Municipal Leaders Speak To Legislators About Proposed Budget
Representatives of the state's 169 towns and cities told legislators in Hartford today that they largely supported the proposed budget of Governor Dannel Malloy. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. Mary Glassman is the first selectman of Simsbury and the president of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. She told members of the legislature's appropriations committee that Malloy's budget has some downsides, but that it is, on the whole, good. "Overall, we appreciate that govenror Malloy has made municipalities and our property taxpayers a priority in his budget proposal, particularly in this time of extreme economic crisis." Her comments were echoed by Roxbury First Selectwoman Barbara Henry. She's the president of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns, and she says Malloy promised not to balance his budget on the backs of towns and cities. "For the most part, we believe his proposed budget meets that goal and I want to publicly thank him for keeping his promise." There were some points of concern for municipal leaders, like Malloy's elimination of payment to towns and cities for tax-exempt machinery and equipment. Just how to distribute revenue from new sales taxes was also an issue. But, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch summed things up pretty well, when he said this: "This is the first budget I've ever seen that didn't start out with a giant mark on the back of the city's, the big three, and the hospitals." And Finch, a former state senator, says that's important because he too often hears this sentiment: "'Oh, Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven -- they get too much money.' You don't give us anywheres near enough. If we have two-thirds of the state's problems quarantined to those three cities and we get a third of the revenue, yeah a third of a revenue is a lot, but it's certainly not enough and it's certainly not fair." Malloy's budget calls for level funding the state education cost sharing grant that sends millions of dollars each year to municipalities. For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.