PLAINVILLE - Plainville's Republican legislators criticized Governor Dannel P. Malloy's proposed budget after he unveiled it at the capitol Wednesday, arguing that it will harm small towns like Plainville.
The $20 million budget calls for $200 million in new taxes and assumes that $700 million can be saved in labor costs from state employees. It also shifts $400 million in teacher pension costs, or one third of the total costs, to being the responsibility of local municipalities. It includes $1.4 billion in tax cuts in an attempt to address the $1.7 billion deficit and factors in a projected $320 million in new revenues.
During his budget presentation, Malloy argued that the current distribution of Education Cost Sharing funds didn't make sense and that it failed to provide an equal opportunities for cities and towns with a high mill rate and large, impoverished areas. He argued that Connecticut must "rise or fall together."
“ Essentially he was saying ‘the municipalities can’t protect you anymore,’” said Sen. Henri Martin (R-Bristol, Plainville, Plymouth). “He is asking municipalities to absorb one-third of the cost of pensions. With the changes to ECS Funding, smaller communities who have been managing their budgets well such as Plainville, Plymouth, Thomaston, Harwinton and Bristol will probably be negatively affected. Part of the budget includes allowing municipalities to tax hospitals. Placing an additional burden on hospitals will see the elimination of programs and layoffs.”
Rep. William A. Petit Jr. (New Britain, Plainville) said that asking municipalities to fund one third of teachers' pension costs will equate to increased local taxes.
"This budget favors larger cities like New Britain, which have a higher population density with more poverty and thus require additional funds to provide much needed resources," he said. "We need to do what we can to provide equitable education to all the children of Connecticut. We look forward to the budget process and anticipate much discussion and debate, but ultimately we expect that consideration and priority will be given to all taxpayers of Connecticut as they cannot afford to endure further tax increases, whether deliberate or disguised as fees. We will work to retain core services and avoid increased local taxes and would like to do so by further cutting spending. We will work for alternative pathways and hope to work with our Democrat colleagues."
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.