ISSUES Let's cut spending! Reduce Taxes! And More!

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“Representing my neighbors in the state legislature has been the great honor of my life. I ran for office initially because of many of the same issues that still concern us, a desire to restart our ailing economy and job market, protecting our towns from bad public policy on the state level, defending our individual rights and freedoms, restoring respect for the rule of law, and encouraging our state leaders to use our great country’s founding principles of limited government, maximum individual freedom, and personal responsibility as a road-map for our recovery.  I have worked hard in the minority fighting for these values and I hope to continue that work in the State Senate, and with any luck, eventually as a member of the majority – setting the course to restore our beautiful state.”


I love my country and I have a consistent record of standing up for the principles that America was founded upon – keeping government small and preserving our right to live as we see fit.  I believe in law and order and protecting the civil liberties and constitutional rights of every citizen.  I believe in freedom and opportunity.  I respect and value our military and believe that we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our veterans for our freedoms. I am a firm believer in America’s Constitution and well known as Connecticut’s strongest defender of our 2nd Amendment Rights.

I still maintain the same concerns I had when I ran for office initially.  Primarily I am concerned about the direction our country and our state are headed. I want future generations to experience an America I would recognize – one where the institution of “family” still exists.  One where we are safe from any potential enemies, where the flag is revered, our soldiers are honored, and finally, an America where a person’s word means something and children are taught to aspire to achieve greatness.


My primary mission as a state lawmaker has been and will continue to be holding our elected officials accountable and helping our economy back on track.  I believe strongly that we need to create an environment that encourages business to choose Connecticut.  That means keeping the businesses we have, encouraging startups and having businesses choose to relocate to Connecticut because what we have to offer.  This will require smart policies that reduce punitive taxes, burdensome regulation, and needless red tape.  I am also opposed to Governor Lamont’s policy agenda of growing government and increasing taxation, as well as the imposition of highway tolls.  I am also opposed to corporate welfare and our state government playing favorites.

The truth is that our state is in trouble. With multi-million deficits, the highest unemployment in generations and jobs continuing to flee, this is the time to make spending cuts, shrink government and reduce spending.   I will fight for a more strict balanced budget amendment in Connecticut. There is no question it will be difficult but I am committed to the hard work of finding ways to reduce the cost of government.   

The focus needs to be on making Connecticut more competitive with other states.  This means reducing the size, scope, and COST of government that each of us feels in our state and local tax bills, licensing fees, energy costs, and regulatory requirements.  State government needs reform focused on improving and reducing each of those costs.  This will encourage and attract businesses and residents, grow our economy, and create even more opportunities. This is the American system of government we need to get back to.

My Republican colleagues and I have repeatedly offered solid budget alternatives based on sound “Common Sense” principles.


  • Reduce spending to what we can reasonably anticipate in revenue without assessing new taxes

  • Abide by the constitutional spending cap


  • Cap bonding levels which result in a debt service of no more than 10% of the annual budget

  • Borrowing should be restricted for public works projects, including school construction, roads and rails, serving the greater public good and creating jobs for Connecticut workers

  • Eliminate earmarks. Fund all projects by competitive grant to be awarded based upon measured return on investment i.e., job creation/economic development


  • Evaluate all state programs every two years

  • Eliminate the program if it does not achieve results


  • Focus on core government functions: Public safety, education, transportation, public health

  • Strive for excellence in each government function

  • Privatize non-core functions


  • Consolidate government services to eliminate duplication, excess and waste

The sole purpose of government should be to secure the life and liberty of its people, and to provide for public safety and consumer protection.  I will work to make sure that government does not exceed its limited and proper role.  Opportunity and success are the result of freedom, choice, and the hard work of individuals and entrepreneurs.  Government should merely help establish fertile ground for the people to prosper.

Recent reports show that Connecticut has the highest net tax-supported debt among the 50 states at  nearly $5,000 per capita, according to Moody’s.  Connecticut also has the honor of being the “most taxed state” according to the Tax Foundation.

Our state is still bleeding jobs.  Unless some of the punitive regulations and anti-business hurdles are rolled back, Connecticut will remain at a competitive disadvantage.  We should immediately do away with the business entity tax and reduce the recently increased license fees back to their previous levels.  We need to encourage business in Connecticut not stifle it.  I believe that making Connecticut a more business friendly state will result in decreased unemployment and increased tax revenue.

