Hartford- Representative Whit Betts (R-Bristol) spent the morning listening to the concerns and ideas of members of the Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce during their annual legislative breakfast held Tuesday morning at the Farmington Club.
While snowy conditions caused a late start, the event was well attended by the members of the chamber. After some brief introductions the legislators jumped right into fielding questions from the audience. The questions covered a wide variety of topics including ECS funding, state spending, taxes, unfunded state mandates and transportation issues.
“Many of the people in the room today are responsible for creating and providing jobs and giving our economy a pulse,” said Betts. “When they talk about reducing costs, eliminating unfunded state mandates and encouraging business growth I think we ought to listen up. There will be some crucial decisions made this session and I plan on using some of the things said in this room today to help guide my decision making process.”
Much of the discussion centered on how the legislature plans to balance the state’s budget which is approximately $3.7 billion in debt, a number that could get worse if the state switches to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). All of the legislators in attendance agreed that spending cuts must be the first avenue explored; however, some Democrats stated they are in favor of increasing the income tax to help close the budget gap.
“John Galbraith once said that politics is making ‘the choice between the disastrous and the unpalatable,’ said Betts. “That’s what we are faced with in Hartford. I think tax increases on top of what has been levied the last few years would be disastrous. I realize that cuts are not easy but we have to start there and look at every possibility before we even consider raising a single tax.”
Whit Betts is serving his first term in the legislature. He represents the 78th legislative district in Bristol.