The that kept North Haven’s and in touch with constituents during the year has morphed into a campaign event, as the election season for the General Assembly gears up.
On Monday, Yaccarino, who is running for his second term without opposition, and Fasano, who is facing former state representative Stephen Fontana, brought their respective campaigns to the on State Street, where a packed house mingled with the candidates.
“You guys can make a difference,” Fasano said of actions brewing in Hartford. Yaccarano offered “so much outcry from the public” as the reason the General Assembly finally capped the highly unpopular gross receipts or percentage tax that adds to the price of gasoline at the pump during its regular session this year.
Among the participants in the conversations that took place between the legislators and their constituents was Pat Nuzzolillo, who heads Diversified Vending LLC in North Haven. The company supplies vending machines and vending machine products and, as Nuzzolillo noted, is part of an industry that, with the introduction of state-mandated healthy foods, has recently seen substantial changes.
What Nuzzolillo decried was not the introduction of healthy foods—“we want to make sure we’re providing the best possible products to the consumer,” he said—but the regulatory requirements and high cost of utilities in Connecticut that small businessmen have long lamented.
“It’s not an easy task,” he said. “With the cost of fuel and taxes and the cost of operating your business—it makes it very difficult to do business in the state,” Nuzzolillo said.
Earlier, Fasano, who owns the Silver Sands Beach Club, a small business in East Haven, had identified the state’s high utility costs, which are the second highest in the nation after Hawaii, as a matter of strong concern to the Connecticut businessman.
“We can’t keep taxing and taxing,” he remarked, adding that the state has to work harder to move businesses along. “The onus is on the state to work harder. Change the culture at the state level,” he said.
He cited consolidation of government agencies, outsourcing some of the programs that comprise the safety net at the state level to the private sector—the latter an action, he said, that would save the state $200 million in and of itself—and changes to speed up the state permitting process as initiatives the state could take.
“Time is money,” he said of the delays solely in permitting that keep new businesses or businesses that wish to expand from prospering in the state.
June Pinto, a teacher in the North Haven school district, expressed her concern that young persons were now leaving the state to find jobs.
While both Yaccarino and Fasano expressed their dismay at the explosion of legislation during the special session, Yaccarino pointed to another action the GA took as “very political”—this, the moving up of the revenue estimate the state provides from October until after the elections in January.
“They went too far,” Yaccarino said of actions the Democratic majority in the GA took.
Of course, the elephant in the room was a Democrat—this, former state legislator Stephen Fontana, who is challenging Fasano as the first opponent the state senator has met since entering office in 2003.
Fontana said Tuesday he is at present focused on meeting voters and discussing the issues of importance to them by going door-to-door in the neighborhoods where they live throughout the district.