I believe each state agency and department needs to justify its existence to the taxpayers.  Every expenditure needs to be reviewed and justified.  In cases where multiple agencies and departments overlap, cuts need to be made.  Going forward, salaries for state employees should be in line with salaries in the private sector.  This includes  benefit & retirement packages as well.  Privatization in some areas is a viable solution.  Local landscaping companies can be contracted to work on state parks vs. state employees at a huge savings to taxpayers.   Connecticut also has one of the most bloated higher education bureaucracies.  There is certainly room to make changes.

I firmly believe that our cities and towns cannot afford ANY reductions in state aid.  Any cuts, however small, will only translate into increased property taxes that will hit seniors and working families the hardest.

We should require a super-majority vote to enact any unfunded mandates on municipalities.  These unfunded mandates are what to lead to ever-increasing property taxes and they need to disappear.

The inability of the Governor and legislative Democrats to reign-in spending, cry out for new leadership to make cuts in state spending and bring our budget back into balance.  Spending no more than you take in is just common sense.

I am proud to have stood strongly in opposition to the bad policy choices that have hurt our state and its residents.  I believe there is a better way forward.  Here is my speech about the most recent state budget:

06-04-19 Sen. Sampson Attacks Waste and Hypocrisy in State Budget  This budget raised nearly $1B in taxes including new taxes on everything from plastic bags to groceries to child safety items.  No effort was made to restrain government spending or to realign our priorities.

And the previous one:

10-26-17 My speech on the floor of the House opposing the lousy state budget that was ultimately voted into law.  I was one of the small number of state legislators who did the right thing and voted NO on the state budget passed in October 2017.  I voted no because 1) This budget increased spending and taxes – and cut aid to the towns I represent.  I would never support such a plan.  2)  It spends millions of dollars on bailing out Hartford and renovating the XL Center at the same time it cut aid to seniors, and 3) It makes no attempt to address our long term financial problems as a state. Amazingly, even on the day this was voted into law, everyone knew it would add to our deficit.


Connecticut has some of the highest property taxes in the country. This must change to make our state more affordable and attractive to residents and businesses. Step one is preventing the shift of state financial obligations to towns. Step two is the elimination of state mandates on towns that raise costs. Step three is local policy reform recognizing that we are competing not just with other towns but other states as well.


While, it is true that our roads and bridges continue to decline as a result of mismanagement of government resources, the answer is not creating new revenue streams like tolls however.  Instead, we need to prioritize better and actually use money dedicated for transportation infrastructure for that purpose.  Most importantly, we need a growing economy that creates the wealth to pay for fixing our transportation infrastructure, and paying off debt.  See my remarks under Jobs and the Economy on how we get there.


I am proud to once again have received an A+ grade and an endorsement from the National Rifle Association. 

As a pistol permit holder and an experienced competitor in the shooting sports, I know just how responsible and safety-conscious law-abiding gun owners truly are. 

As an experienced legislator and a student of our state and US constitutions, I fully understand how legislation regarding guns affects individual citizens and communities, and, of course, I know about firearms and their function.

Most importantly, I am a proud American who recognizes that the sovereignty of each individual is paramount, including the individual right to self-protection. You can count on me to strongly oppose ANY restrictions to our 2nd Amendment rights.

During my very first session in the CT General Assembly back in 2011, I introduced legislation to make it easier to renew pistol permits (which became law), and strengthen our state’s castle doctrine.  Since then, I have offered dozens of bills to protect our rights.  I also worked every year to allow Sunday hunting in our state eventually passing a law for Sunday hunting with a bow and arrow.

Since then, I have been the strongest defender of the 2nd amendment in the entire state legislature.  I led the fight during the 2013 session of the CT General Assembly in opposition to Senate Bill 1160 / Public Act 13-3.

Gun control advocates seem consumed with making life more and more difficult for lawful gun owners, hunters, target shooters, and people who simply want to have a gun to defend themselves and their property.  Simultaneously, they continue to pass new laws that benefit criminals and make us less safe.

