FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- In a statement released on Friday, State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) has issued a scathing indictment of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposed budget, which would eliminate $68.9 million in funding for K-12 students throughout the state.
Referring to the cuts’ impact in Fairfield County as “dramatic and draconian,” Boucher says suburban school districts are unfairly affected.
“Education funding is a core function of state government and a responsibility that the state should strive to maintain as best it can,” she said. “Instead, the governor has decided to shirk that responsibility.”
Should Malloy’s plan be implemented, the cuts in education funding would include: Bethel, which would lose $383,843; New Canaan, whose education funding would be slashed by $1,495,604 to $0; Redding, which would be cut by $687,733 to $0; Weston, which would be cut by $948,564 to $0; Westport, which would be slashed by $1,988,255 to $0; and Wilton, which would lose $1,557,195, dropping to $0, as well.
Among local communities, the biggest loser would be Ridgefield, which stands to lose $2,063,814, dropping its state funds to $0.
Making matters worse, Boucher says, is that the cuts are being proposed after several of the towns have gone through the budget process and established their mill rates.
“For those towns, there is no legal way for them to go back and revise their budgets,” she said.
Boucher says towns deprived of state education funding will have to raise property taxes in order to compensate, a situation that may bring additional hardships to businesses and individual taxpayers.
“The governor has promised that he would not balance the state budget with tax increases, but that is precisely the effect that these cuts would have,” she said.
The proposal, she added, may lead to larger class sizes and program cuts.
“These cuts to education spending will exacerbate the downward spiral of our state’s finances that has already driven GE and others away, and will drive out businesses and the jobs and tax revenue they produce,” she said.
Boucher said the budget proposal “does little more than shift the tax burden to the state onto the targeted towns.”
Those who wish to provide feedback on the proposed legislation, can call the governor’s office at 860-566-4840.