DANBURY, Conn. – State Sens. Bob Duff and Robert Kane addressed state spending from opposite sides of the aisle during a breakfast presentation hosted Tuesday by the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce.
The annual Eggs and Issues event was held at the Amber Room Colonnade and featured talks by the legislators and questions from business owners and community members in the audience. Duff, a Democrat from Norwalk and the Senate majority leader, and Kane, a Republican from Waterbury, served as the keynote speakers.
Duff praised the state’s legislators for working collaboratively across the aisle and passing bills. He said that the state is facing challenges, but that it would be able to address its financial concerns.
“We will have a budget in place by July 1,” he said. “The state will move forward, and we’re not going to be in some kind of crisis mode where citizens don’t understand what we’re doing and the people of the state of Connecticut don’t have confidence that we’re able to move forward.”
Kane said there was too much regulation in the state, and said government policy was not friendly toward small businesses. He said the state too consistently deals with budget crises and looks to collect too much revenue.
“I was elected in 2008, and every year I’ve been in the legislature since then, it’s been a bad budget year,” he said. “That’s sad, it really is, when our standard is to have a bad budget year and try to keep our heads above water. That’s really difficult. Where’s the plan? Where’s the vision? Where are we taking Connecticut for the next 10, 20, 30 years?”
Duff took on issues such as transportation and casinos. He said Gov. Dannel Malloy’s proposal to improve the state’s transportation infrastructure would take funding but said he did not believe tolls would move forward in the legislature this year. He said new casinos could bring jobs to the state. But any new casinos would have to be agreed upon by the tribes and the local municipalities, and no casinos would be built in areas that did not want them, Duff said.
Kane said the state needs to get serious about cutting its spending and that state government should focus on four areas: public health, public safety, infrastructure and education. He said the state government should trim high salaries, bureaucracy and duplication of services. Services that are provided by both the state and the private sector should be reduced, he said.
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