“The governor and his administration are turning a scheduled review of the state’s planning regions into a forced consolidation that will reduce the number of regions from 13 to eight. There is now widespread concern that this move is the first step in setting up regional governments that will have taxing authority and provide services like police, fire, and education that have always been managed by towns. I do not believe that removing local autonomy is good for our towns or for Connecticut. Of greatest concern is that another layer of taxes on an already overtaxed population will drive more people away and make our state even more uncompetitive.
“Voluntary consolidation of services to reduce costs and increase efficiencies has always been available to our towns and cities where it made sense. It’s clear that the goal here is removing local autonomy; otherwise the administration would have continued to allow for voluntary sharing of services. This should be left to towns and their voters to decide. State government is already too intrusive. Twelve years living and working in the Midwest gave me personal experience with large regional governments. The politics of county government was often divisive and inequitable and added costs that taxpayers could not afford. Local autonomy and self-determination are central to Connecticut’s culture and value system. This shapes a town’s character and attracts residents. Regional government should be vigorously opposed.”