agencies will be hard hit with cuts.

There are still active discussions on possible highway tolls this year. It is looking very likely that this will be included this year. Discussions have also included increasing bottle deposit fees and a tax on plastic bags. I will say that in my travels, I have run across many countries and cities that have banned the use of plastic bags. Paper bags were primarily used and some also did not offer any bags unless you paid for them. You are encouraged to supply your own reusable bags. They told me that the money received from the bags was being used for charities.


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