One of my greatest frustrations is the way they conflate legal gun owners with “gun violence” while ignoring the source of actual violence involving guns.

Over the years, I have offered countless bills and amendments to increase the penalties for the trafficking of illegal firearms and their use in the commission of crimes.  Most of which were shot down by the same people who call themselves advocates for gun safety.

During the 2018 session of the CT General Assembly, I made the strongest push in the history of the Connecticut legislature to actually do something about violence as a result of illegal guns. 

On 04-03-18 while vigorously defending the second amendment and the rights of law-abiding gun owners, I offered an amendment in the judiciary committee challenging the Democrats to reverse the bailout of Hartford and use the money to fight gun trafficking, and fund school resource officers and mental health beds.

On 05-01-18, I attempted to offer a similar amendment on the house floor that would have reversed the unpopular bailout out of the city of Hartford and used the money to fund the statewide firearms trafficking task force for the first time since 2015, and create a grant program to help local municipalities hire school resource officers for their public schools.

Sadly, the Democrats voted down my attempt to pass my amendment by using a procedural gimmick, saying that my amendment regarding firearms laws was not relevant to the underlying bill on firearms laws.  Every citizen of our state should know that they blocked this attempt.

In May of 2019, I offered the same amendment again in the Senate with the same unfortunate result. 

That makes three separate occasions where I offered Democrats the opportunity to do something constructive to reverse the trend of gun, as well as gang and drug, related homicides in our major cities.  All three times they choose virtue signaling instead of sound, thoughtful public policy.  This is why I continue to run for office and fight for common sense.

In light of the current coronavirus pandemic and the Governor’s assumption of “emergency powers,” I support legislation that would prohibit the state or any government agency, during a declared state of emergency, from prohibiting or restricting the otherwise lawful possession, use, carrying, transfer, transportation, storage, or display of a firearm or ammunition; seizure or confiscation of a lawfully possessed firearm; or requiring registration of a firearm or ammunition for which registration is not otherwise required by law.

Currently I am working on a bill that would require each municipality in Connecticut to follow the same identical uniform criteria when issuing a temporary pistol permit which is required as part of the process of obtaining your state permit.

In short, I will continue to strenuously oppose any attempt to restrict the constitutional rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners.


Over the last eight years, I am the only legislator to take a significant stand against illegal immigration in our state.  I led the fight against the creation of drive-only driver’s licenses for illegal aliens and have repeatedly attempted to thwart and then reverse terrible policies that make Connecticut a “super sanctuary” state where even known felons, drug traffickers, and gang members are afforded protections from federal authorities.  This may be the worst of all of Connecticut’s state laws.

America is a nation of immigrants and I support positive changes to our lawful immigration system.  However, ignoring the supremacy of federal law and inviting the worst elements among the illegal population to prey on citizens (and other undocumented individuals) is simply wrong.  I will continue to work to undo this bad policy.

The Democrats seem to prefer a system that encourages people in search of a better life to circumvent the lawful process and to come to Connecticut for a driver’s license, tuition benefits, and access to social services.  I see this as immoral and a disservice to American citizens, lawful immigrants, and mostly to the undocumented individuals themselves.  I prefer securing our borders, maintaining the rule of law, and expanding lawful immigration so more immigrants have access to the American Dream.

05-04-19 My speech on the Senate floor blasting new “Super Sanctuary” state policy.

04-18-18 My speech on the House floor regarding sanctuary city policies.


Our great country was founded on certain core principles.  Individual Liberty is paramount. A close second is Property Rights.  I will fight to strengthen protections against government abuse of eminent domain authority.


As a resident and a ratepayer, I share the common frustration of ever-increasing electric bills.  Much of the cost we pay is based on what I consider to be misguided policy that has been adopted by the state legislature. Contributing factors are a radical, rather than a sensible and gradual, shift to green energy.  Also, a substantial amount of the cost is the result of subsidies to those who cannot afford to pay, and the cost of maintaining the infrastructure to “deliver” electricity to our homes.

Our electric rates are among the highest in the country and it does not have to be that way. I have advocated for a more responsible “all of the above” approach to where we get our energy and more competition among suppliers.

