New Fairfield Representative Richard Smith was unopposed this Election Day. He has served four terms and will be returned for a fifth term in the state House. Smith co-sponsored a number of bills last session, but was most proud of the bipartisan budget approved last year. He says it reduces costs and eases the burden on taxpayers.
Smith was also proud of blocking toll bills from coming up for a vote. He says tolls would be hurtful to residents and without a lockbox for transportation funding, it would be another ruse for getting more money to spend on entitlement programs. He supports the concept of a lockbox, but the proposal still gives the legislature access to the funds. Money form the gas tax has been earmarked for infrastructure improvements, but Smith says it’s been misappropriated. He does not support the question on the ballot.
The other constitutional amendment question is about public land sold for private use. Smith says there are times when a public hearing should be held before that sale, but there are other small transfers that shouldn’t have to go up for a hearing. He says some transfers, like easements, can be done administratively. For larger parcels, Smith says the public involvement would be helpful.
The Education Cost Sharing Formula was adjusted last session. Smith expects further revisions will be needed, but notes that the fairness answer has eluded lawmakers for years. He says the formula is not fair now and Danbury has been hurt by past reforms.
Smith wants to focus on making the state a place where businesses and taxpayers can thrive. He says regulations and unfunded mandates have been a constant battle. He’d like to find a way to reduce taxes on business.
As for legalizing recreational marijuana, Smith has opposed bills in the past. He says there are so many incidental costs and issues with the legalization in other states, but he can understand why people looking for more revenue would support the idea. Smith remains concerned about raising money off of marijuana. On sports betting, he expects the matter to come up. Smith notes that it’s going on every day and there’s no reason for Connecticut to not get involved, as long as it’s properly regulated.
Smith is a member of the Judiciary Committee. He says the ban on ghost guns was too widely drafted for him to support the measure. If it were to be properly drafted, he’d be open to looking at it. Smith says he understands the concerns about ghost guns not being regulating or traceable. He remains mindful of second amendment rights, but also about the rights of people to be safe in their homes, schools and other public places. Smith does not support arming school teachers, but does support retired police officers or military veterans protecting students and teachers.