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Capitol Connection: State Spending Cap Needs Real Teeth

State Sen. Kevin Witkos.

State Sen. Kevin Witkos.

From the Office of State Senator Kevin Witkos

Connecticut is facing a financial crisis. With tax increase after tax increase followed by deficit after deficit we’re stuck in a cycle of bad policy and out of control budgeting.

To put our state back on right track we need to take major steps to budget better, spend smarter and find efficiencies.

One of the first steps we can take to change the direction of our state is to put in place an enforceable state spending cap. The state needs to live within its means. Just like any household budget, we need to manage our money while knowing our limits.

You may be thinking: doesn’t Connecticut already have a spending cap? … Continue Reading

Canton Real Estate Notes: January 2016

January 12, 2016 Opinion, Real Estate No Comments
David Sinish

David Sinish

By David Sinish 

Happy New Year! May 2016 be safe and healthy for you and those who are close to you.

How did the Canton market fare in 2015, as compared with 2014?
The overall number of sales of single family residences reduced 1.6% to 126. The median sales price reduced by 7.6 percent, while the median price per square foot increased minimally to $141.52. The ratio of sales price to listing price became tighter with a median reduction of 2.8%. Interestingly, it took 26% less time to sell the median priced home. An attractive home at an attractive price sells quickly.

It is important to remember that these are the “median” numbers with half of sales above this number and half below. There are different results for different homes reflecting different price ranges, various sizes, features and locations. … Continue Reading

Canton Real Estate Notes: April 2015

David Sinish

David Sinish

On a nationwide basis, the experts are saying that the inventory is low. Daren Blomquist, Realty Track Vice President says “It’s kind of a seesaw right now between supply and demand. One of the reasons for fewer sales is not so much a lack of demand but a lack of supply, especially in the price range the majority of buyers were looking for’. Does this reflect our local market?

What is For Sale in Canton, as of April 1st, and how does that compare with last month, last year? How many, in which price range? … Continue Reading

CTfastrak: Transit Advocates Celebrate Launch

March 27, 2015 Government, Opinion No Comments
Gov. Dannel Malloy cuts the ribbon for CTfastrack.  Submitted photo

Gov. Dannel Malloy cuts the ribbon for CTfastrack.
Submitted photo

Submitted — State and regional transportation, environmental, and economic development organizations joined state leaders Friday in celebrating the official launch of CTfastrak, Connecticut’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) system.

Members of the Transit for Connecticut coalition and other transit advocates attended a ribbon-cutting at the new CTfastrak station in New Britain. Some rode one of the new hybrid diesel-electric CTfastrak buses in a ceremonial first trip along the 9.4-mile route from Hartford to New Britain, which includes 11 stops as well as new bridges, streetscaping, and a multi-use trail. The dedicated route bypasses the most congested areas of I-84 west of Hartford, allowing both CTfastrak buses and regional CTTransit bus service to make the trip more quickly. Local feeder shuttles will make side trips around downtown Hartford and to major destinations like malls, hospitals, and universities.

Mary Tomolonius, Executive Director, CT. Association for Community Transportation; Don Shubert, Executive Director, Connecticut Construction Industries Association; Lyle Wray, Executive Director, Capital Region Council of Governments, holding the opening ceremony Ribbon. Submitted photo

Mary Tomolonius, Executive Director, CT. Association for Community Transportation; Don Shubert, Executive Director, Connecticut Construction Industries Association; Lyle Wray, Executive Director, Capital Region Council of Governments, holding the opening ceremony Ribbon.
Submitted photo

Advocates praised the project’s benefits for commuters, air quality, and economic development.

“The opening of CTfastrak is a great opportunity for the region and the state,” said Karen Burnaska, coordinator of the Transit for Connecticut coalition. “CTfastrak is part of a multi-modal solution to reduce vehicle miles travelled, increase liveability of our communities, and provide workforce access. It will not only get people from New Britain to Hartford, it will provide regional links to West Hartford, Farmington, Bristol, and Waterbury.”

Lori Brown, executive director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, praised the commitment to the project, saying, “After a decade-long effort at the state, local, and federal levels, the completion of this project is a real testament to the impact of public participation in our state’s policy-making, and to the Governor’s ability to get the job done.”

