Fighting for Your Future in Connecticut: It’s a Matter of Respect
November 2, 2018
I want to thank the residents of the 143rd district for their active participation in our representative government.
Everything I do as your representative starts with you. My job is, and always has been, to represent you. Not a party. Not an ideology. You.
I’m grateful that so many of you take the time to discuss with me what really matters to you.
Rep. Lavielle Editorial: State Must Seek Less Costly Transit Upgrades
April 10, 2018
This op-ed appeared in the Hartford Courant on April 10, 2018
Amid the deepening of Connecticut’s already profound fiscal crisis, the state Department of Transportation has announced this year that it cannot meet its obligations to the public without a substantial influx of new revenue into the Special Transportation Fund. Without that revenue, the DOT commissioner — who must do what he can with whatever funds he receives from the state — has said that rail and bus fares must be raised substantially while service must be reduced and a long list of projects costing $4.3 billion must be postponed or abandoned.
Rep. Lavielle: Tolls: Every Possible Proposal, Except a Clear One
March 13, 2018
The Transportation Committee has raised four bills about tolls in Connecticut, and all are scheduled for a public hearing on Wednesday, March 14. This year, the tolls debate is taking place against the backdrop of statements by the governor and the DOT that the state’s fund designated for transportation (STF) is running dry, and that services and projects must be cut and mass transit fares increased if there is no legislative action to increase revenue.
Rep. Lavielle Urges Unity Against Racism at Interfaith Event in Wilton
August 24, 2017
The event on August 24, 2017, “Wilton Clergy Association’s Standing Together, Standing Strong: An Interfaith Gathering,” was organized as an opportunity for the community to gather and address the events in Charlottesville “in a positive way.”
The Biggest Concessions in the State Union Agreement Came from Taxpayers
August 7, 2017
Connecticut families and businesses need to understand the state union agreement the legislature has just approved and what it means for them. While one union leader called it “the best and longest public-sector pension and healthcare contract in the country”, its far-reaching budgetary consequences will likely not draw such enthusiasm from Connecticut taxpayers.
In Throes of Budget Stalemate, Governor’s Executive Order Kicks In at Midnight
June 30, 2017
Connecticut’s fiscal year ends tonight, with no budget in place for the next biennium. At midnight, the governor will take over management of the state’s finances by executive order, and will continue until the legislature passes a budget bill.
Not a Time to Mince Words about Connecticut’s Finances
May 16, 2017
This is no time to mince words about Connecticut’s fiscal crisis. It is deep, serious, and affects everyone and everything: taxpayers, businesses, jobs, social services, infrastructure, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, towns and cities, federal funding opportunities, and Connecticut’s reputation. Let’s be clear – it’s not new. The state’s finances have been precarious for several years. But now even those who have long denied the gravity of the situation are acknowledging it.
Taxpayer Advocate: The Role the Legislature Must Not Forsake
April 19, 2017
Among the many factors responsible for bringing on Connecticut’s fiscal crisis are longstanding budgetary, fiscal, and regulatory policies that have not required our state government to live within the means of those who fund it. Although there could be no state government and no state services without taxpayers, their interests do not seem to have been given much priority in any state budget for the past several years.
Connecticut Must Not Wait for Structural Budget Reform
March 27, 2017
Most people in our state government at last agree that Connecticut is in a fiscal crisis. A deficit of $3.5 billion looms in the next budget cycle; businesses, retirees, and other longtime contributors to our economy have been leaving for more fiscally friendly and stable states; the funded ratio of our state pension funds has fallen to about 35%; and our bond ratings have suffered considerably.
The Next State Budget: Beware of Taxes in Disguise
January 23, 2017
With the opening of Connecticut’s 2017 legislative session has come a new certainty: there’s no longer any denial that the state is in a severe financial crisis. The crisis is not new, but its acknowledgement by the administration and the legislative majority is.
Spending By Any Other Name Would Cost As Much
October 20, 2016
In 1992, an amendment imposing a spending cap on the state budget was added to the Connecticut constitution, following an affirmative vote by more than 80% of the voters. To implement the cap, the General Assembly was required to vote on its parameters, including guidelines for setting the cap and for the budget items to be classified as “spending” for purposes of inclusion under the cap.
From the Desk of Reps. Wilms and Lavielle: Walk Bridge Project
October 12, 2016
The Walk Bridge project has attracted enormous attention from Norwalk residents and businesses. This bridge is a key part of the entire Northeast corridor that is used by both Amtrak and Metro-North. In 2014, the New Haven Line carried almost 40 million riders. Given the critical role of the Northeast Corridor, any kind of Walk Bridge failure is unacceptable.
Rep. Lavielle Offers Testimony to Spending Cap Commission
October 6, 2016
In 1992, an amendment imposing a spending cap on the state budget was added to the Connecticut constitution, following an affirmative vote by more than 80% of the voters. To implement the cap, the General Assembly was required to vote on its parameters, including guidelines for setting the cap and for the budget items to be included under the cap.