Frustrations are especially heightened this summer as a result of Hurricane Isaiah and massive power outages that occurred on the coattails of customers receiving July bills that included a sharp increase in the electric rate. There have been a lot of different theories about what caused the electric rate hikes, and I want to give you some background on the subject.

The “delivery charge” is so high because it reflects the cost of all of the infrastructure that is required to be installed, updated and maintained to get the electricity after it’s produced to your residence or business.

Connecticut’s rates also include provisions for purchasing required supplies of renewable energy, energy efficiency and weatherization programs, covering the cost of low income customer no shut off provisions in the law as well as subsidies for the Green “Bank” programs and DEEP’s off shore wind and solar farm procurement programs to name a few.

As I alluded to above, the main reason we are suffering is that Connecticut has, for better or worse, decided to have possibly the most aggressive clean energy schedule of any state in the country which means that we are all paying higher premiums because of restrictions and the electric producers method for producing energy. Think “green new deal” kind of stuff.

Of course, we need to protect our environment and we need to be forward thinking about clean and renewable energy sources. However, we need to do it on a schedule that is manageable and affordable for Connecticut residents, particularly seniors on fixed incomes. This has always been a priority of mine.

Unfortunately, the current governor and his predecessor along with the majority Democrats in Hartford are committed to the extreme left leaning environmental lobby who doesn’t care at all about the bottom line and has set us on a course that is really unachievable.

Over the years, I have voted against all the key bills which have caused the massive increases that we are experiencing now. I have not only campaigned against these increases, but I’ve kept my promises to work hard to prevent and reverse them.

I am hopeful the public outrage will help cause a change of course and I’ve reached out to some colleagues and experts in this area and we will be putting together a package of legislation to put us on a better path.


I will continue work to reduce Connecticut’s gasoline tax (4th highest in the nation) and cap the “hidden” gas tax known as the gross receipts tax.


Senator Joe Markley and I led the fight against the New Britain – Hartford Busway (now called CTFastrak) from its inception.  Sadly, the busway has now been completed and is proving to be the waste of taxpayer money we said it would be.  Today, we fight to reduce the dollars it costs to continue to subsidize it’s operations and are open to alternative uses.


Along with Senator Markley, I have led the opposition to the Governor’s Executive Orders #9 & #10 which aside from reaching beyond his executive authority and going completely around the legislature also amount to forced unionization of daycare workers and personal care attendants without their consent.  In 2014, we were vindicated as the Supreme Court of the United States declared that parts of this overreaching government policy were unconstitutional.


Education is a main building block to the foundation of our great nation.  Every child deserves the opportunity for a great public education.  I firmly believe in local control and am opposed to interference from our state or federal governments in the way our community handles education.  We have fine school systems in the 16th Senate District and while there are good intended policies being promoted on a state and federal level, I believe our local Boards of Education are better left to make those decisions.

Teachers are the backbone of education and over the years, more and more dollars dedicated to education end up in bureacracy and not in the classroom where they belong.  I will continue to fight to give teacher’s maximum authority in the classroom to do what they do best – teach, and the resources that we all spend in our taxes should go to teaching first, and bureacrats, second – or not at all.

Ultimately, the path to a better quality education for all residents of our state relies on freedom of choice.  I believe parents should be able to choose where their kids will attend school.  Over the years, I have been the most outspoken advocate for “money follows the child” policies that give parents the option of public, private, magnet, or charter schools.  This will generate competition among different schools of all types, resulting in higher quality and more options for parents.


My record of service is clear.  I have never voted to increase spending or raise your taxes – and I never will.

I have a proven record of defending the towns I represent against actions taken by the legislature and the Governor’s office against them.  I led the opposition to the state budget that passed in October of 2017 that resulted in millions of dollars in reductions to the towns of Wolcott and Southington, as well as cuts to seniors in the Medicare Savings Program.

I led the fight the following session to have this funding restored, both for education and for MSP and was happy to participate in passage of a budget adjustment bill that did just that on the last day of session in 2018.

The towns I have represented have been the recipients of millions of dollars in state grants for STEAP (small town economic assistance projects) and other projects since I have been in office.  I am actually not a fan of this process but I have done my best to make sure the towns I represent get (at least) their fair share of this funding.


