Torrington Senators Announce Funding Released to City, Applaud Bipartisan Efforts to Assist Municipalities

April 13, 2018

Deputy Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) and State Senator Craig Miner (R-Litchfield) today thanked the Office of Policy and Management for releasing state money to Torrington from motor vehicle tax cap reimbursements. The lawmakers also applauded fellow legislators for their recent bipartisan efforts to support municipalities in the face of significant budget challenges.

The municipal funding released this week by the Office of Policy and Management to three impacted towns includes a $603,276 Municipal Transition Grant for Torrington. The state owed this funding to Torrington as a result of the state’s motor vehicle tax cap law which requires the state to reimburse towns and cities with tax rates higher than the 39 mill state cap to make up for any tax revenue lost to these municipalities as a result of the cap.

Earlier this year, the administration first indicated that there were no immediate plans to release this funding. Local lawmakers then called for support for the impacted towns. The administration has now released the funding.

“I am thankful for the strong bipartisan effort encouraging the administration to release the funding owed to our cities and towns,” said Senator Witkos. “Last year lawmakers worked hard to craft a bipartisan budget that minimized reductions to municipalities as much as possible. It was disappointing to see the administration penalize many towns and cities with midyear holdbacks and other policy decisions, but seeing this funding released now is a positive sign and I thank the governor for reconsidering. I appreciate the effort of all lawmakers to work together to bring attention to this issue which resulted in a positive solution.”

“I am glad the Office of Policy and Management has released the funding owed to Torrington,” said Senator Miner. “In the bipartisan budget passed last fall, legislators came to a consensus that municipalities would be shielded as much as possible from damaging state cuts. The administration chose to interpret the budget language differently, that is, contrary to the will of the legislature. I am thankful that administration officials changed their mind on this issue and for the advocacy of the Torrington, Bridgeport and Hamden delegations.”

The lawmakers also applauded a bipartisan bill that passed both chambers of the General Assembly yesterday that waives the penalty fee placed on towns deemed to be in violation of the state’s minimum budget requirement (MBR) for local education funding in the current fiscal year. Multiple towns had to adjust their budgets following the governor’s mid-year cuts to local education grants. Lawmakers agreed that towns struggling to adjust to the unexpected cuts should not be further penalized with a fine from the state, and therefore worked together to pass a bill to eliminate the penalty this year.