Incumbent Marilyn Giuliano, a Republican, is running for her sixth term as state representative of the 23rd District. In her current term, she serves as the minority party leader on the state legislature’s Education Committee and on the Appropriations Committee and the Program Review and Investigations Committee. She works as a school psychologist in the Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools.
Regarding the recent Barron’s report that ranked Connecticut 50th among 50 states based on the size of its debt and pension obligations, Giuliano cites the ranking as a major issue and listed steps she’d take to address it. First, the state should restructure existing debt and pay down the highest cost debt. Second, the state should consider eliminating longevity payments paid routinely to state workers; Giuliano said the state no longer needs to offer this as an incentive for workers to stay. Last, the state should reconsider making overtime pay part of the pension calculations and move state employees toward a defined-contribution retirement plan.
On other labor issues, Giuliano’s views differed from those of her challenger, Adam Stillman. Giuliano views the requirement that municipalities must pay prevailing wages for construction projects as an unfunded mandate. The current project-cost threshold for the prevailing wage rule has not been adjusted for years and should be raised, according to Giuliano. It currently stands at $400,000 for new construction and $100,000 for renovations.
Giuliano said that she voted in the legislature against giving child and personal care workers the right to organize. In particular, she said she did not see evidence that the move was supported by a majority of those workers. Governor Dannel Malloy later gave them the right to organize through an executive order.
With respect to taxes, Giuliano said she appreciated the rhetoric Malloy offered about shared sacrifice to close the budget deficit, but the state worker give-backs touted did not produce the revenue he projected. She also said she opposed the 77 new taxes the legislature adopted last session, including the retroactive income tax increase.
“In a protracted recession, that level of taxation is the wrong move,” she said.
On creating jobs for Connecticut, Guiliano cited her support for the strategy of the legislature’s recent bi-partisan jobs bill. That bill created a revolving loan fund to help businesses expand and provides incentives to small businesses to hire new employees.