Gov. Dannel P. Malloy responded to criticism of municipal aid in his budget proposal for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years in a letter addressed to town and city officials.
“My budget is focused on the following priorities: growing jobs, investing in education and finding ways to provide tangible relief to our middle class,” Malloy said.
That relief includes a tax exemption on the first $20,000 of a car’s assessed value and the elimination of the clothing tax for items under $50 in 2015.
Critics have said exempting the car tax is a cut to municipal aid for the towns and cities that depend on the revenue. However, Malloy said the proposal does not take away any state aid and asked areas hurt by the change to make adjustments. Malloy said the tax was unfair to middle class and working families and that limiting the tax will save on paperwork for tax assessment and operations.
Additionally, Malloy defended his proposal to increase education cost sharing with municipals by $128 million. Some say the increase and changes in the program will force towns to cut spending on municipal functions and paying police and firefighters. Malloy said the allegations were untrue and only increase education funding.
“I have walked in your shoes for 14 years as the mayor of Stamford,” Malloy said. “I understand exactly what pressures you are under and what demands you face. I understand change is hard. But I’m asking you to partner with me to find ways to make change possible.”