Malloy makes ‘last minute’ $20 million cut to state aid

Malloy makes ‘last minute’ $20 million cut to state aid

Meriden Record-Journal, June 7, 2016

By Mike Savino

Some local officials say they are losing faith in aid projections from the state after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s cut another $20 million earmarked for municipalities.

Malloy said the cut was needed to balance the budget due to recent legislative decisions, but Cheshire Town Manager Michael A. Milone said the cut can’t be isolated from the previous $106.4 million reduction to municipal aid. “What’s really disturbing is the dust hasn’t even settled on the last cut,” Milone said.

Connecticut Conference of Municipalities Executive Director Joe DeLong said the “last minute” cut came after “the vast majority of towns and cities have already set their municipal budgets” for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Malloy signed the state budget that the legislature approved in May, which closes a $960-million deficit, but exercised a line-item veto to effectively cut municipal aid through the Municipal Opportunities and Regional Efficiencies, or MORE, program by $20 million.

Where will cuts occur? back to top

Malloy’s budget office hasn’t yet identified where the cuts will occur.

Two other line-item vetoes cut $1.7 million for the Connecticut Humanities Council and $775,000 for federally qualified health centers.

Malloy said the cuts were needed to offset costs for 3-D mammography — lawmakers approved requiring insurers to cover the procedure — and for $15 million in savings that he projected from his proposed bail reform.

Lawmakers opted not to vote on the bail reform bill during a special session Thursday. “It would simply be irresponsible to sign a budget that would be immediately out of balance,” said the Malloy spokesman, Devon Puglia. “Had bail reform passed, this would not have been an issue.”

DeLong noted that because of previous cuts municipalities also have to pick up services previously provided by the state, including the disposal of unclaimed human remains.

Milone said Cheshire will also have to spend more on social services because of state cuts. Local leaders need to have “adequate reserves and fallbacks” when budgeting municipal aid in the future, because “the ax can fall at any time,” he added.