Senator Kane Pushes For Municipal Accountability Legislation Appropriations Committee Rejects Budget Adjustment Amendment Initiative Still Pending Further Legislative Action

March 31, 2008

Senator Rob Kane (R-32) said he is disappointed, but not discouraged, that the legislature’s Appropriations Committee rejected a move to amend its proposed state budget adjustments to include his initiative calling for better accountability of state taxpayers’ money.

“It makes sense to take a close look at the finances of municipalities that heavily rely on state funding. That the Democrat-controlled budget writing committee did not think it important to include such an undertaking in their budget proposal is disappointing. Fortunately, however, the Senate still has the opportunity to vote on my bill to allow annual audits of these municipal governments,” said Senator Kane, a member of the Appropriations Committee.

Senator Kane joined other Republican members of the Appropriations Committee in voting against the committee’s $18.39 billion budget adjustment bill because they question the validity of the information on which it is based. Republicans, including Senator Kane, did vote in favor of amending the budget adjustment bill to make several changes, such as including his proposed municipal audit program, increasing funding to establish an outreach program for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit, and providing funding for Governor M. Jodi Rell’s Charter Oak Health Care Plan.

Senator Kane’s proposed legislation (SB 374, An Act Concerning Financial And Management Audits Of Municipalities) would permit state auditors to audit the books and accounts of municipalities with populations exceeding 75,000 persons as of the most recent 10-year census that receive more than 35 percent of its annual operating funds from the state. Audit reports would include any recommendations to operate the municipalities more efficiently or improve their financial conditions. Currently, Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven and Waterbury meet the criteria outlined in the bill.

Senator Kane’s municipal audit bill has been approved by the legislature’s Planning & Development Committee and is now pending further action by the Senate.

“I was told during committee deliberations that the proposed amendment was not necessary to ensure funding for my initiative. Regardless, there are several weeks left in the legislative session, ample time to debate and vote on my municipal audit bill. As I have said before, Connecticut’s citizens have the right to expect that their tax dollars are being spent wisely. And, it is not unreasonable to think that municipalities that rely heavily on state funds to operate could benefit from the advice of outside financial experts. I look forward to the opportunity to work in a bipartisan manner with my legislative colleagues to pass this bill,” said Senator Kane.

Senator Kane was elected to represent the 32nd Senatorial District in a January 15th special election. His district includes the communities of Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Middlebury, Oxford, Roxbury, Seymour, Southbury, Thomaston, Watertown and Woodbury.