Senator Witkos Provides Legislative Update, Explains Impact On Granby [Granby Patch]

March 23, 2011

By Lindsay Fetzner
The Granbys Patch
Story as it appeared in the Granby’s Patch on March 22, 2011

Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-8) spoke to the Granby Board of Selectmen Monday evening, highlighting the governor’s proposed budget and its implications to Granby.

“Currently right now, we’re at a $57.2 million surplus,” he told the Board of Selectmen.

Gov. Dannel Malloy’s use of the 2011 surplus, according to Witkos’ presentation, will allocate $42.7 million to reduce state debt and the remaining $14.5 million to fund post-employment benefits.

Witkos highlighted some of the areas of municipal aid that Granby receives, including the Education Cost Sharing Grant (ECS), which would remain flat at $5,394,276 through fiscal year 2012-13.

“There is a pledge by all legislators not to cut aid to municipalities in ECS,” Witkos said, and to try to sustain current aid levels in education.

He explained the implications that cuts could have since the state will pass their budget after local municipalities pass theirs.

“We didn’t want that to fall on your shoulders,” he said.

Witkos said the General Assembly’s constitutional deadline to pass a budget is June 8, 2011.

Public school transportation, however, is one of the areas of aid that will decrease over the next few years. In fiscal year 2010-11, aid totaled $81,543. This figure will drop to $77,525 in fiscal year 2011-12 and then again to $74,819 in fiscal year 2012-13.

Witkos also addressed local tax options proposed by the governor. The new sources of municipal revenue, according to the presentation, are estimated to total $85.2 million in fiscal year 2012 and $129.3 million in fiscal year 2013.

Some of the tax options Witkos discussed were eliminating the mandated property tax exemption on boats and planes, eliminating the mandated property tax for certain large commercial vehicles, adding 0.1 percent to the increased sales tax rate of 6.25 percent for retail sales and increasing the municipal portion of the real estate conveyance tax from .25 to .50 percent as a local option.

“I’m anxiously awaiting April 27 and 26 to see where we will stand on the budget,” Witkos said.

Witkos said April 26 marks the joint favorable deadline, or the date when each committee must report out bills/resolutions for consideration, for the appropriations committee. The finance review and bonding committee’s deadline is April 27.

(More information on the governor’s proposed budget and the impact to Granby is available on the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities’ website.)