WNPR

Connecticut Towns Blast Governor, Legislature Over Budget Claims

Aug 31, 2017

Connecticut’s municipalities have blasted all sides in the ongoing state budget impasse. Town and city officials spoke out after Governor Dannel Malloy issued a report claiming that state aid to municipalities has grown more than 20 percent in the last five years. 

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities called the report flawed, pointing out that falling reimbursements for non-taxable property and manufacturing equipment were both excluded from its calculations.

Towns also say they’re hurting because of sharply rising special education costs, while reimbursements have remained flat for a decade.

CCM claims it is the only entity that has focused on structural reform in its proposals.

“The governor identified teachers retirement as being an unsustainable burden on state government, and so what was determined was how to pay for teachers’ retirement, which was to shift it away from the state and into the property tax,” said CCM Executive Director Joe DeLong. “There is nothing in that budget proposal that identifies any reform whatsoever of what is considered to be a broken teachers’ retirement system.”

Newtown First Selectwoman Pat Llodra said the governor’s demand that towns spend their fund balances to pay for new costs is unsustainable.

“If we raid our fund balance we will surely face a decline in our bond rating, which in turn will increase our costs for borrowing, adding more debt, and ultimately halting our ability to perform necessary capital improvement to schools and other municipal facilities,” she told a news conference Wednesday.

Officials also criticized Democrats in the legislature for imposing new unfunded mandates on town governments, and Republicans for refusing to consider new diversified revenue sources for towns.

Malloy’s latest executive order will zero out education aid to 85 towns in the state. Changes to the education cost sharing formula will go into effect in October, if there’s no new, two-year state budget by then.