Candidate Scott Scherban Makes ‘Common Sense Pledge'
Read the interview with Scott Scherban's opponent to the right.
For Scott Scherban, it started in 2007 when he took a seat on Madison's Board of Assessment Appeals.
"I started paying attention. We had close to 900 appeals of property revaluations. I was surprised at the numbers I was seeing and the problems people were having paying their property taxes," he said.
When he searched for a cause, he found a state budget deeply in debt and "woefully mismanaged." He decided he could be an effective voice in Hartford to address those issues.
Scherban, a Republican, is running for the state representative seat from the 101st District, which includes Madison and a portion of Guilford. He is running against Democrat Deb Heinrich, a three-term incumbent.
"I was raised in Clinton and went through that school system. My mother still teaches there. I grew up on the shoreline and had an ideal childhood," Scherban said.
After undergraduate years at the University of Connecticut and law school at St. John's University, he interned at the Department of Justice and served as counsel with New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's Office of Midtown Enforcement cleaning up Times Square.
"It was exciting, but by 2000 it was time for me to move back into admiralty law, which is what I studied," he said.
He remains in admiralty law today and serves as in-house counsel for an insurance company. In 2002, he and his wife moved from New York to Madison to raise their children.
"Literally, my experience on the Board of Assessment Appeals was the impetus for my interest," Scherban explains. "When I looked to Hartford, I was shocked."
Madison taxpayers were sending "millions of tax dollars to Hartford every year and getting back literally pennies." He was listening to Madison property owners as they appealed their assessments and hearing their stories.
"Our residents were straining to meet their tax bills. In Madison and Guilford, taxpayers have to foot their municipal budgets through their property taxes, while other municipalities do not," he said. "We seem to get back pennies. Other municipalities get back $6 for every $1 they send to Hartford. I had to ask why."
Scherban said when he looked to Hartford in search of answers, he found an inflated state government and a huge budget deficit.
"Where was all this money going? There are 110 agencies and commissions listed on the state level. The size of government has simply exploded," he said. "There seems to be no plan and the present legislature is sliding a
$20 billion budget through each year.
"Measures such as three-day furloughs for state employees and imposing $5 co-pays on doctor visits do nothing for the big picture" and the state budget at this moment "is a mess," he said. "Do you know what's scary? Our unfunded obligations-teacher pensions, state employee pension funds, healthcare obligations. We have been putting zero dollars into those funds, but those obligations will come due."
When legislators head back up to Hartford to begin a new General Assembly session this January, "We will immediately face a $3.5 billion deficit. It will be staring us in the face. The people who have been representing us in Hartford have woefully mismanaged our money."
Scherban said new representation and new leadership has to "fix the budget and fast."
"I know it will be a daunting task, but the bold truth is that there have to be cuts and consolidation in state government," he said. "I know it's not easy and it will be painful, but the refusal to do anything over the last few years has forced us into this situation today."
He made a "common sense pledge" to voters. It said, in part, "Spend no more than we make. Reduce the size of inflated government. Slash the budget with necessary reductions entrenched incumbents failed to make." He added, "State legislators must pass a responsible budget. That's not happening now. Each year they pass a 'balanced budget' by borrowing billions of dollars. At some point we have to repay that borrowing."
As he campaigns throughout the district, Scherban said he is impressed by how many people are paying close attention to the races and the issues.
"They are aware, engaged, and have a grasp of the issues...They don't feel they have the representation they need. They know their property taxes are funding their education and town budgets while state funds are going to other towns."
Scherban has sought no endorsements from groups or organizations.
"I will be beholden to absolutely no one except the people I will be elected to represent-the people of Guilford and Madison-and that's all," he said.
Stories that may interest you
One year later, no votes have been taken to formally accept or reject the idea, even though Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal has brought up the issue more than 20 different times.
Bus drivers, teachers, nurses and more signed up to speak at the hearing.
Teams made up of family and friends of eight people who struggled with addiction and died will play at the annual event organized by Community Speaks Out.
The Board of Education continues to enforce mask policy in schools after a COVID-19 update during a meeting Tuesday night.