As state lawmakers deal with a $900 million deficit, communities on the shoreline are concerned about what proposed cuts will mean on the local level and they are urging state legislators and the governor to reconsider the cuts.
State lawmakers, selectman and school officials on the shoreline said they are stunned over the drastic cuts proposed to balance the state budget and they have started a petition to gain support.
“For small towns, this is no easy obstacle,” Sen. Art linares said.
Last week, the Legislative appropriations committee approved cuts to cost sharing grants to help communities provide local services and a public education and Clinton would lose $1.5 million, while some communities, including Lyme, would get nothing through the grant if the Legislature approves House Bill 5044. https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/CGABillStatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=HB5044
“This is simply a shift of the tax burden from the state level to the local level and all that’s going to do is exacerbate the mass exodus of people from the state of Connecticut,” Supt. Ian Neviaser, of Lyme and Old Lyme Public Schools, said.
If the cuts are approved, it could lead to eliminating staff members and programs at the public schools, as well as cuts to town services and town selectmen said they might be forced to raise property taxes to comply with minimum budget requirements set by the state.
Local officials recommend is cuts to state pensions and overtime rather than funds that go toward education.
“We have to look there first before we even think about cutting education to our children,” linares said.
“Our children are our most cherished assets and they deserve the best efforts and the support that we need from the state of Connecticut,” First Selectman Bruce Farmer, of Clinton, said.