Enfield Town Council Discusses Budget With State Legislators [Hartford Courant]

April 21, 2011

Hartford Courant
Story as it appeared in the Hartford Courant on April 21, 2011

Members of the town council met with state legislators Thursday to discuss how Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposed budget may impact the town.

State Sen. John Kissel and State Reps. Kathy Tallarita and David Kiner shared their thoughts on the budget process, noting that although the finance and budget-writing appropriations committees had just approved Malloy’s tax and budget packages, there was still uncertainty about whether or not Malloy would get the union concessions he is hoping for.

“To my mind, the biggest piece of the puzzle — I don’t believe anyone knows this yet — are the concessions from the unions,” Kissel told the council. “My concern is that Malloy has put out a plan that if this [the negotiations] fails, targets municipalities.”

Kiner pointed out that the governor had tried to make sure that aid was not taken away from municipalities, with grants being given to compensate for the loss of manufacturing, machinery and equipment, or payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT), funds.

Many council members expressed concerns that the budget would funnel municipal funds, particularly monies from the real estate conveyance and proposed hotel taxes, to the state government, where it may initially be returned as a grant, but would diminish, or even vanish altogether, after a few years.

“I don’t like the state touching the municipal funds, period,” said council member Cindy Mangini.

Kissel agreed that it had been a problem. “Usually, when the state takes over whole pies, it doesn’t give back a consistent amount to municipalities over the years,” he said.

Council member Ken Nelson said sending money to the state and having it redistributed back to the towns was a shell game, with the money disappearing with tricky maneuvers.

The legislators agreed to meet again with the council in several weeks, when there could be more certainty about the proposed budget.

Mayor Scott Kaupin said that the council hoped to know details soon because of the timeline of the town budget process. “For us, we want to know the number so we can do our due diligence and plan accordingly,” he said.