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    Sunday, May 26, 2024

    ‘We need real investment, not empty words and promises’

    I grew up in a household with a father who believed in fiscal responsibility. He would insist we buy the store brand cereals, and we would hunt for the lowest gas prices around. But my dad also knew sometimes being fiscally responsible meant that you had to invest in something that would last, otherwise you wind up replacing it sooner rather than later. I am here to ensure our state and its people have long-term financial stability.

    The last legislative session was able to provide a budget that had $650 million in tax cuts - the largest in our state’s history, and it paid off some of our state’s debts. Holly Cheeseman voted against this budget and yet has claimed to want to make Connecticut more affordable. I would have supported this budget because it provides actual tax relief for our citizens, not just empty talk. I also would have supported the gas tax suspension that's saved our citizens money at the gas pumps, the $100 million worth of property tax relief, and the $86 million worth of tax relief in the budget for seniors. I don't want to be someone who just talks about supporting citizens. I want to be able to actually do something to help them make ends meet. I will not make promises to constituents that I am not willing to fund.

    The recent state budget is more than just tax cuts; it provides real investments in our communities. I want to make sure that we are investing in our students academically and with mental health services. As a teacher, I saw that more resources were needed even before the pandemic. In order to get our students ready for their post-school lives, a lot more investment will be needed. We need more social workers, and we need more grants and initiatives for teens and children so we can identify problems earlier. But it cannot just be Holly Cheeseman and the Connecticut GOP’s symbolic support. Anyone can say they support our students, but in order to get results, we need real investment, not empty words and promises. This budget provided $66 million worth of support for mental health services and millions more for our schools. That is something that is a needed investment, and if we do not pay for it now, we are going to be paying more down the road.

    This is a good budget for our state, and I am excited to see what we can do in 2023. One of the things Connecticut should do is offer incentives for affordable starter home construction. Connecticut has some of the lowest vacancy rates in the country, and we cannot continue to allow people to be forced out of the state because they cannot afford to buy or rent a home. The state and local governments need to come together and work on this issue because the financial cost of failing to do so will be worse.

    Nick Menapace is the Democratic candidate for the 37th House District.

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