Any cuts in state aid to cities or towns will result in higher local property taxes, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) is warning.
CCM, the main lobbying group for towns and cities in Connecticut, is urging Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the General Assembly to "protect the revitalized State-Local Partnership that has developed over the last two years" in the state's current fiscal crisis and not slash state aid to towns and cities.
"Despite the fiscal challenges facing the state, let’s not turn back the clock by balancing the state budget on the backs of municipalities and local property taxpayers. At a minimum, maintain — at current levels — revenue sharing and funding to municipalities during the next biennium. Healthy towns and cities are the foundation of a more prosperous and competitive Connecticut," the group said in a statement released Monday.
The state is facing a $1.2 billion budget deficit as of the start of the next fiscal year on July 1, even though Malloy and the budget reached a budget-cutting deal in December that cut nearly $500 million from current spending. That budget reduction largely left local aid intact.
But with the new legislative session starting Wednesday and the need for more cuts rising, local communities are growing wary that the state will reduce aid to them.
A former mayor, Malloy has cultivated a friendly, more open relationship with Connecticut's smaller towns since taking office two years ago. The state's fiscal problems, however, now threaten those ties.
At a time when Malloy is under pressure to find ways to reduce the state budget, CCM wants to remind the governor of his promises to local communities when he took office.
"The state has made considerable efforts over the past two years to help municipalities stay afloat during the most challenging fiscal time since the Great Depression," CCM said. "Connecticut residents and businesses would be hurt badly if such investments were withdrawn."