I noted in your Jan. 15 interview on GOOD Morning Wilton‘s “Wake Up Call” podcast that you “want to hear directly from constituents…not just people who agree with me…the entire point is to hear from those with the opposite opinion and learn from each other.” I appreciate you having a forum this past Saturday in Wilton with two other legislators but unfortunately I can’t make it. With that in mind, I am writing to voice my opposition to tolls because simply put, I don’t trust you and your co-workers in Hartford with a penny of mine or anyone else’s money.
Why don’t I trust you and your co-workers? Because the toll money will be stolen and moved to cover expenses other than transportation in the same absurd manner that is being done out of the massive Tobacco and Health Trust Fund.
As you are aware, Connecticut has received $1.9 billion from the tobacco settlement and the Fund was created in 2002 to distribute funding to a variety of programs designed to reduce the prevalence and impact of tobacco use. Consider this small sample of woefully unacceptable statistics about the money and disastrous outcomes:
- Stolen Money: The Fund has been raided 67 times by the State legislature
- 98.5% of Dollars Diverted: Of the $1.9 BILLION, only $28.5 million has been spent on programs–an unacceptable 1.5% of proceeds (I’ll come back to this pathetic percent)
- Another Skipped Deposit in 2019: Connecticut has contributed $0 to tobacco prevention efforts for the fifth year in a row
- Failing Grades: This year’s “State of Tobacco Control” report from the American Lung Association gave Connecticut these pathetic grades:
- Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs–Grade F
- Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco–Grade D
- Awful Outcomes: despite billions available, CT continues to fail
- 1,100 CT youth become smokers each year
- 4,000 CT residents die annually from their own smoking (that’s three people during your Legislative Breakfast)
Although you are the newest Democrat, your party has controlled the House and Senate in Connecticut for all 23 years of your life. So to articulate this clear violation of trust to a personal and analogous level, recall that tuition, fees, room & board was $70,380 for your senior year at Georgetown University. Using the scam I outline above, imagine your mom and dad (or the bank) handing you a check for $70,380 and you only give $1,000 (1.5%) to Georgetown and the other $69,000 (98.5%) vanishes. Would they trust you? Then you bring home a D and an F. How would your parents feel? Would you have ever made it beyond even your freshman year running this scheme? Could this scheme have lasted even four years of college let alone 18 as it has with tobacco money? I bet your parents would no longer trust you (and you see in this case, your co-workers) with their dollars. Why should voters, taxpayers and toll payers?
Thank you and feel free to visit me at 69 Range Rd..