As a former member of the legislatures Environment committee, I have worked hard for a common sense approach to protecting our environment.  I am proud to have worked on legislation to ensure the proper disposal of pharmaceuticals to keep our water supply safe and clean, not to mention remove them from homes as a potential danger to children.  I have also worked on legislation to properly staff our state parks, help identify chemicals of concern to children, set aside open space, and was very involved in the effort to reduce the liability of municipalities with regard to open space.  This translates into less nuisance lawsuits and better use and care of our natural surroundings.


For most of my time in the House, I served on both the Judiciary and Insurance Committees, developing many public safety ideas and concepts that became bills and then law.  These areas included a wide variety of issues from DNA Analysis to credit card fraud.  I do not have enough space to list everything here, so I will concentrate on two examples of how vulnerable communities have been protected by laws I have helped create and pass.

Human trafficking is a vile crime and the protection of its victims, both actual and potential, is a priority issue for mine in the legislature. I am proud of several pieces of legislation that have helped to achieve this goal:





These four bills are comprehensive in scope.  The crime definition has been extended considerably, now including the crime of enticing a minor to include anyone under the age of 18.  Victim’s rights have been augmented by allowing anyone convicted of prostitution to void the conviction if it was committed by someone being trafficked.  Penalties for preying on the victims have been stiffened, such as the forfeiture of all property used in such crimes.  Better tracking has been developed, including the reporting of all incidents and referrals by police chiefs throughout the state.  New training programs have been developed where appropriate, hotel clerks and DCF employees for example, to help spot certain behaviors.  The Trafficking in Persons Council has been amped up considerably to assess data and make it a real force in recommending future steps that need to be taken.

Children’s safety has been a focus for me. Particularly when it comes to protecting their lives at schools and at home.  One of the very first pieces of legislation I ever sponsored was to tighten up existing law on reporting abuse including having DCF report any substantiated report of an abuse of a child by a school employee:


I was delighted to help close some more loopholes a few years later with a more widespread act protecting all school children.  The DCF mission for child abuse was extended by the law to any reported sexual assault cases at schools.


Another law requires all parents or other custodians to report a missing child under 12 years old within 24 hours.  Research indicates that the best time to locate a child is within 48 hours of the disappearance. 


Once we are back in legislative session, my top public safety priority will be to lead the effort to undo the tremendous damage done to police departments as a result of the overly political and dangerous “Police Accountability” Act, PA 20-1.

I have always been crystal clear about my concern for the rule of law.  If I thought our local police were acting inappropriately or infringing on the civil rights of my constituents, I would be the first person to call it to attention and demand response.   

Unfortunately, there are some who have chosen to poison the important public policy we make in the state legislature with partisan politics. In the early hours of Wednesday, July 29, 2020 HB 6004, the so-called “police accountability” bill, passed on more or less party lines with every single Republican voting no and all the Democrats with the exception of Senator Joan Hartley of Waterbury voting in favor.

I am so disappointed. I feel like we are in a major battle between those who want to preserve our country, our system of laws and justice, and our history, and those that want to tear it down. This terrible policy will have dangerous ramifications going forward. I am greatly concerned about the damage to police officers and departments, and the public safety of my neighbors.

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This legislation will also result in hefty new expenses on municipalities, including those in the 16th District, not to mention discouraging qualified officers from serving in our state.  The slogan “Defund the Police” does not necessarily mean cutting police budgets.  There are other ways to achieve this goal, as the Democrat majority has made clear with this legislation. 

The good news is that the public has been paying close attention and I believe that will result in a correction.  I am hopeful this will lead to an effort to undo or at least help ameliorate the damage already done.  You can count on me to make this a priority.


A key area of focus for me in the Legislature has been healthcare and healthcare insurance, particularly how we are providing care for those often overlooked.  Over the years, I have worked on hundreds of bills on this topic but here are a few that are representative of my work in the area of healthcare itself.  I will share another post on the subject of healthcare insurance reform and my efforts to create maximum access and affordability for consumers in the coming days.

Many bills began in the Insurance Committee, where I served as the Ranking Republican for seven years.  One such example I co-sponsored is PA 11-63.  This law often described as “parity for mental health” makes it illegal for insurance companies to treat those with mental disorders differently than anyone else.  They can no longer be refused coverage or charged different insurance rates for the same services.  A similar Act (PA 13-84) extends these protections to those with autism.