Lavielle: Rail Fare Increase Decision Ignored and Disrespected the People of Connecticut
October 4, 2016
HARTFORD — State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) expressed disappointment in the CT Department of Transportation’s (DOT) decision to increase rail fares by 6 percent (5 percent, plus a previously scheduled 1 percent increase) on December 1. Further, she was sharply critical of the unwillingness of the administration and majority legislative leaders to listen to public opinion and to consider alternative proposals.
Putting Out Fires is Not an Economic Development Strategy
September 30, 2016
Yesterday, the General Assembly convened in special session to vote on a deal designed to keep Sikorsky in Connecticut. My remarks on the House floor are in the attached video.
Lavielle Named “Legislative Champion” for Fifth Consecutive Year by CT League of Conservation Voters
September 22, 2016
HARTFORD — State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) has been named a “Legislative Champion” by the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) for the fifth consecutive year. Of the 14 legislators to receive the recognition this year, she was commended particularly for her leadership on issues affecting public water supply during the 2016 legislative session.
Lavielle: Statement on CT Supreme Court’s Review of Education Decision
September 20, 2016
HARTFORD — Today the Connecticut Supreme Court agreed to accept both the state’s and the plaintiff’s applications to appeal the recent decision by Superior Court Judge Moukawsher on education funding and policy in Connecticut. As a result, the Supreme Court will be reviewing all aspects of the Superior Court’s decision.
Lavielle, House Republican Legislators Testify in Opposition to Proposed 2016 Transit Fare Increases, Document Commuter Opposition, and Propose Alternatives
September 16, 2016
Stamford – In a concerted effort to stop the CT Department of Transportation’s proposal to raise Metro-North fares by 5% this December, State Representative Gail Lavielle, joined by House Republican legislators, State Representatives Brenda Kupchick, Laura Devlin, Mike Bocchino, Dave Rutigliano, Fred Camillo, and J.P. Sredzinski, testified at the public hearing held Wednesday at the UConn Stamford Campus Auditorium.
CT Early Childhood Alliance Names Rep. Lavielle a 2016 Children’s Champion
September 9, 2016
NORWALK – The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is recognizing 29 state legislators as 2016 “Children’s Champions,” including Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143).
Lavielle Statement on Proposed Metro-North Fare Increases
July 22, 2016
Today, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a proposed 5% fare increase on the main New Haven line and its branches, as well as on Shore Line East, that would take effect on December 1. It would be in addition to a 1% increase previously scheduled to take effect around the same time. The proposal also includes increases in CTtransit bus fares statewide. The DOT will hold public hearings on the increases during the coming months.
Mileage Tax: Why Spend Money on Something Nobody Wants?
And Why Didn’t the DOT Tell Us?
July 15, 2016
There has been quite a lot of coverage lately about Connecticut’s interest in a mileage tax. Most of it focuses on how bad a mileage tax would be for the state. I agree, it would. People in Connecticut just can’t take on one more tax, and on top of that, a mileage tax raises too many privacy issues. But I don’t think that’s what the real story is.
What in the World Is Going On in Hartford?
April 25th, 2016
For the past few weeks, it seems like a new piece of distressing budget-related news has been coming out of Hartford at every turn. This shouldn’t be surprising, given the glaring weaknesses of the biennial budget (FY 2016 and FY 2017) passed by majority legislators last spring, which fell into deficit right after it took effect. Still, that doesn’t make the newsflashes any less distressing.
GE: What We Didn’t Hear Last Week, and Should Have
January 19th, 2016
We heard a lot about GE last week. But what we didn’t hear was more telling.
In Connecticut, we heard much discussion of why GE decided to move, and many opinions about who and what are to blame. None of this was surprising, and much of it had to be said.
The Budget Special Session: Using a Bucket when You Need
to Fix the Leaky Roof
December 11, 2015
When you have a leaky roof, you can’t fix it with a bucket. You have to stop the leak at its source. Otherwise, the bucket spills over, and the leak in the roof gets worse. Nevertheless, majority lawmakers took the bucket approach to dealing with our state’s persistent and burgeoning budget problems in Tuesday’s special session.
State Budget Cuts: Something is Wrong with this Picture
September 29th, 2015
On September 18, Governor Malloy ordered $103 million in cuts to the state budget, which had taken effect just three months previously. As reasons, the administration cited downward revisions in projected revenues due to unexpectedly low tax receipts and stock market weakness. In other circumstances, the rescission order might look like reassuring fiscal prudence. Instead, it looks more like eleventh-hour backpedaling on a budget that was unworkable to begin with, and it has caused genuine alarm.
Reshuffling the State’s Taxes Is Not a Solution
September 18th, 2015
This week I attended the public hearing in Hartford held by the State Tax Panel and submitted testimony.
The bipartisan Panel was created by 2014 legislation to focus on the state’s long-term tax policy. Any recommendations it makes for reforming our tax system are supposed to be revenue-neutral: no tax can be reduced without replacing it with money from another source.
Education: Bipartisan Collaboration Yields Results
August 17th, 2015
During the 2015 legislative session, I had the privilege of serving for the first time as Ranking Member of the General Assembly’s Education Committee. One of the legislature’s largest committees, its work affects every community in the state. While education should not be a partisan subject, the committee’s work has sometimes been affected by political differences in past years. This year, however, I was pleased that building a good working relationship with the committee co-chairs and drawing on the knowledge of a particularly strong group of members helped us find many areas of common ground and pass a range of bills with full bipartisan support that should have a positive impact on our state’s K-12 education system.
