State announces $50 million in mid-year cuts to towns and cities

HARTFORD — Connecticut municipal and education leaders are voicing concerns about $50 million worth of mid-year cuts to state aid for local governments and schools.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities said Friday the cuts announced by Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy’s budget office are “untenable” given that local budgets are already set.

A $20 million cut mostly affecting Connecticut’s largest education grant was included in Malloy’s changes to the 2017 budget. However, it was unclear at the time how much each city and town would lose.

CCM says the remaining $30 million cut in funding for local infrastructure “goes far beyond cuts called for in the state budget.”

Malloy’s budget office says the change is a temporary freeze on new infrastructure project authorizations, affecting only reimbursements beyond the $825 million lawmakers authorized.

Here’s the CCM’s full statement:

Cuts in state aid to towns and cities are problematic at any time, but $50 million in cuts in state aid in the middle of the fiscal year for local public education and critical infrastructure-related projects — as called for Thursday by the Governor — is untenable.

Towns and cities have already included these aid commitments in their budgetary spending plans for this fiscal year.

Although a $20 million cut was included in the budget that passed (the cut was meant to be offset by state mandate relief that never materialized), the new $30 million cut in LoCIP funds goes far beyond cuts called for the in the state budget. These cuts occur when towns have relied on agreements with the state regarding ways to address crumbling roads and bridges and other citizen safety projects. The infrastructure cuts will impact the most distressed of distressed communities like Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven.

The education cuts occur at a time when the CCJEF v. Rell case has proven that the state has serious education disparity issues to address.

The State must develop state budgets that do not make for these late-December mid-year cuts that harm property taxpayers. CCM continues to urge the State to develop collaborative approaches to balancing the state budget and providing services to our residents.