NEW CANAAN, Conn. – New state Rep. Tom O’Dea, a Republican who represents New Canaan and part of Wilton, thinks Connecticut should be the place to be for seniors as they live out their golden years.
But taxes are driving the state’s older residents away, said O’Dea, the new state representative for the 125th House District. So he’s introducing legislation that would eliminate the estate tax as well as taxes on Social Security and pension benefits. Many seniors have fled the state because of taxes, but many will keep residences here if the situation becomes more financially feasible, he said.
Senior citizens are key to Connecticut communities as taxpayers as well as for their intellectual contributions, O’Dea said. “They fund nonprofits, they sit on (community) boards and commissions, and there’s not a single group that contributes more to our communities than seniors,” he said. “The more of them we keep in state, the better off we will be."
Another of O'Dea's concerns is state financing of political campaigns. The state can also save money by eliminating it, he said. Residents who want to run for office should raise campaign funds on their own, O’Dea said. O’Dea said he raised $22,000 of his own money for his successful campaign and spent only about $14,000. “I think there are other more valuable things to spend money on other than campaign finances,” he said.
O’Dea also wants more focus on mental health issues after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. “We’ve got a lot of good organizations in the state that need more government assistance. I want to see that,” he said.
Also, he does not want all guns pulled but said he supports responsible gun regulation, particularly in making sure certain guns and magazines are properly secured.
O'Dea replaced John Hetherington, a Republican who stepped down after serving five terms in the State House.