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Fairfield Reps Unhappy With Tax Hikes

FAIRFIELD, Conn.— Brenda Kupchick just finished her first session as a state representative. Kim Fawcett just finished her first as the only Democrat from her town in Hartford. But both represent Fairfield’s voters. So TheDailyFairfield asked Kupchick, R-Fairfield, and Fawcett, D-Fairfield and Westport, to share their thoughts on 2011’s legislative session.

Both expressed disappointment with the final 2011-12 budget , which passed despite “nays” from all the members of Fairfield’s delegation. Both said the plan relies too much on tax hikes rather than spending cuts to eliminate the state’s $1 billion deficit.

“There wasn’t enough time to really do the work to look at every single line item to ask ourselves really critical questions about what we can live without,” Fawcett said. “I wish we had put more time into that.”

But both representatives said they walked away proud of achievements in the 2011 session. Fawcett highlighted the bills she helped push through to help the state’s children. In particular, she was happy with the changes to the Department of Children and Families that allow more families to take on foster children.

Fawcett also said she wanted to highlight the changes to the law to protect autistic children by requiring special certification of professionals who work with kids on the autism spectrum. “Believe it or not, we didn’t have that in place before,” she said.

Kupchick said she was especially proud of the work she did to protect animals. She and Rep. Auden Goggins, D-Bridgeport, co-sponsored a bill that requires animal shelters to attempt to find medical care for seriously injured strays. The two were inspired by cases in which animals suffered with broken bones because the shelters could not afford veterinary care for them. “It was just horrendous,” she said. “It would break your heart.”

As they enter the next session, Fawcett said she plans to continue her work on refining the state’s laws regarding trucks on residential roads. Currently, some streets bear the marking “No Thru Trucks,” but large vehicles can still technically travel on them as long as they have business in the area. Fawcett said she’s received support from all over Fairfield County from people who want tighter restrictions on trucks in their neighborhoods.

Kupchick said she would like to focus on her work in the Education Committee when the House returns to session. In particular, she hopes to address the state’s achievement gap through closer teacher evaluations and other reforms.

Kupchick also said she would work to help small business owners, especially by cutting regulations and tax burdens, which she said could bring more jobs to the state. “We’re in a lot of trouble in this state with jobs. More so than anywhere else.”

What do you think about what has happened so far this year in Hartford? Do you have any questions for Fairfield’s representatives? Share your opinions and queries in the comments below.

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