Lack of State Budget Leaves Municipalities in Holding Pattern

June 16, 2017

It’s true that legislators may not have stayed at the state capitol after the clock struck 12 marking the end of June 7 and the 2017 legislative session. However, what they “left” was a lot of unfinished business that put municipalities in a holding pattern as we approach a new fiscal year.

This year’s session ended without a state budget, meaning towns and cities do not know how much funding to expect from the state for both education and municipal aid. The budget offered by the administration proposed drastically slashing aid for some communities so they can’t even rely on receiving as much, or nearly as much aid as last year.

The order was passed to bring legislators back for a special session on budgeting and bonding only. The scope of these deliberations is intended to be narrow, but in the past, legislators embedded zombie proposals into the budget implementation bill. In Hartford, no idea is ever really dead, no matter how bad it is, and how many times it’s turned down during a regular session.

Budget negotiations have continued, but preliminary reports put Republicans and Democrats far apart on budget cuts and revenue sources. Our Democrat friends are still looking for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in the form of tolls and marijuana. The Governor still expects to send large pots of money to the state’s urban centers at the expense of small towns that have had year after year of responsible budgeting.

Senate Republicans have proposed a line-by-line budget that was fully vetted by the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis. This budget increases the state’s education funding by more than $170 million over the next two years, while not instituting any new taxes. You can read more about our budget here

I hope that all sides in the budget negotiations will consider using the Senate Republican budget as a blueprint. I believe it makes many of the necessary structural changes that will put state government on a stable financial path and end years of deficits.

So far we have not been told a date for the special session and with the fiscal year ending on June 30, municipalities are running out of time. Failing to pass a budget by then jeopardizes their future, and shows that legislators still don’t fully grasp the seriousness of the situation. It is simply irresponsible.

Help me send a message to Hartford that we can’t leave municipalities in a holding pattern. We need a responsible state budget, and we need it before June 30. Sign the petition to tell state leaders we must move Connecticut in a new direction.