The State Budget: It’s Time to Start Over
June 26th, 2015
Connecticut’s new state budget, which the legislature passed narrowly on June 3, has drawn sharp criticism from nearly everyone and praise from very few. The outcry is reverberating everywhere, and genuine outrage is in the air.
Voting Against a Budget that Is Bad for Connecticut
June 3rd, 2015
At the tail end of a session that began yesterday at 11:00 am and continued through the night, the House of Representatives voted at 5:30 this morning on the budget proposed by the governor and majority Democrats. The budget documents had become available for reading only hours before.
Transportation: Legislative Update
April 28th, 2015
Transportation Infrastructure – Tolls – Transit Corridor Development Authority
Although this year’s legislative session has been unusually slow, there have recently been several developments in the transportation area that I would like to share with you.
Lavielle: Specter of County Government Comes Back to
Haunt Connecticut in SB 1
March 24th, 2015
HARTFORD – State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) has submitted testimony opposing provisions in a bill that she said would create a new layer of taxing authority and bureaucracy in Connecticut that would be similar to aspects of county government. Rep. Lavielle’s testimony refers to certain provisions of SB 1, An Act Concerning Tax Fairness and Economic Development, which is currently under consideration by the General Assembly’s Planning and Development Committee.
Eminent Domain on Steroids? A New Bill Threatens Cities and Towns
March 10th, 2015
How would you feel if a group of people who lived elsewhere in the state and whom no one had elected were to take over certain planning and zoning functions in your town or city and unilaterally make critical decisions about entire neighborhoods — like who could own property there, and what they could do with it? Although this scenario seems far-fetched, it is clearly outlined in governor’s bill HB 6851, which has just received a public hearing in the General Assembly.
Not So Fast: Breaking Through the Transportation Impasse
March 4th, 2015
Given the many issues with our commuter rail service, the congestion of our highways, and the poor condition of our roads and bridges, the General Assembly’s focus on transportation during this legislative session is welcome news to most people. But what is to be accomplished, and where are we in the process?
Transportation Takes Center Stage: It’s About Time
February 13th, 2015
Governor Malloy has announced that 2015 will be the year of transportation in Connecticut. Next week, he will present to the General Assembly a comprehensive, long-term plan for repairing and upgrading the state’s transportation infrastructure.
Why Is the Legislature Beating Up on Businesses When the State Needs Jobs?
April 11, 2014
Multiple recent studies and surveys have shown that Connecticut’s economic recovery is among the slowest in the country. Unemployment remains higher than the national and regional averages, and the workforce continues to shrink as people either stop looking for work or leave the state to find jobs elsewhere. CNBC and Forbes both rank Connecticut near the bottom of their lists of business-friendly states. In an implicit acknowledgment of the weaknesses of the business environment, the administration itself continues to insist on the need to “play defense”, by offering significant incentives to individual businesses to ensure that they don’t leave Connecticut.
A Packed House for Rep. Gail Lavielle’s Public Meeting on Education Mandate Relief
November 25th, 2013
HARTFORD – State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143), along with Weston Superintendent Dr. Colleen Palmer, hosted a public meeting last night designed to help identify state mandates that may be detrimental to teaching and learning in Connecticut’s public schools. More than 150 educators, parents and students from towns across the state attended the meeting held at Bedford Middle School in Westport.
Forced Regionalization Is a Minefield for Western Connecticut Cities and Towns
October 30th, 2013
Connecticut’s planning regions are about to be reorganized. While this may not seem like earthshaking news, alarm bells are sounding in western Connecticut, where many municipal CEOs are deeply concerned.
Is This Any Way to Run a Railroad?
October 15th, 2013
The recent disruption of Metro-North service raised several critical issues. An obvious one is the cost and inconvenience of disruptions for commuters. Another is their impact on rush-hour traffic congestion, and on road and rail transportation throughout the Northeast Corridor, which connects New England to the rest of the country.
Lavielle Concerned about Connecticut’s Pension Obligations: Cites Recent CNBC Report
August 19th, 2013
HARTFORD – In the wake of Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy filing, CNBC has released a report this month on the condition of state and municipal pension obligations. The report found that Connecticut’s level of unfunded pension liabilities is one of the highest in the country. State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) today released the following statement on the report.
What Will it take to Make Connecticut Wake Up?
August 9th, 2013
An article posted on August 1 on the Forbes.com web site has gone viral. Entitled “How Did Rich Connecticut Morph Into One of America’s Worst Performing Economies?” it’s an unapologetic look at the dismal state of Connecticut’s economy and the policies that have transformed it from being one of the most prosperous in the country into the only economy that actually shrank in 2012 – the one that now ranks dead last.
June 27th, 2013
The dust has now settled on Connecticut’s 2013 legislative session. Because this is an odd-numbered year, it was a budget session, designed to set the course for the next biennium. Where did it take our state, and where are we going?