Report by Paula Antolini
August 8, 2017 1:12PM EDT
Sen. Boucher: ‘Union Agreement and Lack of a State Budget Damaging to Connecticut’s Students, Municipalities’
We have entered the second month of the fiscal year without a state budget and the problems this poses continue to expand. Nonprofit agencies that provide social services to the elderly, disabled, and destitute started taking mandatory furlough days leaving their clients without services. Municipalities have lost $30 million in road repair grants and $78 million in revenue-sharing funds.
Now, as we approach the new school year, Governor Malloy is talking about shifting $506 million in state education funding away from the majority of Connecticut communities. The funding instead will be given to the municipalities he deems most in need.
This possible step comes after the Governor had it in his control to move us closer to a balanced budget when he was negotiating major state employee contracts. While the recently approved contracts with 33 unions contains a two-year wage freeze and other measures that save the state $1.5 billion over two years, it also contains a 10-year guarantee of benefits and four-year no-layoff clause that will exceed any savings in the future.
Approval of the labor agreement hurts schoolchildren and an education system that was once number one in the nation and the envy of other states.
As I explain to Dan Lovallo and Brad Davis in the attached recording of my interview on WDRC, Senate Republicans put forward a new education cost sharing (ECS) formula that provides more funding for education throughout the state. Our formula is not political and increases funding for those most in need districts without putting a burden on the towns. We are the only caucus that actually phases in $33 million more in education funding in 2018 and $136 million more in 2019. It also phases in the new formula over a period of 10 years.
Our proposal makes these increases in education funding without raising taxes. Connecticut has reached the maximum that we can tax the public. We have a budget that offers a path to resolve our problems without raising taxes. You can read our plan here.
We have a lot of work to do to achieve the long-term changes our state needs. The financial future of the State of Connecticut is at stake. It is too important to put off calling the Senate Republican budget for a vote any longer.
You deserve better.
Listen to my interview here.
State Senator Toni Boucher
Legislative Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106