Supporting Local Budget Planning

February 2, 2011

On Monday January 31st, I sent a letter to Governor Dannel Malloy and the legislative leaders focusing their attention on the needs of Connecticut’s cities and towns. I requested that the General Assembly establish a March 1st deadline to grant aid to the state’s municipalities.

Most cities and towns have already begun their budget planning, and a large factor in this process is state assistance. Unfortunately, since we are in the midst of the worst economic crisis in state history, local officials are not certain what to expect from the state going forward.

As the legislature will not pass its budget until late May or June, an imposed deadline of March 1st provides municipalities with ample time to make accounting adjustments to local budgets. Without that deadline, local officials will have limited resources to assume any unanticipated shortfalls, ultimately harming taxpayers.

A recent change in federal education grant money exemplifies the need for a budgeting deadline. Connecticut’s $1.9 billion education budget has been flat funded by $270 million in federal stimulus funding. Going forward the state is no longer eligible to receive this funding, leaving a 14% gap in the state’s education grant money. If the state can not find a way to close the deficit, municipalities relying on that money must find a means to cover the loss. By providing local officials with information concerning education funding early enough, our towns’ schools and teachers are protected, and it becomes less likely that our mill rates and taxes will increase.

There are numerous other portions of local budgets affected by state assistance. While the largest task ahead of the General Assembly is closing the state’s $3.6 billion deficit, protecting our cities, towns and taxpayers must also be a priority. Now more than ever the legislature needs to take a more accountable approach to budgeting. It is my hope that Governor Malloy and the legislative leaders consider the adoption of a March 1st deadline and set a new precedent improving the way government operates.

Letter: (sent Monday, January 31, 2011)

Hon. Dannel Malloy, Governor
Hon. Donald Williams Jr. Senate President
Hon. Christopher Donovan, House Speaker
Hon. John McKinney, Senate Minority Leader
Hon. Lawrence Cafero, House Minority Leader


As we close out this record setting month of January 2011, Connecticut residents continue to shovel themselves out and prepare for the next weather event. Thankfully, our Yankee heritage enables us to deal with the worst, move on and prepare for the next.

February 2011 will also be a significant month of different proportions as we begin budget negotiations while faced with the largest structural deficit in our state’s history. Connecticut taxpayers, through their local elected officials, are developing their budgets and preparing to take the necessary steps to present a balanced budget to their cities/towns.

Imagine a Nor’easter hitting Connecticut mid June. What a crippling effect it would levy upon us. Much like the state adopting a budget well after many communities have adopted their local budgets and established their mill rates, only to find out months later anticipated state aid has diminished or disappeared.

I respectfully request that a self-imposed deadline of March 1, 2011 be adopted for determining aid to cities/towns. That figure, once agreed upon, should be removed from the remainder of the budget negotiations.

This will provide certainty to our local elected officials to make any adjustments necessary to their local budgets once state aid is confirmed. This is what our local leaders have asked of us and it is something that must not be taken lightly. What we do and how long it takes us to do it will impact every taxpayer in this state. GAAP accounting was a great start; let’s continue down this path by providing accurate, committed aid to our local communities.


State Senator Kevin Witkos – 8th District