Gov. Jodi Rell’s proposed budget drew some praise from Bristol’s legislative delegation Wednesday.
State Rep. Frank Nicastro, a Bristol Democrat, said he found "some real super positive things" in Rell's speech.
Nicastro said his top priority is education, so he was happy to see that there weren't cuts in state spending in that realm.
"Those children are our future leaders," said Nicastro, whose 79th District covers the southern third of Bristol.
Rell “truly understands that if our state is to succeed, we have to have well-educated children,” said State Rep. Betty Boukus, a Plainville Democrat whose 22nd District includes a sliver of Forestville.
State Rep. Bill Hamzy, a Plymouth Republican whose 78th District includes northwestern Bristol, said Rell "set the right tone" in her address.
"I don't think anything she proposed was a surprise," said Hamzy. "I think she's taking the right approach."
Boukus said she’s pleased that Rell is taking aim at unfunded mandates that push up costs to municipalities, including the in-school suspension requirement.
Nicastro also said he liked the governor's idea for a Connecticut Conservation Corps.
"It gets people to work," said Nicastro, who said his father worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Depression.
The governor's push for regionalization is good, said Nicastro, if it can save towns money, but he said there are a lot of details he still has to learn.
Rep. Chris Wright, a Bristol Democrat from the 77th District, said the governor's figures are too optimistic.
"She's using numbers that are not real numbers," said Wright. "They are out of date."
Rell was "somewhat less than honest," said Wright, in saying that taxes wouldn't be raised when so many state fees are being increased.
Wright said he's pleased that school funding isn't being cut, but said he's concerned that too much of the cost is being shifted to local property owners.
"I think the property taxes are high enough," said Wright.
But Wright also said there were some points Rell made that he liked, such as eliminating some state agencies and consolidating others.
"Government should be streamlined some," said Wright, who said he also liked the expansion of the bottle bill.
Boukus said she would like to see Rell make a big push on transportation.
As the session goes on, she said, it’s going to be tough.
“It’s going to be like no other budget that I’ve ever experienced,” said Boukus, a longtime lawmaker.
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