CT towns want share of state tax revenues

Bridgeport Mayor and CCM President Bill Finch

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas / CT Mirror

Bridgeport Mayor and CCM President Bill Finch

Connecticut’s cities and towns hope to reclaim their share of state sales tax revenues when the 2014 General Assembly session convenes next week.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities unveiled a legislative agenda Monday that also includes:

  • Continued reforms of the Education Cost Sharing grant program;
  • Increase funding for early childhood education;
  • Expand incentives for multi-town collaboration to provide regional services;
  • Waive the required publishing of legal notices in newspapers, provided communities post them on their Internet sites;
  • Reform binding arbitration and prevailing wage laws;
  • And, give cities and towns greater flexibility to defer property revaluations.

“The depth of the gubernatorial and legislative commitment to towns, cities and regions is key to Connecticut’s successful economic recovery,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, who is CCM president. “Healthy towns, cities and regions are where job creation and economic development occur.”

CCM praised Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the 2011 legislature when they closed a $3.7 billion projected gap in the 2011-12 state budget without reducing municipal aid.

That spending plan also granted communities – for the first time in state history – a share of state tax revenues. Specifically, it granted cities and towns about $90 million in total, each year, from state sales and real estate conveyance tax receipts.

Municipal leaders have argued for more than a decade that their communities need new sources of revenue to reduce their reliance on property taxes.

But as Malloy and legislators tried to avoid raising taxes last spring when they enacted the current budget, they stopped sharing the revenue. In its place, state officials agreed to borrow about $56 million per year and distribute that to communities.

“CCM urges the governor and the General Assembly to stay the right course and continue to avoid balancing the state budget on the backs of municipalities and their property taxpayers,” added CCM policy director Ron Thomas.

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