Taxes, tolls, terminations are fears of Shelton residents

March 21, 2017 GMT

SHELTON-More taxes, less municipal funding.

The return of highway tolls with only a minuscule reduction in gas tax.

Then there’s large companies leaving, small businesses closing and jobs eliminated.

For nearly two hours Monday night those were the complaints heard by State Sen. Kevin Kelly and State Reps. Jason Perillo and Ben McGorty during a legislative forum which attracted nearly 50 people at Caloroso on Center Street. The trio represents Shelton in Hartford.

“I just keeping getting taxed, taxed and taxed,” said one woman who declined to give her name but described herself as a lifelong Democrat. “Every day I’m being assaulted with another tax.”

John Koch complained that Connecticut “extracts so much” from its residents. “I don’t take advantage of 10 percent of what they offer.”

Joan Flannery, a teacher, claimed her days in the state are numbered once she retires.

All this comes at a time when Gov. Dannel P. Malloy proposed a budget that significantly reduces education funding to prosperous Valley towns like Shelton, Seymour and Oxford and requires all cities to contribute a third of the required teacher pension programs.

For Shelton this carries a cost of about $7.6 million which the city would have to make up and would come out of resident’s wallets.

But the legislators claim Malloy’s budget will be reworked.

Perillo said a final budget is due by the first week in June “but the odds of that happening are slim. We could be here all summer.”

He said one of the issues is the state is working on a two-year budget but “too many people are only worrying about the first year. The mentality is not about the long term.”

McGorty said he had no problems with electronic tolls as long “as the money went into a lock box to be used for improving the roads and rails.”

However he fears the money will be spent on other things.

And Kelly said the Republicans who have evened the state Senate with the Democrats at 18 each now have “a louder voice and bigger seat at the table.”

“We can say the governor’s budget is dead on arrival,” he added. “There’s going to be a lot of Republican salt in the pot.”

The state is facing a growing budget deficit of $1.3 billion.

That’s something Perillo said “we can’t tax our way out of. We can’t cut are way out of. We have to grow our way out of.”

He said the state has to be serious about changing regulations for businesses.

And just how the governor intends to convince unions to give back $700 million is a mystery to him.

“I don’t fault people for their paychecks, we just can’t afford it anymore,” Perillo said.

Afterwards, Kelly said he was impressed with the give and take.

“I think we had a real Connecticut open discussion between neighbors, friends and families,” he said. “People are nervous about their future, their jobs and taxes. This is very important to bring back to Hartford.”