FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — State Sen. Toni Boucher said "the bad news is in" for area schools as the final day of the Connecticut General Assembly’s regular session came to a close on May 4.
“The Democratic budget closes the deficit, not by reducing the highest state benefits in the nation, but on the backs of our children and local property taxpayers. Seniors who are on a fixed income will be particularly ill-equipped to absorb the increased tax burden. They have already reeling from a financial squeeze that has already forced so many from their homes," she said.
The budget proposal has not been approved, but it includes these proposed cuts in state aid to schools in Boucher's district:
- Bethel: $109,587;
- New Canaan: $816,759;
- Redding: $423,899;
- Ridgefield: $1,258,066;
- Weston: $567,084;
- Westport: $1,078,974; and
- Wilton: $891,813.
“There will be no vote on the Democrats’ budget [today], the last day of the regular session. Though it should not, the continuing of the unwillingness of the legislature to act and put the state on a financially sustainable path still astounds me," she added. "Never have so many people expended so much effort and accomplished so little."
According to Boucher, the over $960 million deficit in the state budget will not be addressed until a special session, lengthening the uncertain situation of local towns facing likely cuts in state aid and education funding.
“The Republican Alternative budget does not propose any of these cuts. We have presented a balanced budget that focuses on core services and education by making long term structural changes and spending only what we can afford. By contrast the Democrats’ budget jeopardizes our children’s education," she said.
Boucher added that Gov. Dannel Malloy promised a budget without tax increases. By cutting pilot funding and the Education Cost Sharing Fund, the deal that legislative Democrats reached with the Governor only further shifts burdens to local taxpayers.
“There is a better way to govern, but one-party rule in Connecticut continues to lead to business as usual, and to fewer private businesses willing to brave the tax and spend policies that the majority party has imposed,” she said.