NEW BRITAIN – Investing in Connecticut towns and public education, the Democratic co-chairs of the state Appropriations Committee unveiled a proposed budget where New Britain will receive more funding for both the city and the school district.
Under the proposed budget, which was made without exceeding the state spending cap or touching the $3.5 billion Rainy Day Fund, the city is estimated to receive about $9.6 million for the 2022-23 fiscal years through the state PILOT program, which provides a payment in lieu of local property taxes for property owned and used by the state. This would be an over $4.56 million increase from the 2021 fiscal year estimate.
The city is also expecting to see back-to-back yearly increases in education funding under the Education Cost Sharing formula in the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years. According to the proposed budget, New Britain is estimated to go up from about $95.7 million in 2021 to receiving over $99.6 million in 2022, then around $103.6 million in 2023.
The Appropriations Committee budget proposal forms the basis for legislative branch negotiations with Governor Ned Lamont and his budget proposal that he unveiled in February.
Several local state representatives emphasized the pandemic has highlighted a lot of education inequities across the board.
“It is critical that the city’s schools have the necessary resources to close gaps in academic opportunity that have been further exacerbated by the pandemic,” said State Sen. Rick Lopes, representing New Britain and Berlin. “Greater education funding moves us closer to achieving educational equity, which will benefit the long-term future of all our students here in New Britain.”
State Rep. Bobby Sanchez, who represents House District 25, agreed. He stated there had been no effort by local administration to increase education funding even with the added and unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.
“I fought hard to make sure our students received help with additional state funding for education and I am proud that this budget reflects that effort,” said Sanchez, who is also chair of the state’s Education Committee. “Increased educational resources that were sorely needed will contribute to our recovery over the coming years.”
Adult education funding for the city would experience an increase over the next two years with an estimated $580,000 in 2021 to over $624,000 in 2023, according to the proposed budget.
In total, New Britain would receive over $8.5 million in greater funding between 2021 and 2022. The budget stated that the figure would go up to over $12.4 million in more estimated total funding between 2021 and 2023.
The pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in society and government needs to be prepared for any eventuality, said State Rep. Manny Sanchez, representing House District 24. “That is why resources and how they are allocated in the budget are critical to preparedness and the ability to respond in a timely and effective manner.”
For state Rep. Peter Tercyak, representing House District 26, he said in order to get serious about promoting equity and equal education opportunity for all students in New Britain, there needs to be more investment into the schools.
“The increased funding that will be coming to our public schools and essential services is a step in the right direction and an investment in the future of New Britain,” he said.
Berlin is also estimated to receive over $27,000 for both fiscal years of the budget, which is an increase from about $6,100 through PILOT the town is estimated to receive for the 2021 fiscal year. According to the budget, Berlin would continue to receive its 2021 adult education funding amount of a little over $11,000, with a slight increase in both 2022 and 2023.
“The pandemic has reinforced how important it is for us to invest in our cities and towns so they can provide an array of critical services that benefit residents’ quality of life,” Lopes said. “This budget reflects that importance by boosting state funding to New Britain and Berlin, which will support the well-being and safety of our residents.”