Gov. Dannel Malloy's proposed budget would impact middle class, working poor, and municipalities including Cheshire
On Wednesday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy proposed a $40.6 billion budget for the next two years that will clearly impact individuals of the middle class and the working poor with higher taxes.
In addition, (yes, in addition) Malloy's budget would impact most municipalities in the state by taking away funding. While some municipalities in financial distress like Waterbury and New Haven would actually get an increase of millions of dollars in aid from the state, other municipalities will lose millions in state aid.
According to figures from the state’s Office of Policy and Management, Cheshire, Wallingford and Southington, towns in Rep. Liz Linehan’s (D) 103rd District, are among those towns that would get reduced funding from the state.
The three towns combined would lose $17,849,329 in state funding as a result of Malloy’s proposed budget. Cheshire is getting $16,074,019 from the state for 2017 but would get $11,307,910 in 2018, a loss of $4,766,109. Wallingford gets $27,301,294 in 2017 but would only get $17,198,830 in 2018 for a loss of $10,102,463. Southington gets $24,830,024 in 2017 and in 2018 that would be $21,849,266 for a loss of $2,980,757.
Reducing the aid to municipalities like Cheshire, Wallingford and Southington would help pay for increasing contributions to the Connecticut pension fund for teachers, which is currently about a $1 billion expense. Municipalities would pay for about one-third of the cost.
Economic planning for 2018 would be extremely stressful for those local town governments negatively affected by the budget.
Linehan of Cheshire is concerned by the potential impact of Malloy’s proposed budget.
In a prepared statement from her office in Hartford, Linehan said, “I am concerned that the Governor’s budget does not make supporting the middle class a priority. These are challenging times and we have many difficult decisions ahead of us as we work to craft a balanced budget. We need to do more for our middle class families.
“The proposed cuts to municipal aid for Cheshire, Southington and Wallingford are not feasible and would wreak havoc on town budgets. I will fight for a fairer distribution of funding for our towns.”
Linehan is concerned about the overall impact to middle class taxpayers.
“It is disingenuous to characterize the proposal to shift teachers’ pension obligations to towns as a partnership when municipalities were not asked to provide input on this plan,” Linehan said. “Proposals that balance the state budget by shifting the burden to towns are not a win for middle class taxpayers.
“Today (Wednesday) was only the first of many steps in the budget process, and I look forward to working collaboratively with my colleagues to reach practical and fiscally responsible solutions. Representing the interests of Cheshire, Southington and Wallingford residents remains my top priority, and I’m committed to making Connecticut a great place to live and work by strengthening the economy and relieving the pressure on middle class families.”
For a more indepth story on the overall impact to municipalities throughout Connecticut, check out the story at CTMirror.com at this link - http://bit.ly/2loLDUV.
Overall, Malloy’s proposed budget closes deficits of $3.6 billion through a combination of spending cuts, labor savings and tax changes.
While many municipalities would take a hit, also impacted with this budget would be union state workers who would be asked to give back wages and benefits worth $1.5 billion over the next two fiscal years.
The bottom line here, something I constantly ask anyone who will listen, is why do many political leaders always seem to look for the easy fix - raise taxes, cut aid - when trying to put together a sustainable budget? Did Malloy truly research all alternatives to raising taxes, asking for state worker givebacks and reducing state aid to municipalities?
How about trying to make it more palatable for major companies to move to Connecticut to create jobs and increase tax revenue?
With Connecticut residents paying revenue to neighboring states New York and Massachusetts (Mass. Pike) by having to pay their road tolls, why doesn't Connecticut reciprocate with limited tolls at the New York and Massachusetts borders?
Does Malloy ever research or consider "out of the box" ideas to produce additional state revenue? In the past I have discussed several "out of the box" ideas with state politicians and I will elaborate on that in a future blog.
While producing a feasible and workable state budget is necessary, why does the middle class and working poor always have to bear the burden of balancing the budget? Malloy certainly has a history of impacting both factions going back to his first few months in office when he instituted a retroactive income tax for a budget quick fix at the time.
Dan Nowak is chairman of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee's Communication Relations/IT Committee, a volunteer position. He is a Cheshire Parks and Recreation Commissioner and has been a sportswriter at the New Haven Register for 36 years.