… Continue Reading

Canton Real Estate Notes: March 2015

March 13, 2015 Opinion, Real Estate No Comments
David Sinish

David Sinish

Most of the Real Estate news that we hear and read is on a national basis, yet these notes are generally focus on our local market.  CoreLogic reports that on a national basis, prices are 12.7 percent below those in April 2006, at the peak. CT prices are reported to be 24.6 percent below those at the peak. Many feel that the lack of inventory is affecting market growth.   The number of listings in Canton is 14% lower than last year. However, the interest that we have seen is increasing, especially with the good weather.

… Continue Reading

Capitol Connection: Why We Deserve a ‘Right to Try’

State Sen. Kevin Witkos

State Sen. Kevin Witkos

From the Office of State Senator Kevin Witkos

When facing a life threatening disease, I don’t believe anyone or anything should stand in the way of treatment, even if that treatment is not the most obvious, popular or relied upon solution.

That’s why I’m cosponsoring a bill that would give people the “right to try” experimental drugs in the state of Connecticut.

Five states have “right to try” laws (Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan and Missouri), and 24 states are debating similar legislation, including CT.

The proposed bill before the state legislature, H.B. No. 6709 An Act Concerning the Right to Try Experimental Drugs, would allow patients to receive treatment with an investigational drug, biological product or device once specific conditions are met. Investigational drugs and products are treatments that have completed phase 1 of a clinical trial, but have not yet completed the FDA approval. … Continue Reading

Finding Courage through Change

Amla Mehta

Amla Mehta

By Amla Mehta

My name is Amla Mehta and I graduated from Canton High School in 1992.  On Valentines’ Day, 1990,  I was diagnosed with a rare eye disorder, called Gyrate Atrophy.  Gyrate Atrophy causes blindness between the ages of 45 and 55. 

I am writing about the struggles that I have encountered throughout my personal journey. In a series of articles for Canton Compass, I will write about the facing the diagnosis, other challenges and how I have learned to unconditionally accept myself despite the struggles. 

It was 1999; I was 25 years old working at the Hartford Life Insurance Company.  At the time, I was making my way up the ladder within the Human Resources Department.  I had an entry level position, and my goal was to become a recruiter.  I knew I would be a great asset for the team because I love helping people.  Nothing beats the feeling of seeing the priceless expression on a person’s face when they have been offered their dream job. … Continue Reading

Capitol Connection: Why Probate Court Cuts are Bad News for CT

State Sen. Kevin Witkos.

State Sen. Kevin Witkos.

From the Office of State Senator Kevin Witkos

When any governor releases a biennial budget proposal it sometimes takes a fine tooth comb to fully uncover and understand all the changes being proposed.

Deep within the budget this year, buried in an appendix section, one significant hidden cut emerged. This $32 million cut was no trivial reduction in funding. Rather, it was the outright elimination of state funds for Connecticut’s Probate Court system, a cut that would seriously cripple vital social services if passed into law.

The Probate Court system in Connecticut is responsible for overseeing a wide range of issues. Traditionally, the system handles issues of probate, administration of estates, wills and distribution of assets. In recent years, the system has also handled cases involving children or adults who need to be cared for by others. This includes issues related to mental health, absent parents, adoptions, substance abuse, and intellectual disabilities. … Continue Reading

Capitol Connection: A Budget Built on Broken Promises

State Sen. Kevin Witkos.

State Sen. Kevin Witkos.

From the Office of State Senator Kevin Witkos

Budgets should never be balanced on broken promises. Sadly, that is exactly what the governor has done.

Last week Governor Malloy unveiled his two year budget proposal totaling almost $40 billion.  This budget burdens taxpayers with over $915 million worth of new tax increases, and eliminates essential tax exemptions Connecticut families and businesses were counting on.

Most offensive is the plan to eliminate a scheduled tax exemption on clothing under $50. This exemption would make essentials like children’s clothing more affordable for Connecticut families, especially those most in need. While the governor eliminated this tax exemption years ago, he proudly campaigned on the fact that he would restore the tax break this year. But now this promise is out the window. In addition, the governor also wants to lower the threshold for the sales tax free week from $300 to $100, meaning much less will be eligible for that special back-to-school savings many families rely on. … Continue Reading

Letter: A Thank You to Public Works

February 13, 2015 Opinion No Comments

To the Editor:

I would like to compliment the Public Works Department for doing a great job on Canton’s town roads during this “old fashioned” winter. They are working long hours without a warm place to take a break at their base of operations. We need a new Public Works Garage to show our appreciation for their devotion to the public’s needs.

Thank you,

Phillip Pane
5 Olson Road

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