To the Editor:
Every other year in Hartford, lawmakers get to choose just how they plan to spend tens of billions of your tax dollars. Of course, this generates front-page headlines and lead news stories during the final month of session. How closely have you been paying attention?
You should be. This year, there are four distinct plans on how around $50 billion of your money should be spent over the next two years. Legislative Democrats, Governor Lamont, and House Republicans have their own ideas on this matter. No surprise, the Democrats spend the most!
The Senate Republicans approach dubbed the “$1.5 Billion Back Budget” returns more dollars to taxpayers than anyone else has proposed. That is a good start. Families across our district have seen the government reap the benefits of inflation for far too long, while our standard of living has diminished. This budget is a good first step to make taxpayers whole.
Of course, I would prefer to see more. And by more, I mean less—less wasteful spending and less taxation for a budget that forces the state government to reduce its footprint. Our government has grown too large and has become increasingly invasive over the past 10 years. Until conservative Republicans can reach a majority to fully implement our values, I will continue to fight against the Majority’s thirst for bigger, more controlling government.
It’s not just about fiscal mismanagement either. Not only are bad decisions being made about our finances, but they are also undermining public safety and the rule of law. On any given session day, the Majority Party validates my criticism without fail. On one day alone, they advanced multiple measures that erode public safety.
One of these measures proposes to extend additional parole opportunities for violent offenders under the age of 25; one limits our ability to know of serious and repeat sex offenders in our neighborhoods; and another adds to the danger on the state’s roads by restricting traffic stops even further.
Reasonable people keeping score view these moves as inexplicable. Anyone with eyes can see crime is out of control in our state. Car thefts, juvenile crimes, and even traffic accidents are at historic highs! These circumstances are no accident and provide the answer. The more unsettling the world becomes, the more fear and uncertainty that is created—and the more residents will come to rely on government as the remedy. Public safety is just one example. The Majority tackles nearly every other issue in the same way: health, the economy, or the environment, to name a few.
Somewhat ironically, we were all treated to a reminder last week of the Majority’s ultimate ambition for big government, and how it was a colossal failure.
In early May, Governor Lamont and a cadre of unelected government bureaucrats claimed victory and announced the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in Connecticut. The self-congratulatory event was ripe with television cameras and likely had very little to do with Connecticut taxpayers, businesses, children, and seniors whose lives were destroyed by the government’s heavy-handed response to the COVID virus.
They blithely took turns praising one another and the soundness of the state’s actions, re-writing history in the process.
In one notably tone-deaf riff, the Governor recounted the plight of hair salon owners and customers while describing his decision-making process to shut them down through government force.
From the advent of the virus in March of 2020 through the pandemic’s “end” in 2023, every decision borne from big government has proven to be a total failure.
Despite mandating vaccines as a condition of employment, or otherwise coercing the citizenry to take experimental shots through gift cards, free meals, or drinks, we now know that the vaccines were largely ineffective. The same holds true for masks, where medical professionals—who were silenced at the time—have gone on record to say that they did not prevent transmission.
In fact, the people who needed protection the most—the elderly and those with underlying conditions—were the ones most neglected. The Center for Disease Control’s own data shows that 75 percent of COVID deaths were those with at least four comorbidities.
Some of us were shouting from the rooftops to focus our attention on the at-risk elderly population instead of one-size fits all mandates and misguided policies impacting children and schools.
Instead, the Governor’s strategy included placing COVID-positive patients into nursing homes. This was a conscious decision that led to disastrous consequences for thousands of families in Connecticut. As recent as January 2022, the state’s Department of Public Health issued guidance stipulating that post-acute care facilities (which includes nursing homes) should admit patients released from a hospital “regardless of COVID-19 status.” Both local and national news outlets reported this fact.
Governor Lamont refused to consider questions that reasonable people asked throughout the pandemic—questions that may have led us to these realizations much sooner. Realizations that would have perhaps prevented needless business and school closures, and thousands of lives destroyed. The Majority Democrats also refused to listen. For them, the pandemic was a vehicle by which to implement rule through ultimate government authority.
No person who loves America would ever want a return to this pandemic-era form of executive rule. We must never forget and call-out those responsible when they try to change history. As the 2023 legislative session comes to an end, I will continue to defend freedom and our American system of a government fiercely and fearlessly.
State Sen. Rob Sampson
Sampson, a Republican, lives in Wolcott and represents Wolcott, Prospect, Southington, and Waterbury in the State Senate.