Malloy’s holiday surprise: $50 million cut in state aid to municipalities

By Kevin Zimmerman

No Comment

Just in time for the new year, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s administration on Dec. 29 announced $50 million in new reductions in state aid to municipalities, including $20 million in cuts to education cost-sharing grants. The moves are being made to realize savings goals included in the state budget for fiscal year 2016-17, which ends on July 1.

The $20 million cut in education aid comes on top of the $84 million reduction to education announced last year. Education cost-sharing cuts to the state’s most financially strapped cities and towns – including Bridgeport, Danbury, Norwalk, Stamford and Stratford – were capped at $250,000. That is presumably of little consolation to Greenwich, which led the county in amount of cuts at $1.3 million; Sherman represented the other end of the spectrum, at $34,351.

The following are the amounts of education cost-sharing cuts to Fairfield County municipalities:

  • Bethel: $119,449
  • Bridgeport: $250,000
  • Brookfield: $126,295
  • Danbury: $250,000
  • Darien: $368,850
  • Easton: $67,274
  • Fairfield: $570,798
  • Greenwich: $1,307,893
  • Monroe: $134,966
  • New Canaan: $339, 295
  • New Fairfield: $95,053
  • Newtown: $186,185
  • Norwalk: $250,000
  • Redding: $83,699
  • Ridgefield: $234,100
  • Shelton: $275,040
  • Sherman: $34,351
  • Stamford: $250,000
  • Stratford: $250,000
  • Trumbull: $266,792
  • Weston: $118,045
  • Westport: $443,947
  • Wilton: $202,441

Connecticut Secretary of Policy and Management Ben Barnes said that he believed the municipalities would see “minor adverse consequences” from the cuts, and expressed his belief that school districts would not have to lay off personnel – an opinion that state Sen. Toni Boucher did not share.

“Secretary Barnes has no way of knowing the budgets for every school district and municipality,” Boucher said. “Most are already operating with lean margins because of years of the state’s fiscal drought and the loss of so many businesses. The overabundance of costly state mandates on our schools and municipalities already eat up enough of their budgets. They certainly don’t need the state tell them how to spend what money they have left.”

In the meantime, Connecticut’s state budget is expected to end the fiscal year with a $56.2 million deficit, according to the latest data from Comptroller Kevin Lembo, and to face a $1.4 billion gap between projected spending and revenue for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

“We are certainly disappointed by this round of municipal funding cuts but are not completely surprised,” said Stamford Mayor David Martin. “There is a risk that there will be less municipal funding as the state deals with an unprecedented deficit.”

Saying that he had to yet to discuss the matter with Stamford Superintendent Earl Kim, Martin added, “I am confident that with a bit of belt-tightening, the city can absorb half of the cut to educational funding so that the burden is not entirely felt by our children.”

The mayor said he was “more concerned with future cutbacks to capital funding. Going forward, we have several necessary large projects underway or about to begin. Our capital budget is already strained and it will be difficult if the state is unable to provide essential capital support.

“I fear that this is a new reality and it is going to take fiscal responsibility at all levels of government to ensure that there aren’t large tax increases that put undue burden on our residents,” he said.

Print

About the author

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked (required)

VIDEOS
Newsletter
Newsletter