Towns ask Appropriations Committee for help in fiscal crisis

Town leaders told the Appropriations Committee today that the state is making it difficult for them to function because town aid is flat funded and towns are limited to levying a tax only on property.

“Local cost cutting alone cannot counteract the state funding. Connecticut is one of only 15 states that handcuffs municipalities to just the property tax,” said Tim Griswold, first selectman of Old Lyme.

Numerous leaders from the state’s 169 jurisdictions are at the State Capitol today testifying before the Appropriations Committee about their budget woes.

Grants to towns — for education, transportation projects and other programs — have remained constant at about $2.7 billion annually since fiscal 2008. Gov. M. Jodi Rell proposed yesterday to reduce aid to municipalities by $45 million for the upcoming year, which begins July 1.

The Council of Small Towns today asked the Appropriations Committee to make permanent the conveyance tax, throw out several unfunded mandates for things like in-school suspension and requiring minutes and agendas be published in newspapers. View their full list of proposals here.