Candidates for the 122nd, 123rd and 134th districts, and Trumbull's State Senate Seat outlined their views on regionalization, taxes and small businesses in a recent forum at the Trumbull Library.
The candidates were: Larry Miller, R-122, running unopposed; David Rutigliano, R, and Tom Christiano, D for the 123rd; State Rep. Tony Hwang, R-134 (incumbent), and Heather Dean, D; and State Sen. Anthony Musto, D-Trumbull, (incumbent), and Chadwick Ciocci, R.
Louis Bevilacqua, a recently registered republican, is also running for the 123rd State House district, held by the outgoing T.R. Rowe, a republican. Rowe is running for probate judge for Trumbull, Easton and Monroe.
Bevilacqua did not attend the forum.
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The Q and A
Q: What is the first bill you would introduce?
- Christiano: Job creation, re-education. "Without question, one that retrains the workforce."
- Rutgliano: Get rid of cumbersome business taxes. "In Connecticut, they break your leg, hand you a crutch, and say how great they are."
- Hwang: Review the state budget and move away from "capricious spending." Ease the tax burden and encourage business growth. "Government is currently the growth industry in our state."
- Dean: Hire people so they get modern work experience to make them more employable. Educate students to take on 21st century jobs.
- Musto: Allow municipalities to tax at different rates for residential and business. "We give them the abilities to run their own budgets" but not the tools.
- Ciocci: Fund unfunded mandates and allow municipalities "a little more leeway in controlling spending."
- Miller: "I've got a list of 25 bills I'm going to submit this year." Reducing energy costs, use biodiesel and make the state healthier by reducing asthma rates, diabetes, heart issues and COPD. "We are the gateway to New England."
Q: How would you support small businesses?
- Hwang: Small businessowners are "our neighbors, part of our community. For example, Firelight Media works on accounts around the world but is located in Trumbull. Small businesses are an "economic engine and they have unique needs."
- Dean: She has owned her own business for 10 years. "Small businesses are the number one job creators in Connecticut." Small businesses need to be able to hire employees.
- Musto: The state sends inspectors who levy fines on small businesses. The fines for first offenses should be used to help the businesses remedy the problems.
- Ciocci: Balance the state budget, repeal Malloy tax increases and create confidence to encourage businesses to come in. Don't ignore big businesses either and eliminate crony capitalism. "The current government is choosing the winners and the losers."
- Miller: He worked for an oil company for 20 years before starting his own. At the time it cost him $10,000 before "I could deliver one drop of oil." Reduce the state's costs.
- Christiano: Streamline paperwork. "It's literally 10, 112 pages that have to be filled out" to hire someone.
- Rutigliano: Eliminate business taxes such as the $250 business entity tax. Help young people find jobs.
Q: What services can be regionalized and should they be?
- Ciocci: Whatever is regionalized, ratepayers should be pay less as a result.
- Miller: "I don't want to be burdened with another community's" problems.
- Christiano: "You don't want a town like Trumbull giving away its power." The Trumbull Monroe Health Department works well, and sharing public works equipment would also work.
- Rutigliano: He is not opposed to it, but it has to save money. He said he will also help to protect Trumbull's sovereignty.
- Hwang: County government didn't work for Connecticut before because municipalities "have such disparate interests."
- Dean: Specific issues may arise such as incompatible firefighting equipment. "Embrace it if it's practical."