Fasano, Logan Remarks Urging Gov. Malloy to Sign the State Budget

September 27, 2017

The following remarks were delivered by Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano and State Senator George Logan at the Keefe Community Center in Hamden on September 27, 2017

Thank you all for joining us today.

We are here today to urge Governor Malloy to sign the budget that was passed by the legislature with bipartisan support earlier this month.

This is a budget that not only avoids the governor’s draconian executive order that would hurt schools in most towns and cities, it is also a budget that creates stability for our towns and cities over the next two years, and for many years to come.

This is a budget that increases municipal aid and K-12 education funding, and for the first time in years distributes education funding to districts most in need by following a real education cost sharing formula, which I will talk more about in a moment. It restores retroactively funding that was cut to nonprofits in the governor’s executive order. And it doesn’t have many harmful tax increases proposed in other budgets such as a cell phone tax, sales tax on nonprescription drugs, real estate conveyance tax hike or a tax on secondary homes.

In Hamden, this budget would increase overall municipal aid by $5 million in FY 2018 and by $6.9 million in FY 2019. For education specifically, Education Cost Sharing and Special Education dollars would increase by $6.5 million in fiscal year 2018 and by $8.7 million in fiscal year 2019. This is significantly more aid than Hamden would receive under the Democrat budget, which would flat fund Hamden in year one.

This budget that passed the legislature does make difficult decisions to reduce state expenses and cut administrative costs throughout government. But at the same time it prioritizes the core functions of government.

It restores funding for vital social services. It’s a budget that protects services, particularly in low-income neighborhoods, that were cut in other budgets, such as Project Longevity, Care4Kids, Meals on Wheels, the CT Home Care Program, mental health and substance abuse treatment grants, as well as day and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

It does not shift teacher pension costs onto municipalities and property taxpayers. This is an expense the state should be paying and shifting it onto towns and cities means cuts to teachers, schools and increased property taxes.
The budget the passed the legislature also boosts transportation funding and implements a 30 year fully-funded transportation financing plan to spark economic growth in our state and ensure our transportation systems remain safe.

It also implements the structural changes our state desperately needs to start us on the long road to fiscal stability. This includes a strong, enforceable spending cap and a robust bond cap to reduce the state’s ballooning debt.

I want to go back to discuss how education funding is calculated in this budget, that I believe should be signed into law, not vetoed. Unfortunately, Governor Malloy has launched a campaign against this budget that includes a profound misunderstanding of our education funding component.

This budget includes a fully revised Education Cost Sharing Formula that takes into account factors such as enrollment, poverty and wealth. This results in an increase in aid to poor towns with growing populations and needy child populations, and a decrease in funding to wealthier towns declining in enrollment over time. However, we believed strongly in crafting this budget that towns and cities should be given a chance to prepare for these changes. So, no town will see a reduction in total funding over the next two years. And those towns that see an increase in funding under the formula, like Hamden, will see a gradual increase beginning immediately.

Overall, this budget dedicates $170 million more to education over the next two years. Once fully implemented over 10 years, the state will be spending $678.7 million more on education funding under this proposal, which also allows for a committee to study and revise the new formula if deemed necessary within the next year.

Recent court rulings demand that the state follow an ECS formula without making any alterations as has been done in the past and created an unfair system. That is exactly what this budget does.

To allow the governor’s executive order to go into effect while there is a balanced budget on the table that passed the legislature with bipartisan support is fiscal negligence. To allow nonprofits to continue being cut, when we have a budget that retroactively restores funding is insanity. To allow schools to be decimated by cuts when a solution is before us is reckless.

The governor should not veto this budget. If he does the legislature should override that veto. Our cities and towns, our nonprofits, our social services, and our children deserve stability. That’s what this budget does.

Attached please find more information on funding for Hamden in the budget that passed the legislature.