Gail Lavielle recently received the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business, in her bid for re-election to the state legislature. NFIB is very selective about endorsements, and this says a lot about Gail's accomplishments and priorities. She is clearly a fiscally responsible legislator.

It's no secret that Connecticut is near the bottom in terms of its business climate. We have the highest taxes of any state, the worst managed debt levels and frightening pension statistics. In fact, Connecticut ranks third lowest in the country in pension funding according to the Pew Center on the States. The gap between its assets and liabilities is a staggering $41 billion according to state records and much more by the GAAP standards applied to the private sector plans. These are not the metrics that attract growing businesses that will help reduce our 8.5 percent unemployment rate.

Gail Lavielle co-sponsored HB 5002 to prohibit certain public employees from receiving a state or municipal salary and collecting a state or municipal pension at the same time. State employees are either working or employed -- the concept of "double dipping" is just one of the many structural flaws that makes the pension system unsustainable from both a taxpayer and state employee perspective.

Gail Lavielle has been a strong advocate for those of us who commute on Metro-North. She introduced HB 5067 to require that the scheduled bus and rail fare increases be used for bus and rail operations, maintenance, and service upgrades. The administration took these increases and put them in the general budget depriving the transit system from long overdue and desperately needed upgrades.

But rather than try to address the underlying causes of these problems, the current administration and legislators seemed content with another year of "business as usual."

Higher taxes, more spending, poor allocation of resources and no regard for the consequences that will burden us and future generations.

Gail Lavielle is helping to change this mindset. She has spoken often and eloquently about the need to get our house in order. She helped craft a budget alternative that would have closed our deficit without raising taxes.

Gail is making a difference and deserves reelection.

Walter Kress