16 October 2012

Steve Fontana's Plan to help Seniors - State Senate Candidate for Wallingford • East Haven • North Haven • Durham

Steve Fontana Releases Plan to Ensure
A More Secure Retirement For Seniors

“As I’ve gone door-to-door throughout the district, families nearing retirement, and senior citizens already in retirement, have shared with me the same belief: that being part of the middle class means being able to save enough money to retire, and then being able to afford their property taxes, energy costs, and prescription drugs once they’ve retired,” Fontana said. “They’re right, and we can improve their economic security if we’re willing to challenge the status quo and make some changes that will make their lives a little easier.”

“We don’t have to rely simply on our own ingenuity – other states and organizations have worked to find similar ways to help people save and enjoy a secure retirement with dignity, and my plan involves emulating some of their ideas here in Connecticut,” Fontana said. “If the voters of Wallingford, East Haven, North Haven, and Durham elect me to represent them as their next State Senator, I will pursue four specific goals that will ensure a more secure retirement for Connecticut seniors.”

Fontana outlined his four-point plan
1. Protect current safety-net programs that sustain seniors
As the cost of basic necessities continues to rise, we must honor our existing commitments to seniors. We also should help seniors further reduce their expenses by saving them money on their prescription drugs and making their homes more energy-efficient. Finally, when state revenues begin to recover, we must prioritize increasing senior property tax relief and winter heat assistance.

2. Reduce electricity and other utility costs for seniors
To help reduce the burden of high electricity prices on seniors, we can do three things:

• Ensure the state implements a discounted electricity rate for seniors to save them roughly ten percent;
• Establish a statewide purchasing pool that may offer seniors an even lower electric rate; and
• Require utilities to offer customers an optional “prompt payment” discount if they pay their bill within a short timeframe.

3. Promote senior-friendly affordable housing development
We need to refocus some of our existing housing development funds on creating more units, and more diverse housing options, for seniors who no longer want the responsibility of maintaining a home, but can’t find another suitable place to live in their own community.

4. Develop portable retirement accounts
Defined-contribution, or 401(k), plans, frequently don’t provide the range of options that many families want, or the ease of use and convenience that their busy lives demand. We should explore the idea of sponsoring or coordinating a cost-efficient and completely portable retirement account that people can take with them from employer to employer, or manage on their own, without some of the difficulties that come with converting and transferring existing 401(k) accounts.
Fontana is running for State Senator for the 34th District, which includes all or part of the towns of Wallingford, East Haven, North Haven, and Durham. He served as North Haven’s State Representative from 1997 to 2011.

Call Steve Fontana at (203) 234-2240 for further information or email him at  steve@stevefontana.com Check out his website: SteveFontana.com

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