Legislators wrap up ‘listening tour’

State Rep. Laura Devlin answers a question from a resident during a recent legislative listening tour of Trumbull.

Trumbull’s state representatives David Rutigliano (R-123rd), Laura Devlin (R-134th) and Ben McGorty (R-122nd) spent the month of January on a town-wide listening tour, in order to hear from Trumbull residents on state issues.

The representatives, who together represent the town in the state House, fielded questions from constituents on some major state issues to be debated this session. Topics included the state budget, state pension debt, possible sales tax increases, a plan for a statewide property tax, new tolls, and a proposal to permit early voting in the state.

“Our state is at an economic crossroad,” Rutigliano said. “Conditions seem have to have improved over the past couple of years, [but] many people I talk to are fearful with new taxes and fees that Connecticut will again head in the wrong direction.”

Rutigliano said the Trumbull legislators were unified against new taxes and any proposal to reduce state education aid to Trumbull.

Devlin, who represents a district that includes parts of Trumbull and Fairfield, said she appreciated hearing from Trumbull residents.

“One issue on many people’s minds is the plan to bring tolls back to our highways,” she said. “Many constituents believe we will have only a few tolls around the state, but most plans I’ve seen have anywhere from 70-120 toll gantries across the state, on every major highway including the Merritt Parkway.”

The fares for each toll are still under discussion, Devlin said.

“But remember the state would need to collect enough revenue to make the move to tolls feasible. At this point, the target is at least $700 million from cars with 60-70% of that coming from state residents,” she said.

McGorty said the legislators had heard many ideas and concerns, and that tolls and a proposed tax on groceries topped the list.

“ It also concerns me that we are even talking about tolls and a grocery tax when we can easily reform and reshape the size of government,” he said. “I will be fighting for working families this session to make sure our state doesn’t waste or tax more of your hard earned money.”

Trumbull’s state representatives can be reached by calling the House Republicans at 1-800-842-1423 or by email at Laura.Devlin@housegop.ct.gov, Dave.Rutigliano@housegop.ct.gov, and Ben.McGorty@housegop.ct.gov.