In general, individuals with mental disabilities or disorders have needed their rights to be defended as strongly as all other communities.  Key Acts that I co-sponsored in this area include PA 14-194, which came out of some of my work on the Judiciary Committee.  This Act mandates training for all personnel dealing with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, from EMTs to probate court judges.  Other Acts include SA 13-11 which set up a task force to study and improve care provided for both Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  SA 14-6 developed a study to provide private monies for home and community-based care for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients, while also reviewing how effective existing State programs are.

In a previous post on seniors, I mentioned that the provision of capabilities to ensure seniors can remain in their residence, or “age in place” is a critical concern for me.  Healthcare is very important here, and I have been pleased to co-sponsor Acts, such as PA 12-91, which pioneered a program for folks needing life support capabilities to provide them at home.

I have also been a supporter of focusing on the Healthcare needs of our young children, indeed issues of Early Childhood in general.  I co-sponsored an Act (PA 13-242) to provide for testing of newborn infants with ALD.  ALD is a condition that causes severe neurological problems.  The earlier it is diagnosed the earlier treatments for this terrible illness can be effective, such as bone marrow transplants.  Another Act I was proud to co-sponsor was PA 14-39 which created the Office Of Early Childhood, a department that for the first time put under one roof all aspects of childhood as opposed to placing them across numerous other State departments.  I worked hard to make this both a healthcare initiative but also a good-government bill that eliminated duplication and streamlined many processes, making the best use of resources.

The Act was very comprehensive in scope.  It addressed funding concerns, changes to boost early childhood education, and the addition of dyslexia as a specific learning disability.

The work in this area represents some of the most fulfilling of my time in the Legislature.  Much of the legislation has its genesis in solid committee work and the bills I co-sponsored are often free of partisan politics.  The results have been a much-needed focus on the Healthcare needs of many of the more vulnerable communities in our State.


My record includes both my efforts as a four-term House Representative for the 80th district and as our current 16th district State Senator including Southington, Wolcott, Cheshire, Prospect, and the east end of Waterbury.

During my time in office, I have voted on as many as 3,000 to 4,000 bills and amendments – and I have personally introduced or co-sponsored more than 600 bills, of which over 130 have become law.

Much of my work in the legislature for seniors has been embodied in bills I have either introduced or co-sponsored that are of wider concern, such as public safety, disability, mental health, and keeping costs of food and energy low. But there are particular issues of concern just for seniors.

In the area of public safety, for example I have co-sponsored bi-partisan legislation to upgrade the protection of seniors facing elderly abuse or neglect (Public Act 16-149 in 2016) and made background checks for those serving long term care far more robust (Public Act 19-116 in 2019).

Just like my dear friend and predecessor, former Senator Joe Markley, I passionately believe in helping to ensure seniors can remain in their residence if they so desire, (“aging in place”). A couple of examples include co-sponsoring bi-partisan legislation to expand Medicaid funded healthcare choices to home environments (Public Act 12-91 – became law in 2012), and the expansion of private home nursing capabilities (Public Act 14-95 – became law in 2014).

I have also co-sponsored bills several bills aimed at improving services for folks suffering from Alzheimer’s. SB 143 which would have increased eligibility for the Alzheimer respite care and Special Act 14-6 to make sure adequate funding and resources are available to provide home and community-based care to elderly persons and those with Alzheimer’s disease.

Task forces have been set up – Public Act 13-11 and training provided for all personnel dealing with Alzheimer’s from EMT’s to probate judges – Public Act 14-194.

One area I continue to work on every legislative is to protect those living on fixed incomes from the heavy demands of state income taxes. My position is that no taxes should be levied on any sources of fixed income for seniors including pensions, teacher’s retirement income and social security. Some minor progress has been made in the form of phasing out some taxes, but my goal is the complete elimination of taxes on retirement.

I often say the key to Connecticut’s comeback will be making our state a more attractive place to live, work, start or run a business, and retire. This will be a major step forward if we can make it happen.

I will continue this fight after my re-election. My hope is that the current bill I introduced this year, which has been in limbo since the legislative shutdown, will be taken up once the Legislature opens again.