With the 2022 legislative session just weeks away, Senate Republicans held a press conference calling for more transparency over how Connecticut spends federal funds.
“The pandemic created unprecedented challenges no doubt for all of our families. It is infuriating, however, that these relief funds meant to help those who were truly in need, the sick, the hungry, and those who were in the most need during the pandemic, the fact is these funds were misdirected,” Republican Senate Leader Kevin Kelly said.
Kelly is referring to the allegations that COVID-19 funds were misused by a former city employer and lawmaker in West Haven.
“Connecticut has an obligation to ensure every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely and fully transparent," Kelly said.
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Kelly said they are looking for more transparency regarding three pots of money: federal COVID-19 funds, federal transportation dollars and part of the opioid settlement the state will receive.
“That is not an unreasonable request. Whether you’re Republican or Democrat, if there is nothing to hide, everyone should be able to join in on this request,” Bridgitte Prince of Veterans for Black Lives Matter said.
Prince, who's a Democrat, said everyone should appreciate transparency.
“It’s got to get to the point where it’s not about Republican or Democrat, it’s about doing what’s right,” Prince said.
The co-chair of the Appropriations Committee doesn’t disagree.
“We already have done a lot of this work already,” Sen. Cathy Osten said.
Osten said the audit of the COVID-19 funds is already done. She said they’re coming up with a plan for transportation funds and will then tackle the opioid settlement.
“It is always good to have transparency and accountability in any federal dollars,” Osten added.