Gov. Dannel Malloy's budget chief faced a barrage of tough questions Thursday from both sides of the political aisle. None of the lawmakers on the finance, revenue and bonding committee appeared pleased with Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes.
Facing a $3 billion deficit over the next two years, Malloy appears poised to propose a budget that achieves balance without significantly raising state taxes. At the same time, Malloy's changes to education funding could result in property tax increases in some towns. Malloy's proposal has three main components: changing the Education Cost Sharing formula, creating a separate fund for special education and changing the minimum budget requirement for towns.
The repositioning of Gold Street was part of the $25 million Intermodal Triangle project to renovate Union Station, streamline bus transit service on the roads around Bushnell Park, and open up more pedestrian walkways. The project is funded through a $10 million federal transportation grant and an $11 million commitment from the city of Hartford as well. The remaining costs were acquired through several smaller grants.
In a concentrated campaign of spending and activism over the past several years, two powerful New Haven unions took control of the city’s Board of Alders. Now the Board’s activities, investigated by the New Haven Independent, are raising questions about whether some Alders are pursuing the unions’ interests over those of the city and its taxpayers.
Bridgeport, New Haven, Waterbury and Hartford all face mounting debt, pension and OPEB liabilities, coupled with high taxes, high rates of poverty and declining services, according to a forth-coming study entitled Connecticut's Broken Cities. However, Stamford remains the one major Connecticut city that does not qualify as a “distressed municipality.”
Faced with mounting retiree healthcare costs, Connecticut towns are making changes to get out of the healthcare business altogether. Matt Gallagan, town manager of South Windsor, said they no longer provide health benefits for retirees. Instead retirees can purchase a health plan through the town. South Windsor is one of several towns and cities that have moved away from providing long-term health benefits for their retirees.