In regards to the city's early budget proposal, remember this post.
As for the budget, presentations sound great but as with anything, the proof is in th details. Democratic minority leader Tom Saadi was quick to touch on this point last night.Democratic caucus leader Tom Saadi said he and fellow Democrats will evaluate the budget in detail over the next month, but he fears the final numbers will change if the Gov. M. Jodi Rell's proposed budget is not passed.
"This budget relies on the governor's funds. While that reliance may be 80 or 90 percent right, we are going to have to make up the difference," Saadi said.
...and remember this post.
The Senate Democrats called for a wholesale rewriting of Gov. M. Jodi Rell's $17.5 billion budget proposal Wednesday, saying they oppose virtually all of her tax proposals and significant parts of her spending plan.
Following their first detailed caucus since Rell announced her proposal last month, the Democrats emerged Wednesday afternoon to say that closer scrutiny of the governor's budget has revealed a series of flaws.
"It turns out that there's a lot less than what meets the eye," said Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, the highest-ranking senator. "This is going to be a very difficult budget year. ... This budget has a lot of flaws that did not reveal themselves immediately."
Standing next to Williams at a press conference at the state Capitol, the co-chairwoman of the legislature's tax-writing committee, Sen. Eileen Daily, D-Westbrook, said Rell's tax plans are "a real gut-punch to the middle class and to the poor."
The Democrats "just couldn't sanction" Rell's 10 percent, across-the-board increase in the state income tax, the repeal of the estate tax, and the phase-out of the popular $500 property tax credit, Daily said. She also cited opposition to the elimination of the personal property tax on cars, and using annual revenues from the casinos to help pay for the car-tax elimination.
...and do you recall the video post that featured Democrat State Rep Bob Godfrey and Republican State Senator David Cappiello's comment regarding the city budget (hint: the term "irresponsible" and "folly" were used)?
Do you recall these remarks?
Leaders said while they are receiving more state education money, they are losing a combined $60 million in other areas, such as aid for road improvements, that results in a loss of funding for many towns and cities.Recall these words from Newtown's First Selectman Herb Rosenthal...
State Sen. David Cappiello, R-Danbury, a ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, said he was concerned state residents could "get the shaft" by facing both a higher income tax -- an increase to 5.5 percent is proposed in the governor's budget -- and higher property taxes.
He noted that while Newtown would pay an additional $6.1 million to the state in income taxes, the town is facing an overall reduction in state funding. About 142 municipalities in the state are in a similar predicament, he said.
"The majority of towns will pay more in income tax than they will be getting back in education funding," Cappiello said. "How is that fair, when cities like Bridgeport get $80 million in additional education funding with little accountability of how that money is spent?"
Some committee members were concerned that municipal leaders are including the proposed increase in state aid in their local budgets, while assuming the cuts in other areas will be restored later in the legislative session.
"It's a bit unwise to rely on the governor's numbers this year," said state Sen. Denise Merrill, D-Mansfield, chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee. "It has a very uneven increased distribution. There is still a long way to go before the budget is completed."
Rosenthal said that municipalities have difficulties in developing their budgets and estimating state aid, because the local budgets are completed months before the state budget is approved.Well, it's time to add this to the ever growing list. There are more warning signs about Gov. Rell's budget that will have direct impact on the city's early proposed budget.
Two words: HIDDEN COSTS.
It all sounded so good on Feb. 7.Remember when everyone was jumping for joy over Governor Rell's education proposal...now pay attention and learn why you NEVER believe a word a politician tells you.
But then state lawmakers and town officials started to read the fine print in Gov. M. Jodi Rell's landmark education proposal and discovered what she failed to mention in her annual budget speech:
• When Rell introduced her massive $3.4 billion education plan, many legislators reflexively believed that all the money would be earmarked for education. But Rell's administration is seeking to repeal the law that requires towns to actually spend state education money on education. If the law is overturned, those billions of dollars in new tax money could be spent on whatever town officials want - from repairing roads to cutting property taxes.Hope you're still paying attention...
• Rell proposed a 10 percent increase in the state income tax over two years. That increase was thought to be aimed at covering the education money that would be pouring into public schools. But a good part of the increase in the first two years would fill holes in the state budget for non-education expenses.Are you getting the picture? Do you see why it's not the smartest thing for a city to propose a budget early? Let me spell it out for you, THE CITY'S EARLY BUDGET RELIES TO HEAVILY ON THE GOVERNOR PROPOSED BUDGET FIGURES THAT DOESN'T USE REAL MONEY. In other words, youy should wait for as long as possible in order to have a better understanding on exactly how much money Danbury is ACTUALLY going to receive from the state. When you come out with a city budget (which is heavily based on the state's budget) early, you're taking a large gamble at the city's expense.
• Many local officials are now figuring out that their residents will be paying much more in state income taxes than the towns will get back in additional state aid. "There's the perception out there that the whole increase in the income tax is going to education," said Kevin Maloney, a spokesman for the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, which represents the cities and towns. "In reality, it's less than half [going to the towns]."
• Although the increases in education money would set a record in school funding, at the same time, Rell is seeking to cut about $60 million in other grants for cities and towns.
State reps and senators from BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES are now echoing Rep. Godfrey's remarks and warning mayor's and first selectmen about spending money they think they'll receive from the state BEFORE they actually know how much they're receiving.
As the initial euphoria over Rell's plans fades, Democrats are warning towns not to count their money before they receive it.Can Amann give Mayor Boughton a call.
"I've told my mayor, `Take what we gave you last year and add a dollar,'" said House Speaker James Amann, a Milford Democrat. "Don't go spending that money because it's not real money."